Sources told IANS that the consumer regulator gave ride-hailing platforms 30 days to fix their algorithms related to ride cancellations and surge pricing, else they will be penalised.

A driver in a cab
Atom Transportation Wednesday, May 11, 2022 - 14:24

The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) on Tuesday, May 1 warned ride-hailing platforms like Uber and Ola to fix rising consumer complaints regarding ride cancellations, cancellation charges, random surge pricing, and long waiting times, or else face penal action.

Sources close to the matter told IANS that the consumer regulator, under its Chief Commissioner Nidhi Khare, gave the ride-hailing platforms 30 days to fix their algorithms related to ride cancellations and surge pricing, else they will be penalised. The Department of Consumer Affairs is also set to issue new guidelines related to surge pricing and ride cancellations by ride-hailing platforms soon that will give some reprieve to the end users, sources said.

According to PTI, Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh said after the meeting that the ministry spoke to the companies about the rising consumer complaints and also gave them statistics. “We have asked them to improve their system and redress the consumer complaints otherwise the competent authority will take strict action," he said. 

The platforms were reportedly questioned about why two people are shown two fares when having to go from one point to another

"The authority is likely to issue an advisory to ensure that unfair trade practices by cab aggregators are not carried on in violation of consumers' rights," Nidhi Khare said.

The CCPA grilled cab aggregators over their algorithms related to ride cancellations and surge pricing and directed them to be more vigilant regarding their customers. The authority had received numerous complaints of unfair trading practices, such as cab drivers forcing riders to cancel trips that result in the customers paying the cancellation charge. It was of the view that old customers are being charged exorbitant rates while new riders are being wooed by low fares for the same distance.

Khare also said the government has communicated that there will be "zero tolerance against such malpractices" by cab aggregators. 

Nitish Bhushan, Head of Central Operations, Uber India and South Asia, told IANS that the company is engaged with the Department of Consumer Affairs and appreciates the feedback provided by them.

"We will continue to provide our inputs. We strive to be the platform of choice for riders and drivers alike and continue to invest in technology and customer support to deliver an excellent experience for them," he said.

According to a survey by community-based social media platform LocalCircles last month, 71% customers continue to face ride cancellation issues by drivers of top ride-hailing platforms, Over 45% of app-based taxi consumers stated they were charged more than 1.5 times in surge pricing despite the threshold being set by the Motor Vehicle Aggregator Guidelines 2020.

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