In response to an increase in customer complaints against cab aggregators, the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has convened a meeting of ride-hailing platforms like Ola and Uber next week to learn more about their pricing and cancellation procedures.

In the last 12 months, the users of these services claimed that they are facing issues like drivers cancelling the ride, the surge in pricing, long waiting times, and cancellation charges.

According to a study by LocalCircles, 71% of respondents stated drivers cancelled their rides and 45% said they were charged more than the surge price threshold.

However, 60% of responders were satisfied with drivers’ adherence to Covid-19 guidelines.

The survey asked app-based taxi consumers how they felt about drivers cancelling rides in the last 15 months vs the previous 15 months. Despite the existence of the Motor Vehicle Aggregator Guidelines 2020, almost 71% of respondents claimed that ride cancellation by drivers continued to occur, indicating weak enforcement.

The survey also highlighted the fact that 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, indicating poor implementation and enforcement.

In the case of this study, over 65,000 app taxi users from 324 districts across India responded to the poll.

Here it should be noted that due to the increased fuel prices, Uber raised fares in some cities last month. Moreover, cabs in cities such as Delhi, Lucknow, Kolkata, and Hyderabad launched a model in March in which cab drivers charged clients an extra price for turning on the air conditioning.

However, now CCPA Chief Commissioner Nidhi Khare told PTI, “We have received several complaints from consumers regarding the cancellation and pricing policy of cab aggregators. The number of complaints are very high and therefore we have called the cab aggregators for an explanation of their policies.”

According to Khare, the authority has received several complaints of suspected unfair trading practices, such as cab drivers forcing customers to cancel trips and pay a fee because the drivers refuse to accept the ride for whatever reason.

She also stated that established customers are charged exorbitant rates for rides, while new customers are enticed by lesser costs for the same distance.

Additionally, Khare said: “It appears that the cab aggregators are using algorithms to lure new customers, putting old customers at disadvantage. This is unfair practice.”

So the regulator, according to Khare, wants to know about their algorithms and other policies for functioning as cab aggregators in the country. The meeting is expected to take place on May 10.

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