The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) on Tuesday 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.
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.
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 per cent customers continue to face ride cancellation issues by drivers of top ride-hailing platforms,
Over 45 per cent 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.
The extortionist practices of some drivers to undertake private trips were reported by consumers as a major concern, the report said.