23 Sep 2023 11:45 AM GMT
Recently, the Chandigarh District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission bench comprising Pawanjit Singh (President) and Suresh Kumar Sardana (Member) held OLA Cabs liable for deficiency of service and unfair trade practices for overcharging excess fare of Rs 3,101 from the complainant who booked a ride from Jindal University to Chandigarh. Brief Facts of the...
Recently, the Chandigarh District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission bench comprising Pawanjit Singh (President) and Suresh Kumar Sardana (Member) held OLA Cabs liable for deficiency of service and unfair trade practices for overcharging excess fare of Rs 3,101 from the complainant who booked a ride from Jindal University to Chandigarh.
Brief Facts of the Case:
Pragati Bhatt (“Complainant”) filed a consumer complaint which stemmed from an incident that occurred on October 25, 2019, when the Complainant booked an OLA ride from Jindal University to Sector 43, Chandigarh. To her surprise, she was charged a total fare of Rs 5,618 for this journey. She alleged that this fare was significantly higher than it should have been and claimed that the driver had overcharged her by Rs 3,101.
The Complainant’s frustration escalated when she contacted OLA customer care the same night to report the overcharging issue. During this conversation, OLA customer care acknowledged the error in fare calculation and assured her that a refund would be processed via a bank account transfer within 15-20 days. However, despite her repeated follow-ups, the Complainant did not receive the promised refund, leading her to file a consumer complaint in the Chandigarh District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (“District Commission”).
OLA Cabs argued that they had charged the Complainant in accordance with the distance she had travelled during the ride. They maintained that the fare calculation was based on the distance and duration of the journey, and they had no control over these factors. OLA Cabs emphasized that their fare estimation was reliant on information provided by Google Maps. They contended that they did not have direct control over the route chosen by the driver or the fare calculation.
Observations by the Commission:
Upon careful review of the evidence, the District Commission observed a significant disparity between the fare charged and the actual distance and duration of the journey. The Complainant’s trip, which covered 524 kilometres in a mere 3 hours and 43 minutes, led the District Commission to conclude that there might have been a software error within OLA's system, resulting in the incorrect fare calculation.
In light of these discrepancies and the complainant's valid concerns, the District Commission observed that OLA Cabs had engaged in unfair trade practices by overcharging the Complainant. This overcharging not only caused financial inconvenience but also mental harassment, the bench noted.
Consequently, the District Commission directed OLA Cabs to refund the excess fare charged to the Complainant, specifically an amount of ₹2,740, representing the charge for additional distance as indicated in the bill but not actually travelled. Further, the cab service company was also instructed to pay a lump-sum compensation of ₹5,000 for the litigation costs incurred by the complainant.
Case: Pragati Bhatt vs. OLA Cabs
Case No.: CC/788/2021
Advocate for the Complainant: In person
Advocate for the Opposite Party(s): Ms. Pramanshi, Advocate for OPs.