A public interest litigation petition has been filed before the Bombay High Court against transport aggregator, Uber India alleging lack of consumer grievance redressal mechanism to resolve complaints raised by customers.
The petition filed by one Savina Crasto said that she faced several hurdles with respect to booking a cab-ride on Uber, the ride experience, and the subsequent payment of money.
It was then that she discovered that Uber’s mobile application does not allow to place on record satisfactorily, the reasons for unpleasant rides.
She also noted their details were not easily available.
Crasto has sought the following reliefs from the Court:
- Direct the Union and the State government to implement the guidelines laid down in the Motor Vehicle Aggregators Guidelines 2020
- Direct the State government to order Uber.
– to add their complete details on the mobile app
– to remove the embargo on the length of the complaint and
– to resolve customer grievances in a time bound manner
- Declare that Uber is required to comply with the statutory obligations and terms and conditions in Advisory for licensing, compliance and liability of On-demand Information Technology based Transportation Aggregator [Taxis (4+1)].
A Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni after briefly hearing the petitioner on Wednesday directed the State to inform the Court about the steps, they intend to take for implementing the grievance redressal mechanism as per the Guidelines of 2020.
Crasto submitted that the app-based ride-hailing operator was not complying with the statutory obligations though it is bound by the terms and conditions mentioned in the Advisory for licensing, compliance and liability of On-demand Information Technology based Transportation Aggregator (Advisory).
One of the provisions in the Advisory states that the “rider must be facilitated either via the web or on a mobile app or through a customer service telephone number and an email address to submit their grievances or difficulties faced during travel.”
According to the Advisory, operators like Uber are required to specifically assign a grievance officer for addressing complaints, which according to Crasto has not been provided by Uber.
The ride-hailing company is also not complying with the Motor Vehicle Aggregators Guidelines 2020 which provide for establishing call centres with valid telephone number and operational email address with 24×7 operations, it was contended.
Crasto stated that despite such obligations in place, there is no mechanism in the app to mention the grievance in detail. The app only has a list of options from which the customers are expected to choose while raising their grievance, the plea highlighted.
“Uber has a world-wide presence and does not treat the citizens of this country at par with the others in developed nations and care less about them,” Crasto stated while alleging that Uber guards its details in such a manner which leaves the customers helpless.
“The cab-hailing service company, Uber, does not feel that the citizens have right to properly complain or raise genuine grievance which is discriminatory and arbitrary,” the plea stated.
Crasto submitted that if the public at large is not allowed to freely lodge their grievances, then they would remain at the mercy of Uber and deprive the public of their right to be heard.