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Solon says Grab ‘defrauded’ customers by not announcing extra charge

/ 05:30 PM April 18, 2018
Grab app on cellphone

A commuter books a vehicle via ride-hailing app Grab in Metro Manila. The Land Transportation and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has issued a show cause order against Grab Philippines, compelling it to explain why its accreditation should not be suspended or cancelled for allegedly charging P2 per minute of travel time without approval of the LTFRB. (Photo by RICHARD A. REYES / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Grab Philippines “defrauded” its passengers by implementing a P2-per-minute extra travel charge without informing its customers, according Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles.

Nograles made the statement on Wednesday after Brian Cu, Grab Philippines country head, admitted in a press briefing that the transportation network company implemented the travel charge starting in July 2017.

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“There was no comms to the riders inside the app,” he said. “In the information card, we’ve updated that. But when we raised the P2 per minute, we did not include that. So ‘di namin nailagay.”

But he said there was “nothing illegal” about not disclosing the information.

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READ: Grab PH admits failure to inform riders of P2-per-minute extra charge

Still Nograles, in a message to INQUIRER.net, said: “Isn’t that unfair to consumers that they have false, deceptive, and misleading advertising?”

According to the lawmaker, the Grab website clearly indicates that they “don’t charge per minute.”

“They only changed that on April 11 to reflect that they charge P2/min,“ he said. “But I have a screen grab. So there’s already evidence that they committed fraud to deceive not just their riders but the government as well.”

Grabe Fare Table

Screengrabbed image courtesy of Rep. Jericho Nograles.

But in an earlier statement, Grab said the per-minute charges “remain part and parcel to Grab’s fare structure today and we have continuously been transparent about this truth.”

It said it provided the basic formula for and computation of the fare, including the per-minute charges, in instances that riders raise questions on their fares.

READ: Grab denies illegally charging riders an extra P2 per minute LTFRB summons Grab to attend hearing on alleged P2-per-minute charge

But this justification did not sit well with Nograles.

“The LTFRB [Land Transportation and Regulatory Board] has taken cognizance of this issue,” Nograles said. “That means that their liability and punishment is being determined and pending before the Board.”

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Grab defended the additional charge as a way to “ensure that… hard-working TNVS [transportation network vehicle service] drivers would have a greater chance of making ends meet and supporting their needs.”

But Nograles said Grab should spare drivers from refund obligation.

“I am appealing to Grab and the LTFRB to impose a refund of the estimated P3.2B in illegally collected fares. Since the drivers are unaware of this malicious act, Grab should charge this refund from their own pocket. Grab management ang mastermind niyan eh at wala namang alam diyan ang mga drivers,” the lawmaker said.

After Tuesday’s hearing on the petition filed by Nograles before the LTFRB, Chairman Martin Delgra III told reporters that in one meeting of his agency’s technical working group last year, there were “discussions” about Grab’s plan to collect a P2-per-minute travel charge.

But he said Grab did not inform the LTFRB when it was implemented.

Pressed if that meant that Grab had been illegally charging passengers, Delgra said: “We have not decided on that yet.” /atm

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TAGS: Brian Cut, Grab Philippines, Jericho Nograles, LTFRB, Martin Delgra III, TNCs, TNVS, transportation network companies
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