Solon warns of hefty fines vs. Grab for malpractices

MANILA Transport network service (TNS) provider Grab Philippines could face hefty fines for various business malpractices including the non-issuance of a detailed fare receipt, a partylist lawmaker warned on Wednesday.

In a statement, Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta Rep. Jericho Nograles claimed that Grab does not even issue a receipt with the specific breakdown of all its charges, which deprives its consumers of knowing about the hidden fees and thus leads to overcharging.

Nograles earlier revealed that Grab has been "illegally charging" its customers PHP2 per minute of travel time, contrary to the company's claim that they have no hidden per-minute charges. He said Grab should refund its customers some PHP1.8 billion for overcharging in the past five months alone.

The PHP2 per minute additional charge is on top of its flag-down rate of PHP40 and charge of PHP10 to PHP14 per kilometer.

"Grabbers are being taken for a ride by Grab Philippines. All along we all thought that Grab rates are based on approved rates and we are not being charged extra for our travel time," Nograles said.

"So obviously Grab doesn't want us to know that we are being charged extra and that is against the law. That is against the provisions of our existing consumer laws particularly Republic Act 7394 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines," he added.

Nograles, a principal author of the proposed Transport Network Services law, said providers of goods and services are required by law not just to issue official receipts but also a detailed breakdown of what were paid for.

He said he would file a resolution calling for a congressional probe on the issue once sessions resume in May.

Nograles recounted his commuting experience using Grab from his house in Makati to his office in Congress in Quezon City wherein the ride-hailing service failed to immediately provide him with a breakdown of his fare receipt.

He noted that he had to use his position as Congressman to ask for the breakdown and it had to be handled by Grab's Public Affairs head Manager Leo Gonzales.

"Had I been an ordinary citizen with no position in government, these people could probably have just ignored me and that would have been the end of the story," he said.

Based on the detailed fare breakdown, on top of the approved fare of PHP11 per kilometer which amounted to PHP246.98 for the 22.25 kilometer travel distance, Nograles was charged an extra PHP118 for 59 minutes of travel time at PHP2 per minute and another PHP40 for the base fare equivalent to the taxi's flag-down rate. The total fare for Nograles' trip was PHP404.98.

"This means that the claim and publication of Grab that they don't charge per minute is a brutal lie. High tech ang panloloko at systematic pa (The deception is high-tech as well as systemic)," he said.

"By the time you get a Grab, the fare computations that was shown on our Grab app which looks like a fixed rate already contains the per-minute charge," he added.

Nograles said that the hidden charge is "unconscionably illegal" and must warrant a legal action by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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