Being unable to adopt appropriate software and customer
handling policies and practices, Uber and the like tend to take the customers
for a ride.
have been utilising taxi services such as Ola, Meru and Uber, though I maintain
a four wheeler. These taxi services come in handy, and are economical
compared to the traditional call taxi services and the original taxis,
because of the transparency in customers being able to know the fare even
before booking, waiting time, etc. Of course, the consumer is expected
to exercise due diligence while booking, while it be selection of the vehicle,
availability, fare or mode of payment and applying of coupon code, if any,
for availing concession.
Uber had received publicity for wrong reasons, in
the past, due to the inappropriate behaviour of its drivers with women
customers. Hence, to start with, I was quite apprehensive about utilising
its services, especially for lady members of my family. But over
time, after I received some feedback from some of my friends at Chennai,
I ventured to download its APP as well as that of UBER EATS. Utilised
the UBER EATS APP a couple of times, in Oct. 19 and once made a payment through
my Card. Probably, a mistake I did, I realised later.
For the first time I availed the Uber Taxi in the
last week of October. I was not well and it was drizzling as well.
I had booked for a trip to drop my wife in her School, at Adyar.
The first driver whimsically cancelled the booking, after confirming.
The second driver dropped her off that day, and collected the charges of
around Rs. 200/-.
In the third week of November, when I tried to utilise
Uber again, I was surprised to find that there was unpaid “dues” of some
Rs. 93/-, with a noting that the Card could not be charged and that would
be added to the current booking. Hence, I dropped the idea of utilising
Uber that day and instead availed the Ola’s service, as fictitious bills
should never be accepted, however small the amount may be.
Later, when I went through the trip details, which
the Uber had accounted and charged, I found that it was a fictitious trip
attributed to my mobile. I informed them through a detailed reply
that on the said date, a trip had indeed been availed for going to Adyar and
the amount of around Rs. 200/- had been paid in cash. (Incidentally,
while Ola and Meru have the system of sending the bill/Invoice to the customer’s
email id, just after the trip, Uber does not send any such bill. The
details are available only on their APP.) Without proper verification
or unresolved software issues in their booking and monitoring system, they
informed that due investigation was conducted and it was found that the
request had originated from my mobile. While it is a fact that the
call originated from my mobile, the destination was to Adyar, a distance
of about 12 km, amounting to a bill of Rs. 208/- or so, for which payment
was made, how come a fictitious ride to a nearby place got logged into my
account is mind boggling. Secondly, who authorised Uber to misuse my
Card to debit some amount without my authorisation? Thank God, since I am
using all PSU bank cards, without proper second level of authentication,
in terms verifying through OTP, no one can charge the Card. Finding
Uber to be unreliable and unethical, I have since uninstalled both the UBER
APPs from my mobile and would like all innocent consumers to realise the
impending pitfalls if they avail the UBER APPs services.
To conclude, one will be convinced that home grown
entities like Ola and Flipkart, appear to be much better placed to service
the average Indian consumer. In contrast, American Companies like
Uber and even Amazon do not appear to have developed proper customer handling
policies or teams to take them far. You may be surprised to know,
after being a vociferous customer of Amazon, I had to quit doing business
with them since the last 3 years or so, after experiencing pathetic customer
handling, literally amounting to loss of self-esteem. More about that,
on some other occasion.
*Chief Mentor, Consumer Protection
be better protected - Narendra Modi
Employees are entitled to benefit of two years weightage
under the EPS
is not Supreme
Supreme Court fails
to uphold the law
Some suggestions to Chief Justice of India - Is it
that the Laws & Rules
need to remain only on paper?
Amendments to Consumer Protection
A big question
mark about the relevance of
the judiciary in safeguarding the consumer
Curative Petition dismissed)
In India, consumers have been at the receiving end
since long. One thought
that things will change for the better
after the Consumer Protection Act was enacted in
1986 and a structured approach was adopted to promote
and safeguard the interests of the consumers.
But after 2004, things have gone from bad to worse.
Commencing from the castration of the Central Consumer
Protection Council, the relevance of the consumer Act
itself has been brought into question. If the government
is found wanting and none too serious to strengthen this
voluntary initiative of the individuals to do their bit for
a healthy society, which in any case is bound to benefit the
industry, its competitiveness and the country as a whole, myopic
approach only appear to rule the roost, as on date.
Important amendments which
were brought in 2003 to the Consumer Protection
Act, with a clear objective of penalising Unfair
Trade Practices and to compensate the consumer/litigant
adequately have been frustrated by the indifferent
approach of the National Commission as well as the Supreme
Court. That is why, giving the benefit of doubt to
the bench which did not do justice to the issues placed before
it by Consumer Protection Council, Rourkela, and to take
the issues pursued by it to the logical end, Curative Petition
was filed. The GROUNDS
categorically illustrate the
denial of “Natural Justice” to the
Petitioner Council and the failure of the Court in
addressing the issues raised in the “Appeal”.
Rupa Ashok Hurra
case specifically has laid “Violation of Principles
of Natural justice” as the valid ground for considering
a Curative Petition. Question is whether a narrow
view of non-issue of notice alone should be taken as
the requisite ground for allowing the Appeal or blatant denial
to consider the Grounds of Appeal by the concerned bench
should be treated alike, in the larger interests of justice?
If this anomaly is not addressed, Curative
Petitions will only be found useful when the media start
highlighting an issue, like the LGBT case – leading to the
strength of the population deciding the outcome of the Curative
Petition. This does not augur well for a civilized
Learned ex-Justice of Gujarat
& Rajasthan High Courts, Sri M.R.Calla,
and designated Sr. Advocate of the Supreme Court
had unequivocally advocated for allowing the Curative
Petition of the Council, pointing
out the gross miscarriage of
justice and denial of natural justice.
But that has not appealed to the Supreme
Court bench headed by the CJI, who have
the Curative Petition,
as per the Order made available on the internet
Something needs to be done
to address and to save the people from this
hyper-technical approach of the Supreme Court and
to promote the consumer movement, which is after
all in the best interests of the nation. Will
Shri Narendra Modi and his government do something to stem
How can the
Supreme Court pass an irrelevant order?
is your right'
consumer and go scot-free
Finish the consumer
A consumer organisation
with a difference.
Instead of rendering advisory services
alone, the Council since its inception, in 1985,
has been taking up issues affecting them through the
consumer courts and other means and feels proud
to have provided relief to crores of people. These
It will not be an exaggeration
to add that its activities have added to the confidence
of the Rourkela population, against unethical
- Remedial action against
short filling of LPG in cooking gas
refills; of the 184 LPG Bottling Plants, of the three
Oil Marketing Companies (IOC, BP & HP), only
4 remain to be automated. Even these will be modernised
within the next financial year 2013-14).
The quantified loss of nearly Rs. 750 crores per year to the
consumers across the country has been taken care
by this upgradation. Thanks to the Council's Original
Petition initiatied in 2001, before the National Consumer
Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC).
- Won an important case against
the Rourkela Development Authority and
secured financial relief for a group of individuals,
against violation of Plan & Specifications
in the construction of the houses and delay in handing
over the possession.
- Obtained a separate District
Forum for Rourkela, though it is not
the district headquarters, which otherwise necessitated
the entire Rourkela population to approach
the Forum, situated at Sundergarh, a place 100
- Re-routing of Dhanbad-Alleppey
Express train through Chennai Central;
- Campaigned against non
transferring of excise duty concessions (to the consumers)
extended by the union government to the industry;
- Better upkeep of the railway
coaches of Utkal Kalinga Express and
- Reintroduction AC Chair
Car in Ispat Express;
- Refunding of booking advance
by M/s APSL and M/s LML; and many more.
The fifth Voluntary Consumer
Organisation in the country to have set
up a Consumer Information Centre,
with the support of Ministry of Consumer
Affairs and Public Distribution, Govt. of India. Has
earned a niche for creating consumer awareness
and handling of individual as
well as group/class grievances. It is
bringing out an English monthly Advantage
Consumer, to educate the consumers. It is
represented in various Advisory bodies.
An Aware Consumer is
an Asset to the Nation
Through this site effort will
be made to disseminate all relevant information
and answers to many of the queries which are frequently
asked. Knowledge is power and ignorance is the
root cause of all exploitation. As a consumer,
we hope you will find the site quite useful. Since ours
is a voluntary organisation with meagre resources we
have designed the site on our own and are sure there will
be lot of scope to improve. As such we invite the public and
the visitors to this site to communicate their valuable
feedback, so that we may improve the contents of this site.
Lots & Lots of information in store
for you to tap, in the Information
Section. Why wait to click on
If you are keen to support the Council, you may send in
your donations through crossed
Cheques/Demand Drafts, drawn in favour
of "Consumer Protection Council, Rourkela". All
donations to the Council are exempted under sec.
80G of the Income Tax Act. The Council is also registered
under the FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act).