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
*Chief Mentor, Consumer Protection Council,
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 democratic country.
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 this
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 km
- 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 other
- 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 Information.
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).