In a recent order, a consumer court in Maharashtra ordered Uber India to pay a woman passenger Rs 20,000 for a deficiency in service.
Kavita Sharma, who missed her Chennai flight from Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport on June 12, 2018, due to the Uber driver’s delay in transporting her to the airport, filed a complaint with the Thane Additional District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.
Kavita, a lawyer, had a meeting to attend in Chennai and her flight was scheduled from Mumbai at 5.50 pm. Expecting the trip to the airport, which is 36 km from her home, to take over an hour, she booked a cab through Uber app at 3.29 pm, she said in the complaint.
In her complaint she said that the cab driver did not arrive to pick her up for 14 minutes, even after repeated calls from her side. ‘He was on the phone after reaching and started the ride only after his phone call ended. Another 15-20 minutes were wasted in taking a detour to fill fuel,’ the complaint stated.
Kavita was able to reach the airport only at 5.23 pm and she missed the flight. She had to take another flight, leading to an additional expense.
Apart from the hassles, she said that she had paid a higher fare of Rs 702.54 for the ride due to the diversion taken by the driver.
In her complaint, the woman sought compensation of Rs 4.77 lakh including legal expenses and flight ticket costs.
Uber, in its reply before the commission, said that refund was given to the complainant and her grievance was resolved. Uber also said that it was only an aggregator and that the actual service was provided by third-party independent driver partners. ‘Uber cannot give a guarantee to a third party and hence it was not liable to pay the compensation sought,’ Uber told the consumer court.
The commission held that the terms and conditions of Uber show that the Uber app and the services provided through it are managed and controlled by the company. The third-party contractor too is appointed and managed by Uber, the commission said.
‘We came to the conclusion that the opposite party is responsible for the defective service given to the complainant but the opposite party had accepted his fault and is trying to resolve the grievance by adjusting extra fare of Rs 139/- which was paid by the complainant for a longer route, which is not justified for the mental agony faced by the complainant,’ the commission said.
The commission ordered that the opposing party pay Rs 10,000 in compensation and another Rs 10,000 in expenses for the passenger’s complaint.Uber India, however, did not respond to the calls and messages.