Grab finalizing refund, cites reasons for breaches

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    More than three million riders are expected to receive a refund of an average of P1.50 up to over P100, depending on the number rides taken between February and May this year, according to ride hailing firm Grab Philippines.

    Brian Cu, Grab Philippines president, made this rough computation on the P5.05-million refund ordered by the Philippine Competition Commission for breaching the 22.5-percent price hike limit agreed by Grab and the anti-trust body.

    Cu said in a press conference on Friday Grab is firming up the disbursement procedure but assured it will be undertaken within the time frame mandated by PCC which is 60 days, from Nov. 14, 2019 up to January 2020.

    “We will be disbursing the amount to GrabPay wallets of consumers who took Grab rides from February to May 2019, in proportion to the total spend on the rides they took,” Grab said.

    But  Grab clarified every Grab ride has always been compliant to the fare matrix set and approved by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.

    It said while it has always operated within this legal fare structure, there are current market conditions affected by uncontrollable factors .

    These include the supply of transport network vehicle services, booking demand, and traffic conditions.

    “These have hindered us from maintaining the fare-in-range levels set by the PCC,” Grab said.

    During the course of the PCC review which began last April 2018, Grab said “we believe we have explained these factors to the PCC and articulated its potential effect on our current pricing which will ultimately be detrimental to the driving and riding public,” Grab said.

    Last week, PCC and Grab Philippines have agreed on a refund mechanism that would accrue to riders each time the transport network company breaches an agreed price hike cap under a new set of commitments.

    Arsenio Balisacan, PCC chairman, earlier said the Commission has slapped a total of P23.5 million in fines on Grab for price breaches during the first three quarters of the review under the old undertaking starting August 2018.

    The P23.5 million is on top of the P9 million in fines Grab had paid to PCC previously, of which P6.5 million was due to submission of inadequate data, P1 million for violation of “see destination” and P1.5 million for wrong sample frame.

    Balisacan said under the extended commitment, Grab will not just refund customers but would be fined P2 million for each breach.

    Grab is operating in the Philippines for over the six years with presence in Metro Manila, Pampanga and Metro Cebu.