Grab slapped with new P16.15-million penalty for breaching price, service quality promises

Ian Nicolas Cigaral - Philstar.com
A woman walks past the Grab transport office in Singapore on September 24, 2018.
AFP / Roslan Rahman

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Competition Commission said Wednesday it slapped ride-hailing firm Grab Philippines with a new round of hefty fine for charging passengers “extraordinary” fares and for excessive driver cancellations.

In a statement, the antitrust agency said it ordered Grab to pay a total fine of P16.15 million for violating its price and service quality commitments from May to August.

Broken down, the PCC said Grab should pay P14.5 million after its price surges went beyond the cap set by regulators, and P2 million for exceeding the allowed driver cancellations to 7.76% instead of the committed 5%.

Passengers who booked Grab rides from May 11 to August 10 this year should receive a refund within 60 days through GrabPay credits, the PCC said.

The competition watchdog likewise told Grab not to pass the cost of settling the penalties to its drivers and riders.

The P16.15 million fine is the latest in a string of penalties imposed by the PCC to Grab. Last month, the country’s antitrust watchdog ordered Grab to pay a penalty of P23.45 million for violating its pricing commitments.

Grab blames lack of supply, worsening traffic

In a separate statement, Grab said it would comply with the PCC’s order and that customers would receive the rebates no later than February 10.

Grab also maintained that its pricing remain to be compliant with transport regulator’s fare matrix, adding that lack of supply and “worsening” traffic condition caused the deviation from its commitments.

“Grab is hopeful on fulfilling its commitments to the PCC, however, it highlights that as a platform, pricing will still be influenced by factors such as lack of supply and traffic situation,” it said.

Since Grab took over Uber's operations in the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries last year, the PCC has been monitoring its activities.

“The ride-hailing market has seen profound changes in the past year as a result of Grab’s acquisition of Uber,” PCC Chairperson Arsenio Balisacan said.

“With the commitments in place, PCC aims to maintain pre-transaction market conditions and will discipline any tendency to exercise monopolistic power with corresponding penalties,” Balisacan added.


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