No action against Uber yet: Consumer Affairs Authority
Amidst the increasing number of complaints against Uber Sri Lanka on social media, the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) told The Sunday Morning Business that they had not taken any legal action yet against the multinational ride-hailing service.
However, responding to an inquiry made by us on whether there would be any legal action taken in the future, CAA Chairman Dr. N. Senaweera noted if the CAA receives any complaints directly, legal action could be taken as done in the past.
“We received complaints about this service a number of times and each time we took action against the company. We will keep taking action against it if consumers lodge their complaints with us,” Dr. Senaweera noted.
There has been a hike in the number of complaints reported on social media about Uber, calling for regulation of this service in light of several awful experiences involving Uber’s driver partners.
The service has become a topic of severe criticism on social media. The Sunday Morning Business came across two main incidents, the information of which were making the rounds on Twitter, and both incidents were also reported to the Police.
In one incident, which is said to have taken place on 24 November, the rider’s head was slammed by an Uber three-wheeler driver onto the steel bar which separates driver and passenger sections of the vehicle. Prior to attacking the rider, the driver had reportedly been abusive and violent over an inquiry made by the rider.
The unconscious passenger was later found by a passerby and admitted to Sri Jayewardenepura Hospital due to a head injury.
The driver partner involved in the incident was arrested by the Police under the offence relating to Section 315/316 of the Penal Code, but was released on surety bail by the Kaduwela Magistrate.
In a second incident, an Uber three-wheel driver had behaved aggressively and yelled profanity at a passenger as the rider requested to be dropped at the exact location.
Many of the users are complaining over late responses and lack of support for issues involving their driver partners. Further to this, customers are also complaining of the lack of a representative office in Sri Lanka where they can go and sort out these issues.
As reported by BBC two weeks ago, Uber has said that it received almost 6,000 reports of sexual assault in the US in 2017 and 2018.
While the number of cases rose in 2018, the rate of incidents dropped by 16%, as the number of journeys was higher. The report showed 5,981 sexual assault incidents were reported out of the 2.3 billion US trips over the two-year period.
The data was published in a report which Uber said showed its commitment to “improving safety for Uber and the entire industry”.
Uber is facing growing scrutiny around the world, and recently lost its license to operate in London after repeated safety failures, according to Transport for London (TfL).
TfL said it had identified a “pattern of failures” in London that placed passenger safety at risk. These included a change to Uber’s systems which allowed unauthorised drivers to upload their photos to other Uber driver accounts. It meant there were at least 14,000 fraudulent trips in London in late 2018 and early 2019, TfL said.
Uber entered Sri Lanka in October 2015 and is an American multinational ride-hailing company offering services that include peer-to-peer ridesharing, ride service hailing, food delivery, and a micro mobility system with electric bikes and scooters.
The company is based in San Francisco and has operations in over 785 metropolitan areas worldwide. As of 2019, Uber is estimated to have 110 million worldwide users.