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The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) has slapped Grab with a fine worth 9 million pesos (US$160,400) for failing to fully reimburse its customers.
From November 2019 to October 2020, the PCC issued three separate orders requiring the Singapore-based super app to refund a combined amount of 25.45 million pesos (US$436,000) to its users in the Philippines.
This action was prompted by Grab’s inability to fulfill its commitment to track prices, as stated by the commission in a press release on Monday.
But as of June 2021, more than five months after the deadline for the third order, only 24.16% of the total amount had been returned to customers, according to the PCC. The refund rate increased to 73.80% by April 2022, following the issuance of a show-cause order by the commission.
Consequently, the PCC in February imposed a maximum penalty of 2 million pesos (US$35,600) for each order violation, amounting to a total fine of 6 million pesos (US$106,900).
Grab was fined an additional 3 million pesos (US$53,500) “for providing incorrect and misleading information in its compliance reports,” where it falsely claimed to have completed the refund process, the PCC said.
The latest fine adds to the PCC’s previous penalties totaling 63.7 million pesos (US$1.1 million) since Grab acquired Uber’s operations in the Philippines in 2018.
According to Grab, the move came as a surprise since it has been engaging with the PCC for over a year, presenting proposals on how to distribute the remaining fees to affected customers.
Moreover, Grab said it wasn’t informed by the PCC about its decision in February.
“Grab Philippines has always been 100% committed to fully depleting the unclaimed admin fees, and have made every effort we can to do so,” a Grab spokesperson told Tech in Asia.
Nevertheless, Grab assured the public that it remains fully committed to implementing the “Alternative Refund Mechanism as required by the PCC Order.”
The company added: “We are glad that the PCC has finally come to a decision on the disbursement mechanism for the remaining administrative fees so we can put this matter to rest.”
Currency converted from Philippine peso to US dollar: US$1 = 56.07 pesos.
See also: How Grab can benefit from rebound in SEA tourism