UPDATE: Aug 4, 2015, 21:00. Got a call from the folks at Ola. They’ve said that they will make the necessary changes to the app and airport fares will shown on the fare estimation interface. They’ve said they will update me in the next 2-3 days. I’ll update my post once I hear back from them.
So the smart asses at Ola Cabs are playing a very an intelligent game of cheating, with their customers. There might be some sarcasm, so take note. Here is a nice case study for you all.
Aug 3, 2015, 8:53 am. I book a cab for Aug 4, 2014 12:00 am. Below is the fare estimate that Ola shows you.
Please draw your attention to the following:
Drop: Hyderabad International Airport, Telangana.
Now, on any given day I would have chosen to ride with Uber, but since we wanted to pre-book a cab, we resorted to Ola. The destination clearly states that the drop off location is the Hyderabad (Telangana) international airport. And the fare estimate is between INR 350 – 410. All this is fine. Everyone is happy, I high five my dog and we proceed to play a game of catch.
So here is where it all starts to get messed up. On the night of the journey, we get an impatient cab driver who reaches our home some 30 minutes prior to the pickup time (midnight). Now this is all fine. I like people who turn up early. But this man calls us at 23:55 and pesters us to board the cab. Which was quite pissing off. He even tried to start the trip prior to us sitting in the cab. Basically he was out to cheat. All that is okay. Sometimes you get a crazy cab driver, you smoke a cigar or two, and you got to deal with it.
Now here is the messed up part.
Our bill is INR 817! Now this is clearly messed up. I can understand if the final fare is a bit more than the projected. But I was totally not prepared to be charged twice the amount. I email Ola customer care and and get some BS templated response, which would work as toilet paper, had I decided to print it out. So I call them up. And here is what they have to say.
Some random guy, whose name I don’t recollect, said that airport rides have different rates. Fare enough. I explain to him that prior to booking the ride, I checked for the fare estimate, put the destination as the airport and it gave me the approximation as above. But he said, that those are not the airport rates. So I ask him, why do they give a wrong estimation when I’ve clearly mentioned that my destination is the airport!
To which he asks me to do the following: Click on the Menu > Rate Cart > Select City > Choose car > Choose Airport tab. What the f*ck?! Which by the way, shows completely different fares.
The customer service guy apologized saying that this is how it is and that they cannot do anything about it. Of course! I stated that this is clearly unethical and is as good as cheating customers. I also asked him to make sure that they respond to me via email and asked them to make a change in the app so that it automatically displays “airport” ride rates when the destination chosen is an airport. He said he would pass on this feedback to the concerned team and would get back to me.
The unfortunate part here is that, you as a customer have absolutely no say in this matter as Ola just deducts the amount from you account, and also there is not point discussing the matter with the cab driver as he is oblivious to the whole fare estimation scam and the fact that Ola, as a company, is cheating you.
In all seriousness, I don’t think they will respond to me and I guess they will go on cheating more customers going forward. So, here I am, ranting on the interwebs, hoping that this post shows up on a random Google searches or two. Ola, I’m going to be uninstalling your app now and you can shove your ethics where the sun don’t shine. Oh wait, you have none.
Oula banaya art work by Prasad Ramachandran.