PCC slaps P6.5-M fine on Grab for giving deficient, wrong data

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) imposed a P6.5-million fine on ridesharing firm Grab Philippines after it violated its voluntary commitments following the approval of its acquisition of Uber last year.

Grab PH country manager Brian Cu

“The commission imposed a fine of P6.5 million on Grab Philippines for submitting deficient, inconsistent, and incorrect data for the monitoring of its compliance with its voluntary commitments,” said PCC Chairman Arsenio Balisacan in a press briefing held Friday, Jan. 25.

PCC commissioner Johannes Bernabe said the agency was able to monitor violations of Grab with its pricing commitments over the period from August 10 to November 10 last year.

“The monitoring team of the PCC found that there were certain inconsistencies and inaccuracies with the data that was provided as it relates to the price monitoring commitment. Suffice it to say that this prevented the monitor and the PCC monitoring team from carrying out its review of the pricing commitments in an effective way, which results in an unbiased and credible outcome. In that sense, we’ve thought that reviewing the undertaking of Grab, this ran counter to specific procedures of that undertaking,” Bernabe said.

The PCC has approved the acquisition of Uber by Grab on Aug. 10, 2018 following the submission of the voluntary commitments by the ride-hailing company.

Its voluntary commitments include the improvement of the quality of its service by bringing back market averages for acceptance and cancellation rates, which existed before the merger happened, and its response time to rider complaints.

Grab fares should likewise not have an “extraordinary deviation” from the minimum allowed fares that are set by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

The PCC has appointed United Kingdom-based auditing firm Smith & Williamson to monitor the compliance of Grab with its voluntary commitments on a quarterly basis for a period of one year.

The commission also slapped a P16-million penalty on Grab last October for violating the interim measures it has imposed during the review period of their deal with Uber.

Meanwhile, Grab said it will file a motion for reconsideration against the fine imposed by the PCC. In a statement, the firm said it wants to determine the rationale for PCC to impose the maximum penalty.

“We assure our passengers that we are charging fares within the range as allowed by the LTFRB,” Grab said in the statement.

The PCC issued the fine against Grab last January 22 with the company receiving the notice on January 23.

Grab has to submit the necessary data within five days of the receipt of order, which will be on January 28. The firm has until February 7 to file its motion for reconsideration on the imposed penalty. — Aerol John Pateña (PNA)

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