Rideshare app charging ‘phantom trips’
RIDE-SHARE newcomer Ola has admitted to overcharging customers for tolls and trips that never happened.
It comes as customers reveal dozens of incorrect fees on trips across Brisbane, and further south in Sydney.
An Ola spokeswoman confirmed the company was aware of the issue and was working to fix it.
Regular ride-share user, Shane Munt, said he was charged at least five times for using Brisbane's Airport Link, despite the route map showing he travelled from Kedron to Brisbane Airport without using the underground route.
Mr Munt said he's completed about 30 round-trips to the airport, but had only recently noticed the additional toll charge of $5.05 on his statements.
"It was at least five times, but it could have been more," Mr Munt told The Sunday Mail.
He said he had recently closed one account and opened another, after returning to Brisbane to live permanently.
"The old account has been closed down, so I can't go through it to see how many times I was wrongly charged," he said.
"Last weekend I got talking to a driver, who suggested I dispute the charge … so I did and they said they would refund it."
Mr Munt's complaint was far from the first. About half a dozen riders have complained about being charged for a non-existent tolls on an Ola Facebook page.
Sydney resident Cathy Curtis told The Sunday Mail she had been charged more than a dozen times for "ghost tolls" and it was not isolated to travelling on a specific toll way.
She said on each occasion Ola had refunded her money and that she has continued to use the ride-sharing company, but now checked her trip total every time she exited a vehicle.
"It must have happened 12 or 15 times, usually it's the Cross City Tunnel, or the Eastern Distributor, sometimes both in the same trip," she said.
"I've asked them why it keeps happening and they couldn't explain."
Another Ola customer, who would not be named, said she had been incorrectly charged in both Brisbane and Sydney.
She said her credit card was charged prior to entering the vehicle and believed that may be part of the problem. She has been refunded for each toll.
"They charge your credit card before you take the journey, based on the route they calculate, so if you don't take a toll road, you are still charged the toll," she said.
Ola, which was founded in India in 2011, launched in Brisbane in 2018.
The company prides itself on taking less commission from drivers than rival companies.
An Ola spokeswoman said the incorrect charges were due to an "app error".
"This affected only a tiny percentage of trips and to those customers, we apologise," she said.
"We are addressing the issue as an urgent priority. If you have been charged a toll incorrectly you can request a refund in the app, which will be processed immediately."