Rs 83,000 for Mumbai-Pune trip; Ola says sorry
Taxi aggregator revises the amount to Rs 4,088, eventually waives off the entire bill.
A Ghatkopar businessman got the shock of his life, albeit temporarily, after he was handed over a bill of Rs 83,395 for a round trip to Pune on an Ola cab. The invoice said he had travelled 7,000 km in a span of 14 hours, which is at the speed of 500kmph.
The fat bill was a clear case of software error and rectified by the app-based fleet operator. Just that it left Kamal Bhatia wondering, for some time, if he had taken a special plane for the journey.
The senior citizen, who lives on Ram Narayan Narkar Marg in Pantnagar, said he was finally given a bill of Rs 4,088 for the trip. While the aggregator apologised for the mistake, it waived off the entire bill later.
Ola refused to comment on the case.
Recounting his experience that may now evoke laughter, Bhatia said he had booked a cab on September 4 to visit Pune for a wedding. The family of four, Bhatia, his wife and their two daughters, left home at 6.30 am.
"We were there at the wedding through the day and started for Mumbai in the evening. We reached our place at 9.25 pm. When the driver, Rakesh, closed the trip, I received a soft copy of the bill. I went numb for a moment as it showed the amount as Rs 83,395," said Bhatia.
The businessman said he briefly argued with the driver, who too accepted it was a mistake. He then got in touch with the call centre of Ola. There was intense argument for nearly 30 minutes. He also spoke to a coordinator.
The bill showed that Bhatia had covered 7,092 km and used the car for 14 hours and 36 minutes. He was charged a base fare of Rs 2,750 for 250 km and Rs 75,262 for another 6842 km. The taxes charged were Rs 5,382.64.
"I had never imagined that I would be a victim of such a hefty bill. Even if I travelled by plane to Pune, it would not have cost so much. It is common logic that a car cannot cover 7,000 km in 14 hours.
"The coordinator agreed there was an error. Finally, I was charged for 347 km. I paid them Rs 4,088 and gave Rs 100 to the driver as tip," he said.
Bhatia said that Ola officials at the call centre initially blamed the driver for the goof-up. At one point, he said he thought of taking up the matter with the state transport department, but then decided against it after they revised the bill.
"Late in the evening, one Ola staffer called up to find out if I had discussed the inflated bill with anyone. He was very apologetic. He said the company will take care to ensure that such a thing doesn't happen in future. They also waived off the entire fare," said Bhatia.
A senior official from the state transport department said, "Ola may have settled the matter to avoid litigation and complaints.''