Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Grab slammed with $124K fine by Philippines for incorrect pricing data

Grab slammed with $124K fine by Philippines for incorrect pricing data

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A Grab motorbike driver speeds along a street in Jakarta, Indonesia on February 13, 2017.BEAWIHARTA/REUTERS/THE STAR (MALAYSIA)

Grab slammed with $124K fine by Philippines for incorrect pricing data

THE government’s antitrust body alleged Grab Philippines provided incorrect data about its pricing, thus impeding its review of whether or not the ride-hailing company has been addressing commuter woes since it took over Uber.

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) officials slapped the company with a 6.5 million peso ($123,926) fine, citing inconsistencies in Grab’s data about its pricing.

PCC chair Arsenio Balisacan alleged Grab submitted “deficient, inconsistent and incorrect data for the monitoring of its compliance with its voluntary commitments”.

Grab said it would file a motion for reconsideration.

Its takeover of the regional operations of its rival Uber in March last year made its business a virtual monopoly in the Philippines.

While this gave the company a stronger market power, many riders complained such advantage did not necessarily translate to better services as higher fares preyed on the traffic-weary public.

The PCC had flagged the deal and launched a review even as the deal pushed through. Months later, the antitrust body set this review aside after Grab agreed to “voluntary commitments,” whereby the company would be monitored by an independent trustee.

Balisacan said these commitments were made to address concerns on the company’s pricing behaviour and maintain service quality “in the absence of a significant competitive pressure in the market.”

“However, the commission cannot effectively enforce these commitments without the submission of correct, sufficient, consistent and timely data by Grab,” he said.

The PCC did not say how this would affect further actions in the future.

“We do not want to presume that this is going to be a continuing trend towards violating their undertaking,” PCC commissioner Johannes Bernabe said.

Then PCC commissioner Stella Quimbo had said the government could cancel the Grab-Uber deal “in an extreme situation where there would be a blatant disregard” of the commitments.

In a separate statement, Grab Philippines president Brian Cu said the company wanted to know why the fine reached 6.5 million pesos.

He said the PCC required Grab to submit data that covered the period after the transaction was made in March.

Given the nature and huge volume of data required, he said the company worked “under very limited timelines to meet PCC’s deadline”.

“During the voluntary commitment negotiations, Grab recommended various ways to present the requested data based on how the system can best provide them. Given enough time, we can reconcile our data structure with theirs,” he said.

“Three out of four penalties were set at a maximum amount of two million pesos each. Given the breakdown of the fines vis-a-vis the severity of the lapses alleged by the PCC, we would like to better understand PCC’s rationale for imposing a maximum penalty,” he added. PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ANN

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year