Grab Users Expected to Get Nearly P20 Million in Refunds

Part of penalties imposed by the Philippine Competition Commission.
IMAGE GRAB

The Philippine Competition Commission wants Grab Philippines to disburse refunds worth P19.3 million back to eligible users. The amount is part of a series of penalties the company was ordered to pay in 2018 for violations of its price and service quality commitments after its share swap deal with rival company Uber. Grab ended up monopolizing the local ride-hailing industry after the deal. 

In 2019, the PCC ordered Grab to return a portion of its commissions to Grab’s passengers for violating its price monitoring commitment. Grab was then told to issue refunds in the amounts of P5.05 million in November 2019, P14.15 million in December 2019, and P6.25 million in October 2020.

According to the PCC, only 24.1 percent of the total refund has been claimed as of mid-June 2021. It ordered Grab to issue the remaining refunds only until April 22, 2022.

“The penalties are in the form of a refund to remind Grab that every pricing or booking violation committed against passengers shall be paid back to passengers,” said PCC Chair Arsenio M. Balisacan. “Grab should immediately release the refunds and continue to adhere to its commitments.”

But according to Grab, the delay is not with the disbursement itself, but that the refund redemption process is a challenge.

Grab said it has “disbursed the full administrative fee in a manner consistent with the agreed mechanics with the PCC,” and explained that the disbursement process involves passengers redeeming their refund through the GrabRewards Catalog within the Grab app.  

Customers who have completed the basic know-your-customer (KYC) process can directly redeem the refund. But other eligible passengers who have yet to redeem their refund are first required to complete the KYC, a regulatory requirement of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) for e-wallets. 

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“Since the first order directing Grab Philippines to disburse the administrative fees to eligible passengers last November 14, 2019, Grab Philippines has been proactively monitoring the redemption” the company said in a statement. “Immediately upon its receipt of the PCC Order, Grab Philippines has outlined to the PCC its suggested measures to address this situation and has been eagerly awaiting the PCC’s response.” 

Grab added that it has yet to receive the final decision of the PCC on the recommendations for those eligible passengers lacking the mandatory KYC.  

“But we would like to reassure our kababayans that we will continue to work with the competition commission to ensure that the remaining administrative fee amount is fully-redeemed - and focus our efforts in helping the Philippine economy recover,” Grab said. 

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