A Ghatkopar businessman was left in disbelief when the Ola cab he hired for a round trip from Mumbai to Pune ended with the driver generating a bill of Rs 83,395 for a 350 km ride.
Kamal Bhatia, a senior citizen, and a resident of Ram Narayan Narkar Marg in Pantnagar, booked a cab on September 4 to visit Pune for a wedding. Bhatia with his family left his home at 6.30 am and the family returned to Mumbai at 9.25 pm.
When the ride ended, he received a soft copy of the bill that left him in absolute disarray.
The invoice of Ola showed that he had travelled 7,000 km in a span of 14 hours, effectively meaning that he was travelling at the speed of 500 kmph.
“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.
Kamal also briefly argued with the driver regarding bill, who too accepted that it was an error. Kamal then got in touch with the Ola call centre and entered into an intense argument that lasted 30 minutes.
“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,” he said.
The bill, which was a clear case of software error, was rectified by the app-based fleet operator. He was later handed a revised bill of Rs 4,088 for the trip.
“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 added.
The aggregator also apologised for the mistake and eventually waived off the entire bill amount.
According to Kamal, at one point the call centre officials blamed driver for the hefty charge and the passenger also thought to take 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,” the passenger said.