Grab boss says he got P50 refund, defends computation

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 02 2020 11:58 AM | Updated as of Jan 03 2020 12:25 AM

Grab country head for the Philippines Brian Cu is greeted by drivers at a company event. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA -- The head of Grab Philippines said Thursday he got a P50 refund despite using the platform "a lot," responding to criticism on social media from users who found the rebate from the ride-hailing firm smaller than what they expected.

With 3 million active users and P19 million in refunds ordered by the Philippine Competition Commission, the rebate will run at an average P20 per user, said Grab Philippines country manager Brian Cu.

"I, for one, who use it a lot, got P50," he told ANC's Headstart.

The refunds had a "big impact" on Grab's financials, as it sought a new way to monitor fares to avoid drawing the competition monitor's ire, he said.

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Grab recently completed the latest tranche of refunds worth P19 million, which brought total reimbursements for the year to P40 million, Cu said.

Cu said the last round of refunds was due to "deviations" in pricing, not excess charges. He said Grab was looking at the average instead of a range to monitor fares so "we wouldn't be in violation anymore."

"It certainly dampened our 2019 holiday season. It had a big impact on the financials but were taking it all as an expense with the company and not passing it on to the consumers or drivers," he said.

The refund stirred conversations on social media, with some questioning the amount they got back, P1 for some users.

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Cu said Grab banned thousands of drivers for canceled bookings, refusal to accept trips and other violations.

"What happens when he cancels, he gets a negative rating in the app. If he cancels consistently, he gets suspended. And once he gets back and does it again he eventually gets banned on the platform," he said.

Cu said they are ready to face Congress to reiterate that they are not overcharging riders and to explain further their pricing.

"We should work with the government, with the netizens, with the riding public...We're really just trying to work together for a better transport future for the country," he said.