Last Updated on 2023-05-28 , 1:12 pm
[Editor’s note: A previous copy of the article refers to the error as a system glitch, Grab has reached out to clarify on the matter. This article has been updated with their official response below.]
Recently, a Grab private-hire car driver highlighted that the fares he submitted automatically reset to zero.
The driver, 46-year-old Mr Cai Kai Ji, shared that since March 2023, there have been instances where the mileage fee in Grab’s fare system would unexpectedly reset to $0.
This occurred four times over a period of three months, leading to a loss of $60 in profits.
In light of this issue, Mr Cai has advised his fellow drivers to exercise caution and be vigilant to avoid facing similar losses due.
He Noticed the Errors Too Late
Mr Cai highlighted that orders tend to come quickly during peak hours.
Like other Grab drivers, he would immediately accept new passenger requests after dropping off previous passengers in such situations.
In normal circumstances, drivers can manually input the mileage fee in the Grab Driver application after completing a trip and then confirm the payment to receive the correct fare.
However, due to their busy schedules and rushing between jobs, drivers may unintentionally overlook incorrect fare amounts and proceed to confirm without realising the discrepancy.
Due to his fast-paced approach, Mr Cai admitted that he, too, failed to notice when the fare amount jumped to zero due to the system error.
Unfortunately, once the confirmation button is pressed, it becomes almost impossible to recover the lost earnings.
He shared an example where he travelled 30 kilometres for a job but ended up earning only the platform’s base booking fee of $2.70.
These proved to be highly frustrating for Mr Cai because he would often realise the issue only after picking up multiple passengers, rendering his hard work futile.
Moreover, these errors were not uncommon as he has already experienced this on four occasions between March and April 2023, resulting in a total loss of $60.15 in earnings.
Caused Financial Losses to Grab Driver
Grab drivers operate under a fare structure that consists of the platform’s base booking fare, mileage based on the distance travelled, and time spent during the ride.
Even during non-peak hours on weekdays, drivers can still earn a profit of $70.
However, when system errors like fare resets occur, drivers like Mr Cai end up earning minimal amounts, despite completing multiple jobs in a day.
When the errors occur, Mr Cai can only earn the platform’s booking fee of $2.30 and $3.30 during non-peak and peak periods, respectively.
It’s important to note that Grab also deducts a commission fee of up to 20.18% from drivers’ earnings.
After subtracting this commission fee of $0.60, Mr Cai’s net profit for a day’s work only amounts to a meagre sum of $1.70 to $2.70.
Furthermore, Mr Cai claims that he would end up earning nothing at all if he factored in the cost of fuel fees.
Driver Cannot Get Fees Back as Passenger is Uncontactable
According to Grab, when passengers don’t pay for a trip, whether unintentionally or otherwise, drivers can report it to the platform, where they will conduct an investigation on the respective case.
According to their guidelines, financial losses incurred from such cases will be reimbursed to the affected drivers in their application’s credit wallet within three working days.
However, it appears that Grab does not have the same structured recovery process in place to cover losses resulting from the abovementioned errors. Mr Cai was unable to claim his losses even after reporting the issues to the platform.
According to their site, it seems drivers can only report system-related problems to Grab’s Help Centre, where solutions are often on a case-by-case basis and recovery of funds may not be guaranteed.
This was precisely what happened to Mr Cai when he reported the incident to Grab when it first occurred.
Grab informed him that he could not claim back the financial losses because the passengers from the affected jobs were uncontactable.
Grab’s Response to the Incident
“Our taxi driver-partners are aware that they need to input the correct final fare amount after a trip ends, as that is the amount that passengers are required to pay. We understand that our driver-partners may sometimes be in a rush to catch their next booking, hence we have taken several precautions to help them reduce instances of incorrectly keying in their fares.
Our system does not allow driver-partners to proceed to the next booking if they forget to key in an amount, and to prevent accidental confirmations, the screen is designed such that they have to intentionally drag a slider to confirm the amount keyed in.
We empathise that it is frustrating for our driver-partners if they still end up keying in an incorrect amount, and we will do our best to support them in these instances. They may contact us for help, and we will make attempts to contact the passenger and check if they are willing to make the full payment through the app.
Thus far, we have a very low number of such incidents happening and in the majority of these cases, the passengers are willing to top-up the difference after they have been notified.”
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