Super app Grab said on Sunday it has taken the “necessary steps” to immediately comply with the order of the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) to notify affected riders of their unclaimed refunds.
In a statement, Grab Philippines said affected riders may opt to claim their refund from the in-app GrabRewards Catalogue. According to Grab, some of the rebates, sent three years ago, have yet to be claimed by affected users.
The reminders were sent to users via in-app notifications, emails, and SMS, and were also posted on Grab’s social media platforms and published in major newspapers.
Refund beneficiaries were likewise reminded that the rebates will expire on July 18, and unclaimed amounts will be remitted to the Philippine National Treasury per the PCC Resolution dated February 2, 2023.
“We never abandoned our obligation to return the P25 million to the passengers affected. The challenge for us was to refund the remainder to Grab users without GrabPay wallets,” Grab Philippines Director for Public Affairs Sherielysse Bonifacio said.
To recall, Grab was ordered by the PCC to reimburse users for GrabCar bookings in 2018 and 2019 for failing on some of its voluntary commitments, after it merged with lone competitor Uber.
In total Grab had to reimburse P25.4 million to users. To date, P6.66 million has yet to be refunded due to issues with the mechanism by which the refund will be coursed through.
Grab told the anti-trust body that it had difficulty in the disbursements, as some users were not using GrabPay, a native e-wallet within the Grab app.
Bonifacio added that the platform “had been in constant communication with the PCC and had filed several motions requesting the PCC for guidance as to how to return the remaining P6.66 million to Grab users.”
In its resolution, the PCC has directed Grab to refund affected users within 60 days from the initial publication of the first notice to claim their refunds.
Within 10 days from the lapse of the 60-day period to claim refunds, Grab shall submit a report on the claimed and unclaimed amounts. Should there be remaining unclaimed amounts, Grab will convey the said amounts to the PCC for remittance to the National Treasury.
Aside from the refund order, the PCC also slapped a fresh P9-million peso fine on Grab Philippines, citing its failure to fully refund its customers more than three years after the PCC first ordered the reimbursement.”
The latest fine is on top of the P63.7 million in penalties that the PCC had imposed on Grab over the years since it acquired the Philippine operations of then-lone rival Uber in 2018.