Uber drags Ola to court, accuses it of making false bookings
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought response of ANI Technologies, which runs app-based cab service under the name of Ola, on its competitor Uber's plea seeking Rs 49.61 crore as damages from Ola for allegedly interfering in its business by making fake accounts to book rides and then cancel them.
Ola denied the allegations made by Uber and told the court it has no intention of indulging in any of the actions attributed to it by its competitor.
In view of the submission made by Ola, Justice Vipin Sanghi directed Ola to abide by its statement and listed the matter for further hearing on September 14.
"Defendants (Ola and its subsidiary Serendipity Cabs) emphatically deny the allegations. Counsel for defendants states they have not done anything to interfere with plaintiff's (Uber) business as alleged, or its system by making false accounts, bookings or cancellations... nor has any intention of doing so.
"Defendants, their agents and employees shall abide by this statement...,"the court said, and issued notice to Ola and Serendipity asking them to file their written statement, reply and submit documents within four weeks.
Uber was asked to file its rejoinder to Ola's reply in another four weeks and the matter was listed for hearing on September 14.
Uber in its plea alleged that Ola's employees have created over 93,000 fake accounts across India on Uber's platform and were using them to make false bookings which were later cancelled and thus, causing loss to Uber which has to pay the cancellation charges.
It has claimed to have paid over Rs five lakh as cancellation charges and alleged that by making false bookings, Ola was "squatting" on cabs associated with Uber.
Ola, on the other hand, contended in the court that Uber's plea is an "offshoot" of the contempt petition filed against it by Ola for allegedly not complying with court directions to phase out diesel cabs.
It also argued that Uber's plea was based on assumptions that Ola's employees were creating the false accounts to make bookings and then cancel them.
It also said Uber was not paying any cancellation charges as the customer is charged if he/she does not cancel booking within five minutes of making it.
Uber in its plea claimed that over four lakh bookings have been made and cancelled by Ola employees across the country, with more than 50,000 such alleged incidents in Delhi, from August last year till March which has led to more than 23,000 drivers associated with it not working for it anymore.
It alleged this amounts to "stifling the competition in an irregular manner".
Uber alleged Ola was exploiting a "loophole" in its system by using data only numbers, to which calls cannot be made, to create multiple false accounts and has sought damages of Rs 49.61 crore for loss of -- service fee due to cancellations, investment made on drivers who have left, trip fare and reputation.
To this the court said Uber should fix the loophole.