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Grab PH ordered to pay back ₱19.3m refund to users

Manila, Philippines – The Philippines Competition Commission (PCC), the country’s organisation dedicated to regulate business competition, has ordered Grab Holdings, Inc. and its subsidiary MyTaxi.PH, Inc. to pay ₱19.3m (US$368k) in refunds to its users.

The commission found out that only 24.1% of the total refund has been claimed from Grab by eligible passengers as of 15 June 2021, or ₱6.15m out of the total ₱25.45m penalty required by the PCC to be returned to Grab users.

PCC is giving Grab until 22 April to refund the remaining amounts to eligible users, noting that the refund should be immediately credited via GrabPay Wallet without requiring any act from the users to claim the amount.

PCC Chair Arsenio M. Balisacan said, “The penalties are in the form of a refund to remind Grab that every pricing or booking violation committed against passengers shall be paid back to passengers. Grab should immediately release the refunds and continue to adhere to its commitments.”

The antitrust agency previously penalised Grab a total of ₱63.7 million since 2018 for violations of its price and service quality commitments. It was in late 2019 when the Commission imposed on Grab the penalty to return a portion of its commissions to Grab’s passengers for violating its price monitoring commitment.

It has since ordered Grab to issue refunds in the amounts of ₱5.05m in November 2019, ₱14.15m in December 2019, and ₱6.25m in October 2020.

The penalties were the result of Grab’s takeover of Uber in 2018, which raised competition concerns and was subjected to a PCC Decision committing the merged entity to a standard as if it had a rival. During the monitoring period, PCC found that the ride-hailing company committed extraordinary pricing deviations, which resulted in the three sets of penalties.

“The PCC remains steadfast in monitoring Grab’s commitments to temper the firm’s dominance in the ride-hailing market. These measures are in place to prevent Grab from exercising monopolistic behaviour due to its unchallenged market power,” Balisacan said.

He added, “Through the years, the commitment measures are meant to be temporary in disciplining Grab while waiting for the market to mature with new major players. A more permanent pro-competition solution here is to open the market to more Transport Network Companies that can truly rival Grab on the same level.”