Things have started to get murkier for Ola as another company has accused India’s largest cab-hailing company of indulging in unfair practices to hurt competitor businesses. While Uber just yesterday drew Ola to court over fake accounts, it is the auto rickshaw aggregator Jugnoo this time, which has made exactly the same accusations — sans the legal action.
We have evidence to support our claims. We are planning to take suitable legal action against Ola but will refrain from doing so if they cease to do this.
says Samar Singla, Co-Founder and CEO at Jugnoo in a statement sent to The Tech Portal
According to Singla, they witnessed a sudden surge in the bookings 10 days back and an almost equal rate of cancellations. When they started mapping the areas where this was happening, they found the places were close to the premises of Ola’s offices. The activity was particularly high in the areas of Gurgaon, Noida, and Mysore.
Jugnoo claims that Ola employees made almost 800 fake accounts using them to book rides on Jugnoo and then cancelling them after some time. At times, they even switched off the mobile phones without any cancellations. Jugnoo alleges that as many as 20000 cancellations were made through these accounts.
On March 14, 2o15, Singla had also tweeted about these malicious practices mentioning the official Twitter handle of Ola and personal account of Ola Co-founder Bhavish Aggarwal. There has not been any response from anybody from Ola yet on this. The company hasn’t sent us a statement to us as well.
As a proof of the allegations, the company has sent us the following Ola heat map :
But we believe, this might just be one of the sides of this twisted tale. Jugnoo for one, should have gone ahead with a legal complaint against Ola — taking into account Singla’s claims of having proof of this kind of a business practice employed by the company.
Instead, Singla says that his company wouldn’t go ahead with the legal complaint if Ola ceases to do this. This again sounds a bit off, since Jugnoo has borne considerable loss already and letting Ola just go away without seeking damages isn’t exactly how I, as Jugnoo’s founder, might have gone about this.
However, Ola’s quietness over Jugnoo’s malicious business practice accusations too is surprising, considering that these allegations were made way before the Uber case even came into the light. In the Uber legal case, the court got a written undertaking signed by the cab hailing company, forbidding it from indulging in even the shadiest of such practices. In Jugnoo’s case though, there has been no legal complaint yet — and hence the surprise over Ola’s discreet silence.
Ola had quickly responded to Uber allegations by claiming that the US giant was trying to divert the attention from its own pending case of contempt proceedings in the Delhi High Court.
It remains to be seen what will be the outcome of this sudden increase in the rivalry in the transportation segment, which has gone way beyond just healthy business competition. But one cannot deny that such cases have the potential to tarnish the brand image of Ola (and honestly, it already is tarnished to a damaging enough extent) if it continues its silence or fails to counter these allegations made by its competitors.