Cab aggregator Uber has shirked the responsibility for customer safety and stated before a city consumer commission that it only connects the driver-partner and the customer and in its disclaimer in terms and conditions, it has specified that it does not guarantee the quality, safety etc with the drivers.
This was in the company’s response filed to a complaint by a 38-year-old woman against it as she was refused a ride last year by an Uber cab when accompanied by her pet dog.
The aggregator has said that ‘driver-partners’ use its app as ‘independent contractors’ and hence are individually responsible for their acts or any incidents that take place during the service. It pointed out that the drivers are not its employees, nor are they plying vehicles owned by it and it “does not control the conduct” of such contractors.
It said further that the customer has agreed to terms and conditions while availing of the service. As per this, it said, “The customers agree that the entire risk arising out of the use of the service…remains solely with them,” adding that all users while signing up with the app provide their consent to be governed by the terms and conditions. It said the user before registering on the app has to affirmatively click on the ‘Agree’ button to accept the terms of service. This form of consent is recognized as a ‘click wrap’ one it said and is valid under the Information Technology Act. It said the complainant is bound by its terms and conditions.
On the specific complaint by the woman of not being allowed to ride with her pet, the company said another of its driver-partners had subsequently fulfilled the booking and hence she cannot allege any deficiency. Regarding transporting pets, it said, "the complainant is relying on a pet-friendly policy available on its website to claim damages, but it is only applicable to riders in the US and is not a global policy."
In her rebuttal to the response filed through her advocate Prashant Nayak, the woman has said that Uber is not a mere facilitating agency, but hires drivers, collects payments from customers into its account and has a system to take action against drivers for breach of its policies. She said it is shying away from its responsibilities toward consumers and misguiding the court through its one-sided terms and biased disclaimers.