Careem is over-charging customers due to a glitch not under the control of the company.
ProPakistani found that a number of customers were charged extra, at times almost 200%, for rides that they took with Careem.
Sibtain Naqvi, Head of Communications at Careem, confirmed that there’s a glitch which is to blame for the overcharging.
Mr. Naqvi explained that around 0.5% of Careem trips are subjected to miscalculation due to poor internet coverage on Captain’s mobile device when Careem app is unable to access internet and location can’t be determined.
“During such scenarios, our algorithms are unable to define the distance traveled because they are unable to track the GPS in real time”, said Mr. Naqvi.
ProPakistani readers, who sent us reports about the over-billing, said that they were charged extra even when they had internet connectivity. They said that they had internet access on their mobile phones both when they booked the ride and when they reached their destinations and even throughout the ride.
Industry experts were surprised by Careem’s response and questioned how the app could end a ride and send customers the bill when there’s no internet.
They also said that its very rare to not to have internet access these days due to dense cellular coverage almost everywhere in the cities where Careem operates.
Careem, on the other hand, claims that the company has been utterly transparent in how it bills the customers.
“After every ride, our captains and customers receive a complete breakdown of their trip. This includes base fare, distance traveled and waiting charges”, said the company spokesperson.
Not to mention, customers who were charged extra were shown incorrect distance covered and hence were charged extra, meaning that a billing receipt can’t do much if distance covered is calculated and billed inaccurately.
Mr. Naqvi admitted that Careem could have miscalculated the fare due to technological limitations, which also plague the likes of Google Maps which are sometimes inaccurate.
“But as a preemptive measure, we have designed a system that identifies 90% of these (0.5%) miscalculated trips and readjusts their fares automatically. For the remaining 10%, we have always refunded those fares manually as soon as the customer raises the issue with us”, further explained the Careem official.
Not to mention, ProPakistani tipsters were not fully refunded the amount that was over-charged, despite the fact that they had registered the complaints with Careem support staff.
While many may claim that an error rate of 0.5% is low, Careem is massively popular in Pakistan and as such, even a low error rate like 0.5% could mean millions of rupees in overcharging.
We strongly recommend that you remain alert when you get the bill and contact Careem helpline immediately if you suspect fare miscalculations.
An easy way of calculating accurate distance covered is by checking Google maps and distance between two locations. It will give you a fair idea of how many KMs you traveled.
Careem has further clarified its position in an emailed statement.
“Ride fares are calculated through the captain’s phone and internet coverage. Very seldom there are technological issues due to poor internet coverage on the captain’s phone that leads to issues. While Careem is trying to offer world class services we also need to appreciate that there are certain infrastructural issues beyond its control. However, what’s important is that these issues are resolved by our support team and we are always available for our customers”
– Sibtain Naqvi, Head of Communications at Careem