Pakistan’s ever-existing lack of a viable and functioning public transport system has forced its citizens to rely on ride-hailing apps such as Careem and Uber as their preferred mode of day-to-day travel. The apps often come as a blessing, as rides often cost less (when the peak factor isn’t active) and you can book a car any time of the day (when the captains decide to show up). But recently, the Careem app started overcharging its customers tens of thousands of rupees for short-distance rides.
So what was the reason behind overcharging their customers? The company says this was caused due to a glitch in the Careem app, and refunding customers could take up to two weeks.
According to Careem, this happened with over 162 rides. In all honesty, it would be awful to book a ride from my house to my campus and be charged even Rs. 2000+ within such a short distance, so I can’t imagine being charged way more for shorter distances. When users reported the issue, they said that the company had charged them over tens of thousands of rupees which were drafted from their bank accounts through their cards, when making payments once their ride ended. Once people started realizing what was happening, they reported and asked whether it was a security breach. The company denied and said it was a technological configuration glitch and nothing else.
One of the customers was charged Rs. 100,000 by Careem, in multiple currencies within two rides. The customer, Faseeh Mangi, said that these transactions weren’t visible to him on the app, but he realized what was happening only when he received bank alerts which showed that the Careem app had deducted the money.
JUST IN: Careem has charged massive amounts to multiple users in random global currencies because of some malfunction. I was charged about one lac Pakistani rupees ($660) for two rides! 1/3 pic.twitter.com/WLhCYux1K6
— Faseeh Mangi (@FaseehMangi) May 14, 2021
Careem issued an apology for the inconvenience in an official statement and promised that the amounts that have been falsely charged due to the configuration glitch in the Careem app will be debited back to the users.
They even added Rs. 1000 Careem credits to these customers’ Careem Pay wallets and assured all their users that this will not happen again in the future.
These private car-hailing companies might be a blessing in disguise in a country like Pakistan where mobility has become difficult, especially for the vulnerable, due to a lack of a proper public transport system. But here’s to hoping such glitches don’t act as a deterrent to using these apps and that Careem fixes any future bugs before causing further damage to their customer relationships.