Grab Philippines, which has been mandated to disburse about PHP 19.3 million in refund to its customers until April 22, is asking for a meeting with the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) to possibly discuss various proposals.
The meeting between the PCC and Grab still has to be set. This request can be seen as “part of their compliance with the show cause order” wherein “they proposed at least six options by which they can effect the fund,” according to PCC Commissioner Johannes Bernabe in an online briefing.
There is growing urgency for the leading ride-hailing company to finally complete its refund which amounts to a total of P25.45 million in price-related penalties mandated by the anti-trust body last year. However, as of June 2021, only P6.15 million have been claimed by its customers.
The PCC also said it will hold to its late-April deadline, although Grab had earlier assured its customers that the refund can be exercised until 2030.
Bernabe further emphasized that other government regulatory authorities like the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) or the Philippine Central Bank, and the Anti-Money Laundering Council would also show cause for concern about the refund. Earlier this year, in February, another PCC spokesman had said that its steadfast monitoring of Grab’s compliance was partly an exercise to stop any “monopolistic behavior due to its unchallenged market power.”
Meanwhile, Grab had issued a statement saying that it remains “fully-committed to complying with its undertakings and commitments and doing right by stakeholders.” It also said that it is “actively working with the PCC to exhaust all possible measures to ensure that the administrative fee is redeemed by all eligible passengers.”
Grab said that it has already disbursed the full administrative fee. Customers can redeem their refund through their GrabWallet by completing a Know-Your-Customer KYC process, which is a “regulatory requirement of the BSP.” Apparently, the slow disbursement is due to the equally slow uptake of Grab customers to go through the KYC, which Grab said is mandated by law.
However, Bernabe replied that Grab’s compliance with the refund should not “trigger concerns,” as the amounts to be received per user only range from PHP1 to PHP13.