Class action claims Gett charging businesses double fare
16 August 2019 - globes
Adv. Erez Milner says that Gett charged him different prices for the same journey: one when classed as a business trip and one classed as a private trip.
Do you order taxis through Gett? There is something you should know - a petition by a Haifa lawyer, Adv. Erez Milner from the Ben Ari, Fish, Saban and Co. law office, for recognition of a claims as a class action against Gett alleges that Gett charges business customers almost double what it charges private customers for the same trip. The claimant asserts that he was charged NIS 111 for a trip that should have cost only NIS 61.
The statement of claims alleges, "Although Gett promises in its advertisements that its business services are free and specifically states that no extra payment or subscription fee is required, it is misleading its business customers by charging them more on every interurban trip that it charges private customers for the same trip, without their being aware of it."
Gett operates Israel's largest taxi hailing app. According to its website, it is the leading supplier (in the world and in Israel) in the business sector, with business customers from over 20,000 leading concerns.
In addition to the service that is offers for all private customers, Gett also offers a business service for customers, ostensibly as a "favor" for suitable customers. The company website states, "A business account at Gett will give you priority in orders, fixed and transparent prices; save you time; and give one concentrated invoice." The website adds that the business services requires no additional payment or subscription fee whatsoever. "If you don't take a ride, you don't pay. There is no monthly subscription fee. There are no surprises in the invoice," the company claims.
Milner alleges that after having taken many rides as a private customer, he called Gett a number of times and asked to be listed as a business customer. Milner says that he was told that it would be worthwhile for him, including a specific statement that he would benefit financially, and would not pay have to pay anything extra for the business service.
Milner writes that he accepted the offer, and began taking his work trips as a business customer, while still taking his private trips as a private customer (the Gett application enables customers to switch easily between private customer mode and business customer mode).
The statement of claim alleges that in April 2019, Milner traveled to a work meeting in Yehud. He first traveled from his office in Haifa to the Ben Gurion Airport railway station, and then sought to travel from the railway station to Yehud in a taxi. He used the Gett application to order a taxi with his business account. The price he was asked to approve before the order was NIS 111.15. He was surprised by the high price, because he remembered that the trip should have been much cheaper. He checked the price list in the Supervision of Commodities and Services Ordinance, and discovered that the trip should have been substantially cheaper.
Milner asserts that he originally though that a mistake had been made, and therefore changed the trip definition to private without changing the destination or any other detail in the order. He was surprised to discover that a private journey to the same destination cost only NIS 61. "Even though the journey was exactly the same, the difference between a business journey and a private journey was NIS 50; a business journey cost almost twice as much," Milner wrote in his statement of claim.
Even though the journey was for purely business purposes, Milner preferred paying the lower price by making the order as a private customer.
In his statement of claim, Milner writes that several months after that, he wanted to go from his office in Haifa to a meeting in Akko. Since it seemed to him again that the price did not correspond to the price in the Supervision of Commodities and Services Ordinance, and in view of the previous case, he checked the price for the ride as both a private and business customer. He alleges that there were also differences between the price in this case, although not as large as in the previous case: the price for a private journey was NIS 121, while the price for a business journey was NIS 128.70.
Milner asserts that he wrote a letter to Gett on the matter last month asking the company to explain why it charges higher prices than those in the Ordinance, and to explain why there was a price difference between private journey and a business one. He also asked Gett to comment on the differences between what is paid for a business journey and for a private journey for all the business trips that he had taken up until that time
Milner states, however, that as of the date on which the class action petition was filed, more than a month later, no response or comment had been received to the warning letter that he sent. At the same time, the statement of claim asserts that a check made by Milner after the letter was sent showed that the differences between the cost of a private journey and a business journey had been reduced substantially, and that Gett may have made this change because of his letter.
Milner claims that in its private journey rates, Gett charges the maximum price allowed under the Ordinance, but in its business journey rates, "The respondent permits itself to charge prices higher than those stipulated in the Ordinance."
According to Milner, Gett violated its duty of goodwill in both the negotiations for his joining as a business customer, when he was promised that the service would be given without cost and would be financially beneficial to him, and in fulfillment of the contract itself. Milner therefore asserts that consumer deception, violation of the Consumer Protection Law, and other violations are involved.
Since Milner has no figures for Gett's business customers and the payments they were charged, he is unable to estimate the damage caused to the public, and is therefore asking the court to order Gett to disclose the amounts that it charged its business customers over the seven years preceding the filing of the petition.
Milner is also asking that Gett be ordered to refrain charging its business customers additional amounts, and to reimburse them for the excessive amount that they have already paid.
Gett said in response, "The company has not yet managed to study in detail the documents of the petition, which was communicated to us shortly before your query. It will respond on the substance in court. Gett operates in compliance with the legal requirement, and will continue providing its customers with reliable and advanced service."