Consumer watchdog asks Didi to fix payment loophole

Popular ride-hailing app promises change after some customers complain of being overcharged.

Popular ride-hailing app Didi Chuxing was asked today by the Shanghai Consumer Council to fix a loophole on its password-free payment system following complaints of overcharging.

The loophole allows Didi drivers to charge extra for tolls, parking fees and other items which customers are not aware of when using the app's password-free payment option, the council said.

The council held talks with Didi today and asked it to investigate how many people were affected and issue refunds. The app-maker should also investigate transaction loopholes and risks and improve its payment security, the council said.

Among other announced changes, Didi said it would update the settings of its password-free payment system and make customers manually confirm extra payments requested by drivers.

The app would also see more stringent controls against unreasonable charges, and stricter punishments for drivers who attempt to overbill customers, its operator said.  

Didi has also promised to provide written feedback on its updates to the council within two weeks.

The talk followed media reports that a Didi passenger was charged 128 yuan (US$20) on a fare initially estimated at 38 yuan. The overcharge included a 30 yuan highway toll, 30 yuan in parking fees and a 30 yuan bridge toll, all of which were disputed by the customer.

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