Meituan faces possible legal action over 'gratitude fees'
The Shanghai Consumer Council said on Thursday that it is considering filing a public interest lawsuit against Meituan, which runs a popular Internet car-hailing services, over a feature which allows people to "tip" taxi drivers in advance in order to secure a ride.
These so-called "gratitude fees" violate consumer rights, the council said.
The litigation would aim to safeguard the legal rights and interests of consumers, the council said.
A talk will be hosted by the council on Monday to discuss the matter, it said.
There have been a number of complaints about disorganized pricing in the taxi-hailing market recently, with overcharges and long waits for rides drawing much ire, the council said.
Car-sharing leader Didi was ordered in 2017 to remove a similar function on its app that allowed people to "tip" taxi drivers in advance so as to secure a ride.
The city’s transportation authorities said the function was unfair and disrupted the taxi market.
The order followed a public outcry over both Didi’s services and complaints that hailing taxis in the city had become extremely difficult ahead of the Spring Festival holiday.