Ryde files report over 'phantom' bookings

Terence Zou, founder of local carpool service app Ryde, which received thousands of bookings from fake accounts, including some allegedly made by rival Grab.
Terence Zou, founder of local carpool service app Ryde, which received thousands of bookings from fake accounts, including some allegedly made by rival Grab.PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

It says more than 2,000 no-show bookings made from fake accounts in last two months, some allegedly by Grab

Ride-hailing platform Ryde has filed a police report after receiving thousands of "phantom" bookings from fake accounts - including some allegedly made by rival Grab.

More than 2,000 cancelled bookings have been made from more than 300 fake accounts on its app in the last two months, the company said yesterday.

Ryde first started noticing the fake bookings in early May after it launched its private-hire car service RydeX, the firm's operations and community engagement head Shaun Wu told The Straits Times.

He added that drivers had submitted feedback regarding numerous cases of rider "no-shows".

The rider accounts had no prior activity, and attempts to contact them via e-mail addresses and phone numbers provided to the firm proved unsuccessful.

Mr Wu added that the selected mode of payment for these trips was cash, preventing the firm from tracing the users through their credit card details.

INTERIM MEASURES

As an interim measure, Ryde has also been conducting user audits to eliminate these fake accounts and also informed drivers to look out for and report the incidents.

MR SHAUN WU, Ryde’s operations and community engagement head.

"As an interim measure, Ryde has also been conducting user audits to eliminate these fake accounts and also informed drivers to look out for and report the incidents," he said.

In a copy of a police report lodged on Tuesday, seen by The Straits Times, Ryde claimed it had traced some of the bookings back to IP addresses belonging to three companies, one of which was rival Grab.

A Grab spokesman said last night that the firm was investigating the matter.

Ryde has also notified the Land Transport Authority, as well as the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore, which said it was looking into the matter.

Mr Wu declined to say if the firm would be beefing up its cyber security or pursuing legal action.

He estimated that Ryde drivers have lost about $50,000 in income because of phantom bookings.

One affected RydeX driver, who wanted to be known only as Mr Pang, said he has been experiencing about two phantom bookings a week.

However, on Wednesday alone, the 52-year-old had two no-shows.

Last week, it was reported that in Indonesia, ride-hailing rivals Grab and Go-Jek may have lost millions due to fake bookings.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2018, with the headline 'Ryde files report over 'phantom' bookings'. Print Edition | Subscribe