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Vietnam Consumer Protection Watchdog Asks Grab to Explain New 'Hot Weather' Fee

A “hot weather” fee is Grab’s latest surcharge on a shopping list of other additional fees the ride-hailing giant tacks on to each ride.

On July 11, in response to mounting public complaints regarding Grab Vietnam’s “hot weather" surcharge, the Vietnam Competition and Consumer Authority (VCCA) under the Ministry of Industry and Trade sent a request asking Grab to submit a report to clarify this new decision.

VCCA asked the ride-hailing company to provide a list of surcharges and fees that are currently added to the fares customers have to pay. Moreover, Grab must also include evidence, criteria, and justifications regarding how the fees are executed and distributed between drivers and the company. These documents must be submitted before July 18.

Last week, Grab Vietnam announced that starting from July 6, a range of service types will carry an additional “Hot Weather Fee” (Phụ phí Nắng nóng gay gắt). Specifically, the fee is VND5,000 per trip in Hanoi and Saigon for GrabBike, GrabFood and GrabMart, and VND3,000 per trip for GrabExpress.

Rides under GrabBike and GrabFood services in other provinces, including Nghệ An, Thanh Hóa, Hải Phòng, Đà Nẵng, Huế, Cần Thơ, Khánh Hòa, Đắk Lắk, Ba Ria-Vũng Tàu, Bình Dương and Đồng Nai, will carry an additional VND5,000 under the new fee.

In their announcement, the company does not specify how it decides when or where the fee is applied. It also doesn’t explain the definition of “hot weather” or elaborate on which meteorological metrics are used to determine if the weather is hot enough to add the fee.

A Grab Vietnam representative told Tuổi Trẻ that the surcharge will not apply to the whole business day, but will be “turned on and off” depending on the day’s weather conditions. Grab also confirmed that the fee is added directly to the rides cost displayed on the app.

While the announcements describe the hot weather fee as an initiative to assist drivers during extreme weather conditions, some Grab drivers are skeptical. As the fee is directly added to ride fares, Grab is entitled to a portion of the fee under the common commission rate.

Miscellaneous fees in addition to the typical fare are not new to Grab. Apart from holiday surcharges applied on festive occasions like Tết and April 30, riders are already subjected to a night fee, a long-wait fee, a small-order fee, and a rainy weather fee, among others.

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