The Consumers' Association of Ireland (CAI) is calling for fairness after a popular taxi app announced it was charging a €5 cancellation fee.
MyTaxi announced yesterday that users who cancel their journeys within two minutes of a driver accepting the fare - or who are not at the pick-up point within five minutes of the designated time - may be charged a €5 cancellation fee.
But a spokesperson for the company would not say whether passengers would be entitled to any kind of credit or goodwill gesture if the driver cancels on the passenger through no fault of their own.
Speaking to Independent.ie last night, Dermott Jewell, chief executive of the CAI, said the policy should be a two-way street.
"I can understand the logic [of the cancellation fee] but it needs to apply both ways," he said.
"There needs to be reciprocal arrangement."
For example, a passenger may be left waiting in vain beyond the five-minute window if the driver goes to the wrong address, he said.
"There are circumstances where it [the new policy] will give rise to arguments and disputes," he said.
However, in a statement, the company said the new policy - which goes into effect at the end of the month - is intended to improve customer service.
"To reduce the number of passenger cancellations on the MyTaxi app and to boost fleet efficiency to meet surging demand, particularly at peak times, MyTaxi is introducing a €5 passenger cancellation fee in late June," it said.
"This fee is in line with industry practice in Ireland and internationally and is already applied by a number of our competitors here. It is a charge we never want our passengers to incur and is intended to change behaviour when our fleet is most under pressure and to boost the reliability of our service when our customers most need it."