13 Oct 2017 12:00

Gett complains to regulator about rival Yandex.Taxi

MOSCOW. Oct 13 (Interfax) - Ride hailing app Gett has asked Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) to look into the activities of Yandex.Taxi, business daily Vedomosti reported on Friday, citing a letter Gett sent to FAS head Igor Artemyev.

Gett believes that its rival might be monitoring users' installation of the Gett app and then lowering prices for rides to be more competitive.

The company and the regulator confirmed that the letter was sent and received, the paper said.

Gett fears that Yandex.Taxi is using hidden features in its app to monitor users, Gett's representative in Russia, Alyona Balakireva told the paper. Yandex.Taxi could use the data it gathers to manipulate prices, which could point to signs of unfair competition and discrimination against users who do not have the Gett app, Gett believes.

Gett's press service said the company is reacting to a post by one of its users, who noted a difference in prices for rides on Yandex.Taxi before and after the installation of Gett's mobile app. The company did its own investigation and then brought in experts, and the results showed that there are grounds for turning to FAS, Balakireva said.

"We don't know anything about Gett's complaints," Yandex.Taxi spokesman Vladimir Isayev told Interfax.

"Yandex.Taxi has exactly the same access to information about smartphone users as Gett. It is regulated by the rules of Google Play. Installed apps, or the color of the telephone or size of its display, do not have any influence on the price of rides. The price of rides is set dynamically and depends on the route, situation on roads and number of available vehicles in the area where the user orders a ride," Isayev said.

Gett's complaint comes at a time when FAS is concluding its consideration of a deal to merge of Yandex.Taxi and Uber. Artemyev has said that the regulator will probably approve the deal, but might issue a compliance order concerning certain particulars of market transparency, disclosure of information and possibly issues of consumer safety.

FAS does not see threats to competition or growth of prices for services as a result of the deal, Artemyev said in a recent interview with Kommersant. If there is unfair competition, such as indirect price manipulation, the regulator will take measures such as a fine, he said.