Man complains of accident due to Ola S1 Pro scooter. Ola reacts by doxxing him

A man met with an accident while riding his brand new Ola S1 Pro electric scooter. He alleged that the accident was caused by faulty engineering in the scooter. But Ola Electric had a strange response.

 |  5-minute read |   25-04-2022
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“I am also a victim of ola S1 brakes. On 21Feb (sic) I had suffered a major accident and my ankle bone was broken besides bruises…”

“@OlaElectric its (sic) been more than a month since my vehicle is dead.”

“My #Olaelectricscooter has failed to start even after 30% battery remaining.”

“Ola electric is just looting general public and playing with there money , time and life…”

“8 days since my scooter was taken to service, 5 days since I raised overcharges in bill. At least 25 times called on emergency line. 6 emails written, at least 10 tweets written to you. Yet no action taken, just unfulfilled promise of it happening soon. Please define soon for me.”

The complaints flooding Twitter about Ola Electric scooters are just unending. The above are only some examples.

On Friday, April 22, 2022, DailyO published a story on the nightmarish experiences of people who bought Ola scooters. Electric vehicles and scooters had also come under the scrutiny of the government with all the rising incidents of battery fires, that Union Minister Nitin Gadkari warned manufacturers. Ola Electric has now voluntarily recalled a whole batch of scooters.  

DID OLA ELECTRIC VIOLATE A CUSTOMER'S PRIVACY? 

Among the story of hundreds was that of Reetam Singh, a Guwahati resident who suffered an accident while riding his brand new Ola S1 Pro. Singh alleged it was due to faulty engineering in the scooter. But, Ola Electric denied the allegations and put out a statement along with the rider's "data" collected on their cloud in public. Ola Electric claimed that it was due to Singh's irresponsible riding and overspeeding. 

However, people have started to point out that Ola Electric's "statement" was essentially an act of "doxxing" against the customer and that the company violated the customer's privacy by the move.

What is Doxxing? Doxxing essentially involves sharing personal or identifying information about someone in the public without their consent, and with malicious intent. Ola Electric published the data including the data of two other times the rider was speeding but without an accident, and characterised him as an irresponsible rider. Here are some questions that Ola Electric needs to clarify: 

  • Did Ola Electric get consent from the customer to disclose their data? 
  • Ola Electric stores customers' riding data on its cloud, but does Ola Electric also have the right to publish this data in public without the consent of the customer (in this case, the customer has protested against it)?
  • Even if the rider was speeding at the time of the accident, why did Ola Electric choose to publish the data of his previous two speeding incidents? This move seems to be to target the customer's character. 

Balwant Singh, the father of Reetam Singh, also demanded that Ola Electric remove the data from the public platform, failing which he may be forced to take up legal action against the company. Ola Electric has, as of April 25, 2022, not taken down the privacy-violating statement.

OLA RECALLS SOME SCOOTERS

On Saturday, April 23, 2022, Ola Electric announced that they will be voluntarily recalling 1,441 e-scooters from a specific batch to reassess the health of the vehicles. Ola Electric was referring to the batch of the scooters that included the one whose battery went up in flames in Pune.

Ola Electric is the latest company to recall its e-scooters. PURE EV and Okinawa Autotech were the two other companies that also recalled their e-scooters following similar incidents.

With regards to Ola Electric, one of the main problems has also been the poor customer service and support, coupled with just a really bad product. From battery suddenly dropping from ample charge to zero to even alleged accidents caused due to the scooters, it seems like Ola Electric’s “Join the Revolution” has turned into “Join the Revolt” on Twitter.

Fun Fact: The Ola S1 Pro which has been the butt of many jokes and complaints recently, earlier belonged to a Dutch electric scooter Etergo, which Ola Electric acquired in 2020. Etergo’s back story is also not all that promising, as the Netherlands-based company was crowd-funded and the investors were supposed to get their e-scooters in 2020, but suddenly all they got was the news of the company being sold.

At the time of publishing this story, Ola Electric had not responded to the accusations of doxxing. 

Writer

Amrutha Pagad Amrutha Pagad @amrutha_pagad

Amrutha loves writing on Humour, Politics, Environment and Gender. She is a Senior Sub editor at DailyO.

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