Colombia watchdog fines Rappi for double charges, lax liquor rules

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BOGOTA, March 21 (Reuters) - Colombia's consumer watchdog on Tuesday ruled in favour of fining Latin American delivery app Rappi of 1.245 billion Colombian pesos (around $260,000) for failed deliveries, double charging customers and allowing alcohol to be sent to minors.

The decision follows an appeal from the SoftBank-backed startup, which surged into unicorn status in 2018.

"It was found that Rappi SAS violated consumer protection regulations related to quality of service by generating double charges to consumers, breaches in delivery and order cancellations," the SIC watchdog said in a statement.

It added that Rappi "did not implement the possible measures to verify the age of consumers at the time of delivery of products that are harmful to health, such as alcoholic beverages."

Rappi did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Bogota-based delivery service, which operates in nine countries across Latin America, last year won regulatory approval to operate as a digital bank in Colombia. Its founders have also floated the idea of preparing a public listing. ($1 = 4,801.3100 Colombian pesos) (Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta and Nelson Bocanegra; Writing by Sarah Morland Editing by Marguerita Choy)