Australian Court Fines Uber $14mn For Misleading on Fares And Cancellation Fees

The court has just penalized Uber with a total of $14 million AUD in fines. $14 million AUD is an Australian currency that equates to a hefty $21 million USD.

The fine imposed by the Australian court was less than a regulator wanted.

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Australian versions of the American ride-sharing app failed to follow a number of laws regarding cancellation of trips, offer more than the amount that should have been given as estimated taxi fare, and charged more than they should have, a federal court has ruled.

According to Uber’s website, it apologized to Australians “for the mistakes we made, and we have since proactively changed our platform in response to your concerns”.

Judge Michael Hugh O Bryan said in a written ruling that supplying false information in its smartphone app could likely lead consumers to make a decision they might not otherwise have made and change their behavior when dealing with Uber by providing inaccurate information.

This legal battle has finally come to an end, and both the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the tech firm agreed to a penalty of A$26 million, according to lawyers. Unfortunately, as per Bryan O Bryan, evidence presented by both parties was grossly inadequate, and he left him to speculate about the harms to consumers.

Uber had less than a half of a percent of their customers back out of their Uber ride because of the cancellation fee and UberTaxi overshot the estimated fare on 89% of occasions, but it was only used 1% of the time by total Uber rides, the judge writes.

According to Gina Cass-Gottlieb, chair of the ACCC, the fine “clearly signals to businesses that misleading consumers about a product’s price is a serious matter”.

“The lower penalty is not to be understood as a decrease in the court’s determination to impose penalties appropriate to deter violations of the Australian Consumer Law”, Cass-Gottlieb said.

Jean Harris

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