Italian court bans UberPop on grounds of unfair competition
Tue 26 May 2015
In an Italian court ruling today judge Claudio Marangoni has banned ride-sharing apps such as UberPop, stating that the controversial firm has garnered an unfair advantage in the country’s domestic market.
Marangoni of said that the smartphone app, which allows non-licensed drivers to pick up passengers in their own non-registered vehicles, was “interfering with the taxi service organised by the companies, offered by those with licences.”
The court in Italy’s business capital Milan ruled that UberPop was benefiting from unfair competition as it has to pay less in operation and administrative fees compared to those paid by regular taxi firms.
Marangoni has given the company 15 days to comply with the ban or face a fine of up to 20,000 euros for each day the company delays agreement with the court terms. The app will be taken offline in Italy even if Uber appeals the decision.
In a statement Uber said: “We’re obviously very disappointed by today’s decision regarding UberPop, which we respect.
“We are currently looking into all appeal possibilities, to prevent hundreds of thousands of Italian citizens to be deprived of safe, reliable and affordable mobility solutions.
“More importantly, thousands of people today risk being prevented from earning additional money, despite youth unemployment rate reaching 42 percent in Italy.”
The firm also backed up its statement citing the European Commission’s ruling on fairness, proportionality and non-discrimination for technology-enabled services.
The app has already been banned in Spain and the Netherlands and is currently facing similar bans in Germany and France. Uber has also dealt with strong blows from taxi firms and drivers protesting in European capitals including London and Brussels.
Last Friday London’s Mayor Boris Johnson faced an angry question round from local taxi drivers. Johnson admitted that there “was nothing he would like to do more” than ban Uber but said “it would make no difference whatever. They’d go to a magistrate and be back on the roads tomorrow.”
He continued: “Everywhere I go I see yellow lights on. I can see the business is dying and that grieves me. But it is very difficult to fight a huge change in consumer preference.”