Uber has an exceptionally bad day in France and Germany
Thu 9 Jun 2016
Global ride-sharing crusader Uber, which rarely passes a day without skirmish in one of its target markets worldwide, has had a particularly tough 24 hours, as France fines it for running an ‘illegal taxi service’ and German courts uphold a protested ban on running an ‘unlicensed’ service.
Today the Higher Regional Court in Frankfurt threw out the San Francisco-based company’s appeal against a 2015 verdict by a lower court for running unlicensed taxi services via its lowest-entry service, UberPop. At the time, penalties for infractions against the verdict were set at € 250,000, and though Uber has not been prosecuted for any such violations, it is evidently becoming clear how serious Germany is about the company’s laissez-faire attitude to local regulations and economic balance.
The ruling keeps Germany in the European hold-outs against the semi-regulated rideshare revolution, in company with Spain and Italy, with the Netherlands and Belgium yet to draw their final legal conclusions.
Over in France, Uber was also hit with fines of €800,000 today for operating ‘an illegal transport service’ using ‘unprofessional’ drivers, with two lesser executives (European director Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty and France Uber manager Thibaud Simphal) in the company penalised with smaller fines for their part in the offences. The case is the first in Europe against Uber to be drawn under criminal rather than civil legal legislation, though Uber responded that it intended to appeal the French ruling.
Uber will have to pay half of the fine immediately, with the other €400k suspended. Gore-Coty and Simphal were convicted of ‘deceptive commercial practices’ and for their involvement in an ‘illegal transportation service’.
The more we have covered Uber’s regulation-flouting world crusade in the last couple of years, the more difficult it has become to sum up the sheer volume of its legislative, civil and criminal woes even throughout that period. You can view all our coverage of the Quixotic world-conquerors here; or else enjoy some highlights, such as the Indonesian riots in March; the local invasion of Carnegie Mellon’s research plot in Chicago; the $1 billion a year that Uber is burning to break the Chinese market; the French riots; the Italian rejection; Uber’s denial of accountability in a rape case involving one of its drivers; and the flouting of local laws in Bangkok.
It’s a select list, considering the available material.