Business & Economy

Uber faces nearly $19-million fine in Australia for misleading users

Sydney, Australia, Apr 26 (EFE).- Uber faces a nearly $19-million fine in Australia after the ride-hailing firm admitted to its misleading conduct over cancellation fee warnings and taxi fare estimates, a regulator said on Tuesday.

The company said it gave deceiving information to over two million users between December 2017 and December 2021.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), in a statement, said that Uber had agreed to make joint submissions with the body to the Federal Court for penalties of about AU$26 million ($18.8 million).

However, the court will have the final word on the amount to be paid by Uber for violating the Australian Consumer Law by providing misleading or false information in the warnings given to consumers seeking to cancel a ride.

The ACCC said Uber’s cancellation policy for the UberX, Uber Comfort, and Uber Premier services allowed free cancellation within five minutes after the acceptance of a booking.

Despite this, Uber showed misleading cancellation warnings to more than two million Australian consumers in its application, saying, “You may be charged a small fee since your driver is already on their way” within five minutes.

In September 2021, the American company amended the cancellation warning for its services in Australia by clarifying that users would not be liable to pay if they canceled during the free cancellation period.

The ACCC said Uber displayed misleading fare estimates for the “Uber Taxi” ride option, available only in Sydney, between June 2018 and August 2020.

It happened because the algorithm used to calculate the estimated-fare range for this service, removed in August 2020, inflated prices and favored the platform, the regulator said.

“Uber admits its conduct misled users about the likely cost of the taxi option, and that it did not monitor the algorithm used to generate these estimates to ensure it was accurate,” ACCC chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said.

“Digital platforms like Uber need to take adequate measures to monitor the accuracy of their algorithms and the accuracy of statements they make, which may affect what service consumers choose,” she added. EFE


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