Business & Economy

Uber fined $14 million for misleading Australian consumers

Sydney, Australia, Dec 7 (EFE).- An Australian court has fined Uber AU$21 million ($14 million) for misleading or deceptive conduct and giving false or misleading information to its customers between 2017 and 2021, according to a ruling published Wednesday.

“I will impose an aggregate pecuniary penalty in the amount of $21 million,” said Judge Michael O’Bryan of the Federal Court of Australia in his ruling.

Uber had admitted that it had contravened consumer laws, according to the ruling of the lawsuit filed in April by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The ACCC said in a statement that Uber admitted the cancellation message it displayed between at least December 2017 and September 2021 was misleading because it said users could be charged if they canceled their booking, even if it was during the ‘free cancellation period.’

O’Bryan found Uber did not actually charge customers who canceled within five minutes, and that a small number of customers (0.4 percent) were influenced to continue with their booking.

In September 2021, Uber canceled the message, which ACCC believes to have been shown to some 2 million passengers in Australia.

In addition, Uber, which operates in 700 cities around the world, gave misleading information between June 2018 and August 2020 about fare ranges for its UberTaxi trips, which it provided only in Sydney, according to the ruling.

That was because the algorithm it used for the calculations of this service, which it removed in August 2020, inflated prices and favored the platform service.

“This $21 million penalty clearly signals to businesses that misleading consumers about the cost of a product or service is a serious matter which can attract substantial penalties,” ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said in a statement. EFE


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