Australia: Competition watchdog sues Uber for USD 19 million fine

Edited By: Manas Joshi
Canberra Updated: Apr 26, 2022, 05:19 PM(IST)

Uber logo (file photo). Photograph:( AFP )

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on Tuesday said Uber admitted that between December 2017 and September 2021 it warned consumers they would be charged fees for cancelling rides even though the cancellation was sought during its "free cancellation period."

Uber is being sued by Australia's competition watchdog for USD 18.69 million fine. The action has come after Uber admitted to have misled consumers about ride fare estimates and cancellation fees.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on Tuesday said Uber admitted that between December 2017 and September 2021 it warned consumers they would be charged fees for cancelling rides even though the cancellation was sought during its "free cancellation period."

"Uber admits it misled Australian users for a number of years, and may have caused some of them to decide not to cancel their ride after receiving the cancellation warning, even though they were entitled to cancel free of charge under Uber's own policy," ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said.

The competition watchdog also said that Uber admitted to having falsely represented estimates of fare for its taxi option.

"The misleading information on Uber's app deprived consumers of a chance to make an informed decision about whether or not to choose the Uber Taxi option," Cass-Gottlieb said.

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Uber said that ever since the ACCC has raised the issue, it has "worked to streamline our in-app messages to make it clear exactly when cancellation charges will or will not apply, per occasion, so that riders always have certainty."

The ACCC and Uber are jointly seeking court orders, including declarations that the ride-hailing platform breached the country's consumer law, and to impose upon it penalties, the regulator said further.

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