According to reports from Tuesday, April 26, Australia’s competition watchdog is suing Uber Technologies Inc, seeking a penalty of A$26 million ($18.69 million). This occurred after the ride-hailing platform admitted to have misled consumers about ride fare estimates and cancellation charges.
On Tuesday, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission stated that the ride-hailing giant admitted to have misled customers between December 2017 and September 2021. Reportedly, they warned its customers that the app would charge them cancellation fees for rides despite them seeking cancellations during the time of a ‘free cancellation period.’
The chair of the ACCC, Gina Cass-Gottlieb gave a statement on the situation. She said that the company admitted to have misled the customers in Australian for several years. Moreover, possibly causing some of the users to decide not to cancel their rides after they got the warning of the cancellation. Apparently, this occurred even though these users were entitled to cancellations without any such fee under the policy specified by Uber itself. Cass-Gottilieb went on to mention how the misleading information on the company’s app was unfair to customers. It deprived them of the opportunity to make a suitable decision regarding whether or not to choose the option of the ‘Uber Taxi’ on the app.
Additionally, the commission stated that ride hailing company admitted to have incorrectly displayed fare estimates for its option Uber Taxi. They did this through the way of the algorithm that almost always inflates the price range, with the actual fare being much lesser than what the company estimated to be the cheapest.
“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.
In response, Uber stated that it they had taken certain steps since the Australian regulator went on to raise the issue. They said they worked to ‘streamline’ their in-app messages to offer more clarity. This would clearly specify when the cancellation fees would or would not apply, in each of the cases, making sure that ‘rider always have certainty.’
According to reports, the Australian regulator further said that both, ACCC and Uber are seeking court orders jointly. This includes declarations that the ride hailing giant breached the consumer law of the country. Along with it, to impose upon the company penalties for breaking rules and misleading the customers.