Uber Technologies Inc. just got a countrywide ban in Italy as a Rome court ruled that the eTaxi giant pursued unfair competition practices. The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by Italian taxi groups, who alleged that the ride-hailing giant contributed to them facing unfair competition. The Rome court agreed.
The San Francisco, California-based ride-hailing firm has long been criticized over its business practices and has faced a number of accusations of hurting competition through its business model. Tech Times notes that several protests against the ride-hailing giant have taken place in various regions globally, and Uber has often been accused of putting taxi services out of business.
The world’s largest ride-sharing service provider will have 10 days to cut off its mobile phone apps in Italy, however, the company has said that it will appeal the decision. It has a little over a week to halt all operations in the nation, or face a $10,600 fine for each day it remains operational after that time, according to The Verge.
The court said that Uber Inc. could not use its Lux, X, Select, Black, Suv, XL, and Van smartphone app nor could it advertise or promote its service in the EU country. Taxi drivers in the European country have been militant in their turmoil against the San Francisco company, advocating for new rules, pursuing coordinated national strikes, and refusing to even meet with company reps to work towards compromise.
The Italian court ruled that Uber Inc.’s mobile apps cannot be used in the nation, and that the firm cannot advertise its services there. The company must now halt promoting its service and stop all operations in the EU nation within 10 days. While the high-flying transportation firm’s $70 billion valuation makes the $10,600 fine a day sound like chump change, the eTaxi giant has not exactly been profitable and in reality bled billions last year.
The decision follows a 2015 ruling by an Italian court shunning the UberPOP services, which was found to encourage unlicensed taxi services. That ruling kept licensed Uber services such as UberBlack in business , but those will also be on the chopping block now.
Fortune notes that Italian taxis are heavily governed and must have operating licenses costing around $211,700 (200,000 euros). The cab groups say that the U.S. eTaxi giant’s drivers evade many of the regulations and costs affecting taxis, placing Italian taxi drivers at a competitive disadvantage.
The court in Rome banned Uber in Italy for contributing to what it says is unfair competition. The ban continues a steady cycle of both countries and cities tightening rules on the San Francisco, California-based on-demand transportation service provider, though few have established such sweeping limitations. Places where the company has been restricted by regulation include Barcelona, Spain and Austin Texas, while authorities in Germany and France have disapproved versions of the app that facilitate the use of unlicensed drivers.
By Anila Maring