Uber fined $150,000 and forced to embarrass itself by French court

Now go away or I shall taunt you a second time!


Uber has been forced to embarrass itself in print by a French court after appealing charges of deceptive advertising.

An appeal court in Paris on Monday upped an earlier €100,000 fine by €50,000 when it rejected the taxi app's argument that it had been deceptive when it published slick adverts for its UberPop service saying it was legal.

In addition to the increased fine, the court also insisted that Uber write and publish a blog post on its website that acknowledged it had been convicted for "deceptive commercial practices" in 2014, and why.

Uber is considering whether to appeal for a second time, in what has become a complex fight with the French government. Two of the service's top executives face jail sentences in charges of enabling illegal taxi services and illicit storage of personal data. They will face trial in February.

Those charges, levied in June, followed a week in which French taxi drivers protested publicly against Uber, overturning some Uber vehicles and burning tires in the street. Uber refused to shut down its UberPop service, however.

UberPop is at the center of the dispute. It is the company's first service that does not have professional drivers, and it was sold as a ride-sharing service with low prices. The authorities declared it an illegal taxi service but Uber pushed ahead with advertising that claimed the opposite – that it was in fact legal.

In response, the consumer protection agency decided to press deception charges, found Uber guilty, and issued a fine. Then Uber appealed and the appeals court agreed with the initial decision and upped the penalty.

Regardless, Uber is still insisting it will push on. A spokesman for the company told The Register: "Our priority is to keep people moving. This decision will not impact the service we offer in France today, which is provided entirely by professional drivers.

"The success in France of Heetch, UberPop's main competitor, who is still operating despite its ban, demonstrates that progress is happening and P2P ridesharing has a future in France. We will continue to work with the French government on new, common-sense regulations that offer riders more affordable, reliable options and drivers new job opportunities."

There's no sign yet of the compulsory self-flagellating blog post. ®

Similar topics

Narrower topics


Other stories you might like

  • Cheers ransomware hits VMware ESXi systems
    Now we can say extortionware has jumped the shark

    Another ransomware strain is targeting VMware ESXi servers, which have been the focus of extortionists and other miscreants in recent months.

    ESXi, a bare-metal hypervisor used by a broad range of organizations throughout the world, has become the target of such ransomware families as LockBit, Hive, and RansomEXX. The ubiquitous use of the technology, and the size of some companies that use it has made it an efficient way for crooks to infect large numbers of virtualized systems and connected devices and equipment, according to researchers with Trend Micro.

    "ESXi is widely used in enterprise settings for server virtualization," Trend Micro noted in a write-up this week. "It is therefore a popular target for ransomware attacks … Compromising ESXi servers has been a scheme used by some notorious cybercriminal groups because it is a means to swiftly spread the ransomware to many devices."

    Continue reading
  • Twitter founder Dorsey beats hasty retweet from the board
    We'll see you around the Block

    Twitter has officially entered the post-Dorsey age: its founder and two-time CEO's board term expired Wednesday, marking the first time the social media company hasn't had him around in some capacity.

    Jack Dorsey announced his resignation as Twitter chief exec in November 2021, and passed the baton to Parag Agrawal while remaining on the board. Now that board term has ended, and Dorsey has stepped down as expected. Agrawal has taken Dorsey's board seat; Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor has assumed the role of Twitter's board chair. 

    In his resignation announcement, Dorsey – who co-founded and is CEO of Block (formerly Square) – said having founders leading the companies they created can be severely limiting for an organization and can serve as a single point of failure. "I believe it's critical a company can stand on its own, free of its founder's influence or direction," Dorsey said. He didn't respond to a request for further comment today. 

    Continue reading
  • Snowflake stock drops as some top customers cut usage
    You might say its valuation is melting away

    IPO darling Snowflake's share price took a beating in an already bearish market for tech stocks after filing weaker than expected financial guidance amid a slowdown in orders from some of its largest customers.

    For its first quarter of fiscal 2023, ended April 30, Snowflake's revenue grew 85 percent year-on-year to $422.4 million. The company made an operating loss of $188.8 million, albeit down from $205.6 million a year ago.

    Although surpassing revenue expectations, the cloud-based data warehousing business saw its valuation tumble 16 percent in extended trading on Wednesday. Its stock price dived from $133 apiece to $117 in after-hours trading, and today is cruising back at $127. That stumble arrived amid a general tech stock sell-off some observers said was overdue.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022