back to article France POPs €800k fine on 'illegal taxi service' Uber's windshield

Uber has been slapped with a €800k fine by a French court today for its illegal POP taxi service. POP was suspended by Uber last year after the French government banned it after receiving pressure from licensed taxi drivers. Initially a French court bounced the decision upwards, but there the bouncing stopped, with Uber told …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good

    Might make up for the tax payer subsidy these "sharing economy" outfits get.

    1. JC_

      Re: Good

      Out of curiousity, what subsidy do Uber get that other cab operators don't?

      Uber certainly have their share of shady practises, but taxis in France are well overdue for a shakeup. Every over-blown cliché about the French work habits - strikes, laziness, arrogance, extortion, unreliability, etc. - actually do apply to them.

      1. It wasnt me

        Re: Good

        Correction:

        Uber certainly have their share of shady practises, but taxis in general are well overdue for a shakeup. Every over-blown cliché about work habits - strikes, laziness, arrogance, extortion, unreliability, etc. - actually do apply to them.

        You're welcome.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Good

          Every over-blown cliché about work habits - strikes, laziness, arrogance, extortion, unreliability, etc. - actually do apply to them

          That's the French, not Uber. Uber's part is the apparent enthusiasm for avoiding any law or ethics that could possibly get in the way of making as much money as possible, which is more an American thing.

        2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Good

          Correction:

          Uber certainly have FAR MORE THAN their FAIR share of shady practises, etc.

      2. David Webb

        Re: Good

        I would guess the subsidy would be not having to pay fees that a taxi driver does? A taxi driver (in the UK at least) may need a medical exam, a knowledge test and a DVLA taxi driving test. Then you add in the licence fee (3 years costs £179, must be renewed every 3 years), add the licence for the vehicle (£230 per year) and the fees slowly start to build up.

        1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

          Re: Good

          Much more stringent MoT regulations in the UK for hackney and private hire vehicles too. What level do Uber cars need to comply with - taxi-grade MoT or just a regular non-taxi MoT?

          1. John McCallum

            Re: Good

            Here in the town that I live in the only UBER private hire taxi that I know of is clearly marked up as such so I guess that they do need to have all their ducks in a row tax, insurance, MOT etc.

        2. FrogsAndChips Bronze badge

          Re: Good

          @DW

          The drivers themselves probably pay the fees required to operate as private hires.

          However, Uber's business model is to work around the employment legislation (by pretending their drivers are independent and have no contractual relations with them), and thus avoid paying all the employment taxes.

          1. Chris G Silver badge

            Re: Good

            Uber is just another type of blood sucking agent that exploits the people that are the source of it's income and that they are supposed to represent.

            As Uber is also providing a service to the passenger, under most consumer laws they should be liable to ensure that the service they are providing (in this case transport), complies with all relevant laws and regulations to protect the consumer, i.e. insurance, private hire licenses, competent drivers, that the vehicles are safe and road worthy and so on.

            If they don't, they are failing in their duty of care to the customer.

          2. Triggerfish

            Re: Good

            The drivers themselves probably pay the fees Probably or definetly? This could be an important distinction in a crash.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Good

        Out of curiousity, what subsidy do Uber get that other cab operators don't?

        They are amongst the worst offenders for avoiding paying any taxes. See for example How Uber plays the tax shell game, choice quote "Outside the U.S., the company’s network of subsidiaries has been carefully pieced together to create a state-of-the-art structure for minimizing taxes." Or as this article puts it "Any four black-cab drivers pay more tax than Uber" (in the UK).

        By paying basically no taxes, they are not contributing to the upkeep of the infrastructure on which they operate, and thus are being subsidised by those who do pay taxes.

        1. JC_

          Re: Good

          They are amongst the worst offenders for avoiding paying any taxes.

          Thanks, a good answer to a genuine question. In that respect they're very similar to Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks etc. I'm all up for taxing them properly and making the field as even as possible.

          That said, it's hard not be sardonic about Black Cab drivers being used as an example of paying taxes :)

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Lars Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Good

      The French may eat snails but they don't eat shit all the time. Salute.

    4. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Good

      The trick these sharing economy companies use, claiming their employees are independent contractors, is exactly the same trick that employers use to get around issues relating to pay, overtime, legal status and the like for non-sharing economy companies.

      Just because it uses a mobile phone app doesn't make a business 'new'. Ride hailing apps have been around a lot longer than Uber as well.

  2. Alan Mackenzie
    WTF?

    A piddling little fine?

    When are some of these overpaid law-breakers going to end up in prison? An 800,000 Euro fine is just normal working expenses to them.

    1. Vector

      Re: A piddling little fine?

      A fine example of why corporations are not people (as the US Supreme Court wants to establish). You can't throw a corporation in jail when it breaks the law. You can only increase it's CoDB.

      1. Fatman Silver badge

        Re: A piddling little fine?

        <quote>You can't throw a corporation in jail when it breaks the law. You can only increase it's CoDB.</quote>

        I think that there is one way you could - seize its assets, and SHUT IT DOWN, wiping out the stockholders' investment.

        A bit draconian, but it might work.

        (A side note, as a Linux user, I would love for this to happen to a certain global software monopoly.)

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    How's that for "disruptive" ?

    All the chanting about New Economy and whatnot, and in the end Uber is just a sleaze operation from a pair of tricksters who, in other times, would have been part of the Corleone family.

    The fine is not enough, not by a long shot, but at least there is one.

    1. Blank Reg Silver badge

      Re: How's that for "disruptive" ?

      They should tack on a few extra zeros on the end of that fine, and maybe some more in the middle for good measure.

      I have a problem with a business model that relies on ignoring all laws and ethics and pretending that the company is not really in the business that it actually is in.

    2. Vector

      Re: How's that for "disruptive" ?

      ...in other times, would have been part of the Corleone family.

      Naw, they'd just be peddling patent medicines.

  4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Expect more of this when TTIP comes

    "Uber previously filed an official complaint about France to the European Commission, which has yet to rule on the business of ruling on the business."

    Big corp doesn't like the rules so keeps appealing to higher authority no matter how many times it gets slapped down. When TTIP arrives, they will win.

    1. Triggerfish

      Re: Expect more of this when TTIP comes

      Like Phillip Morris with Tobago*, should be interesting when they try it with France.

      *Daft as it sounds I would have been totally up with Tobago declaring it as war on their sovereignty, and sending special forces to perform rendition on the board, while bombing the Phillip Morris office with their airforce. I know it can't happen but I can dream.

  5. Barry Mahon

    My question about all shapes and colours of "sharing" is does normal car insurance cover it, my feeling is no. If you are a signed up sharing service driver what or who do you pay? Assuming it is your personal car, do you need to tell your insurer?

    My experience, in France and elsewhere, on weekend nights, is that you get ordinary cars stopping to pick you up. Opportunism.

    1. Dan Wilkie

      In the UK most certainly, if you check your policy it will almost certainly prohibit you from "carrying passengers for hire or reward" or some a variation there of.

      Right next to the racing, rallying and time trials bit.

      1. d3vy Silver badge

        Even business cover (in the UK) won't cover you for carrying paying passengers.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    France Needs a Decent Taxi Service - Not Sure Uber Is It.

    Was in France for a friend's wedding a couple of years ago, staying in Versaille. Trying to get a taxi to the reception and then one to the train station the day after was impossible, not even the hotel could sort one out. France needs a decent taxi service but one that is properly regulated and I'm not sure that Uber is the right way forward.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019