Uber Could Face a Fine of Up to $1 Million in France
Feb 27, 2016 04:51 AM EST
Uber could be facing some problems in France. On Thursday, a court wrapped up the trial involving the famous ride-hailing company. Along with the court's decision, Uber could be facing fines worth millions of euros and even banning the company from operating in the country.
Back when Uber launched its low-cost UberPop service, it became the delight of its passengers. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the other French taxi drivers since the service connected passengers with non-professional drivers. This prompted the professional drivers to file a criminal charge against the executives of the app.
Lawyers for different taxi union groups, associations and drivers sought over $100 million in damages. On Phys, they claim that this has lead to business loss on their part because of the unfair competition brought about by the service. During the trial, they claimed that the service offered by UberPop sidesteps taxes, licensing fees and social charges. At the same time, they fought that the drivers were unregistered, improperly insured, and badly trained.
As reported on Yahoo News, Uber has since suspended its UberPop service. Despite this, the company continues to operate its standard service employing only those drivers with registered professional licenses.
On Thursday, the high-profile trial was wrapped up, as a Paris court announced that a verdict will be given by June 9th. The trial involves Uber's general manager for France, Thibaud Simphal, and chief for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty. Both men have been accused of complicity in practicing an illegal taxi activity.
Lawyers for Uber and the two men argued that neither two were legal representatives for Uber France. Since they were only salaried managers, their main tasks involved with advertising and marketing. They had no such mandate with the shareholders. The lawyers share that the ones responsible for the UberPop service are the ones that organized it from the start. However, no names were given.
Geekwire shares that the other charges both Gore-Coty and Simphal are facing include violation of French privacy law by illegally stocking, processing and recording information about the drivers that have chosen to work with Uber. They are also charged with deceptive commercial activity.
With the gravity of the charges against them, both men could possibly spend jail time. However, in her closing arguments, the prosecutor did not recommend prison for either men. If found guilty, they could be banned from running, heading, or managing any company in France for the next five years. Gore-Coty faces a fine of $77,000 while Simphal faces a $55,000 fine. Uber France, meanwhile, could be fined $1.1 million. Over 200 UberPop drivers have received a fine as well.