ACCC takes Uber to court over misleading in-app claims

By Anna Macdonald

April 27, 2022

uber app in hand
The ACCC estimates 2 million Australian were affected by misleading cancellation fee prompts. (Mat Hayward/Adobe)

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has commenced proceedings against ride-sharing app Uber in the Federal Court, with the company admitting it had engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct and made false or misleading representations in its app.

Uber has agreed to pay $26 million in penalties, admitting it had breached Australian Consumer law in its cancellation warning messages. 

The ACCC estimated that 2 million Australian were affected by misleading prompts in the app, which told them they would be charged a cancellation fee when they were still within Uber’s free cancellation period.

Uber has been found to have falsely represented the taxi fare estimates displayed in its app under its ‘Uber Taxi’ section. 

ACCC chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb, who replaced outgoing chair Rod Sims in March 2022, said Uber had misled Australian consumers.

“Consumers rely on apps to provide accurate information,” said Cass Gottlieb, “And 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.”

“Digital platforms like Uber need to take adequate measures to monitor the accuracy of their algorithms and the accuracy of statements they make, which may affect what service consumers choose. This is particularly important as online businesses often carefully design their user interfaces to influence consumer behaviour,” she concluded.

The Federal Court will decide if the orders sought are appropriate. 


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