Australia Fines Uber For Misleading Users On Cancellation Charges

Uber will pay roughly $19 million in penalties in Australia after the country’s competition regulator found it misled riders by warning of cancellation charges even within a designated fee-free window, reported Reuters. 

During a four-year period through late 2021, the ride-hailing app cautioned more than two million Australian customers seeking to cancel a trip within Uber’s free cancellation period that they might be charged a fee, likely leading riders to rethink their cancellation, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said on Tuesday. Most services including UberX have a five-minute window after a driver has accepted a trip for riders to cancel without facing any charge.

The regulator also found that for roughly two years, Uber’s app displayed inaccurate fare estimates for a now defunct UberTaxi ride option.

“Uber admits it misled Australian users for a number of years, and may have caused some of them to decide not to cancel their ride after receiving the cancellation warning, even though they were entitled to cancel free of charge under Uber’s own policy,” ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said.

The ACCC also said Uber admitted to have falsely represented fare estimates for its Uber Taxi option as its algorithm would almost always inflate the range and the actual fare would be lower than the company’s cheapest estimate.

“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,” Cass-Gottlieb said.

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