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Uber Now Blocked All Over Germany 312

Posted by timothy
from the nicht-so-ueber-alles dept.
An anonymous reader writes Following the blocking of Uber in Berlin, DE, the district court of Frankfurt/Main has issued a restraining order for Uber services all over Germany (German original). The district court is alleging "uncompetitive behavior" (Unlauteres Wettbewerbsverhalten) on Uber's part, and has proclaimed that not following the restraining order will result in a fine of €250.000 or imprisonment. This ruling is related to the German "Personenbeförderungsgesetz" and is outlining that no legal entity (person, enterprise) is allowed to transfer passengers without having passed the relevant tests and having the appropriate insurance coverage.
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Uber Now Blocked All Over Germany

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  • Misleading (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @12:44PM (#47808221)

    There is no "ruling", there is a preliminary injunction -- the court hasn't ruled anything. Also, this injunction only affects the "Uber Pop" service, which is only one of the services Uber offers in Germany.

  • Re:Uncompetitive? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @12:55PM (#47808351)

    The drivers carry no taxi medallions, pass no certification or training, do not carry appropriate insurance and Uber has already been found to be engaged in anti-competitive practices by having their users order bogus rides on competing services and canceling them after the driver is en route, increasing the wait time and preventing the drivers from getting fares.

    Fuck Uber, they are slime balls and give the peer economy a bad rap.
    We are all better off without their ilk.

  • Re:Uncompetitive? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @01:01PM (#47808403)

    - no insurance in case of accidents (insurance for person transport costs about 10x what a normal car owner pays for his car alone)
    - no rigorous technical car checks as they are required for cabs
    - no transport obligation (a cab here HAS to transport you, even if you just want to go around the corner)
    - no reliable costs (cabs here cost the same all the time, no matter whether it's an early morning in march or New Year's eve)
    - no proper filing of taxes
    - no right for the drivers to form a workers council, therefore dumping payment is to be expected
    - no health insurance, no social insurance, no pension payments for the drivers ...shall I continue?

    (it might be, that some of these points don't apply to US cabs as well, here they don't)

  • bad translation (Score:5, Informative)

    by silfen (3720385) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @01:05PM (#47808451)

    The term "Unlauteres Wettbewerbsverhalten" does not mean "uncompetitive behavior"; it means "competition that violates good taste" or "competition that violates moral standards". A better translation might be "unfair competition".

    http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/U... [wikipedia.org]

  • by Rhywden (1940872) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @01:19PM (#47808605)

    It's a grey area and the companies you link already have had some problems. However, the companies themselves already link the limits on their sites themselves:

    • No cars with more than 9 seats
    • No profit making - the money you collect may not exceed the costs you incur for gas and car usage (deprecation)
    • No regular routes
    • No drivers who make this kind of driving their job.
  • Re:Uncompetitive? (Score:4, Informative)

    by zAPPzAPP (1207370) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @01:26PM (#47808719)

    This is pretty much what 'unlauterer Wettbewerb' means:
    Fighting competition through illegal means, or gaining unfair advantage by not following the rules of the business.
    And it was decided by a court.

    So there.. exactly what you wanted.

  • by moronoxyd (1000371) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @01:28PM (#47808733)

    So it will be interesting to see how the courts explain how these services are different.

    The decision explicitely mentions the fact that Uber and the drivers are doing it for profit.
    The Mitfahrzentralen work on a no profit basis, and the drivers don't make a profit either and would drive that way anyway.

  • Re:ITT... (Score:4, Informative)

    by rjstanford (69735) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @03:22PM (#47809887) Homepage Journal

    Uber is really two different service providers. There's "Uber Black" that provides usually very nice black car services with professional drivers at 20-40% higher rates than a taxi - I love this personally and use it a ton when I travel. Then there's UberX which tries to do the same with random individuals who own a car for 20-40% lower rates than a taxi. These two services have almost nothing to do with each other, and its the second one that everyone basically has a problem with.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @03:50PM (#47810127)

    The NYC medallions are transferable property, so the fee for the medallion doesn't go to the city, it goes to the seller.

    To be fair (you're responding to my post), in San Francisco the permit sticker (equivalent to NYC medallion) is non-transferable, so you're paying ~$150,000 to the city. But it's not a real source of income to the city, because they city rarely issues new ones, and turn-over is low. Usually what happens is 3 or 4 guys put up the money together, and also some banks will issue business loans to acquire the permit.

    So, again, the whole point of the monopoly is to benefit taxi drivers. It's definitely not a taxation scam by the city or state; not in any way, shape, or form. You can research the history yourself. IIRC it started in either NYC or maybe Chicago, because prior to these schemes everybody with four wheels and an engine would pretend to be a taxi. It didn't provide a stable income, which meant there were serious quality and consistency issues.

    I'm just pointing out the facts in the hopes of pointing out some cognitive dissonance here. I don't personally have any strong opinions wrt Uber. Times have changed, and it would be wrong to simple argue that without these regulations we would necessarily revert to the bad old times. But you can't simply ignore their function, either. And that doesn't even get into the whole insurance issue.

    Uber, Lyft, etc drivers absolutely-fscking-lutely should be properly insured, often times they're not, and that's just plain wrong.

  • by nospam007 (722110) * on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @04:14PM (#47810379)

    "It's not the app. Yes, you can drive people around the city in your car, but once you start charging them to take them somewhere, you are operating a taxi service."

    Not at all. There have been things called 'Mitfahrzentralen' (Travel with somebody) for decades in Germany (complete with apps etc) where you can post your desired road trip and people who drive that way can take them as passengers to share the costs.

    The only difference here is the definition what the real 'costs' are.

When I left you, I was but the pupil. Now, I am the master. - Darth Vader