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France fines Uber for illegal ridesharing

Engadget Engadget 10/06/2016 Cherlynn Low
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You may love Uber for enabling your wild drunken weekends, but there's clearly no love lost between the ride-hailing app and the French government. After a slew of suspensions and protests, a French court has slapped Uber with an 800,000 euro fine (about US$900,000), claiming its UberPOP service caused "durable disruption" of the transport sector.

Uber plans to appeal the charges, and said it is "disappointed by this judgment," as it stopped UberPOP service last summer. The "POP" portion of the company's app uses cars owned and driven by non-professional drivers, while UberX and UberBlack employ professionals.

An Uber spokesperson said its service in France will not be affected, and that it currently uses more than 12,000 professional drivers to serve 1.5 million passengers there.

The Paris court has ordered Uber to pay 400,000 euros, suspending the other half of the fine barring further incidents. According to Reuters, Uber's legal officer told the court that the company made a 500,000 euro profit in 2014.

Two Uber executives were also fined between 20,000 and 30,000 Euros each for what the court deemed to be deceptive commercial practices, being accomplices in operating an illegal transportation service, and violating privacy laws.

France isn't alone in its crackdown on Uber. Cities in Australia, Italy and Spain have already declared the UberPOP service illegal. In London and the Philippines, however, Uber has become legal after facing similar fines and suspensions. Uber clearly still has an uphill battle in many other countries, but its success in those two regions suggest that its challenges are ultimately solvable.

Reuters

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