A judge in California has fined the ride-sharing company US$7.3m for not filing reports that were a condition of its approval to operate in the state
Uber picked up a substantial fare in California on Wednesday when a judge fined the taxi-alternative company $7.3m for refusing to give state regulators information about its business practices, including accident details and how accessible vehicles are to disabled riders.
The fine was part of a ruling by an administrative law judge at the California Public Utilities Commission, the regulatory agency that allowed Uber and its competitors such as Lyft to operate in the state as long as the companies reported aspects of their activities.
The judge agreed with utility commission staff who said Uber had not filed all required reports, specifically about how often it provided disabled-accessible vehicles when requested, places where drivers tended to turn down ride requests and the causes of accidents.
Uber had argued it provided sufficient information to the commission. The judge acknowledged that Uber provided some information but said it was not enough.
In a written statement, Uber spokeswoman Eva Behrend called the ruling and fine “deeply disappointing” and said the company would appeal.
“Uber has already provided substantial amounts of data to the California Public Utilities Commission, information we have provided elsewhere with no complaints,” Behrend wrote, adding that submitting more detailed information could affect the privacy of passengers and drivers.
Uber has previously been in dispute with public officials. In Portland, Oregon, for example, it had an extended disagreement with the city that led it to suspend operations. In France, Uber suspended its low-cost service following an escalating legal dispute and sometimes-violent tensions with traditional French taxi drivers. French authorities had ordered the service — called UberPop — shut down, but Uber refused, pending a legal decision at a top French court.
For many investors this will look bad as Uber has rumored to IPO this year. With many legal issues affecting the company and its structure, the company should show compliance in a markets that it has been operating in.