Market Mad House

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

Market Insanity

Uber Looses Lawsuit and Norway Battle may lose Tens of Millions in UK

Uber has suffered significant legal setbacks in three different countries. It looks as if the ridesharing app provider is now in full retreat on the legal front.

Uber Technologies may pay $20 million to make a pesky class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court go away, The Chicago Tribune reported. The suit was filed by Cook County, Illinois, resident Maria Vergara who alleged that Uber sent her at least eight unsolicited text messages.

This apparently violated a law called the Telephone Protection Act that bans unsolicited automated text messages. The suit charged that Uber sent the “wireless spam” to at least six people that are named in the suit.

A settlement in this matter would prevent an embarrassing court case that would air more of Uber’s dirty laundry in federal court. The trial date had been set for January 23, 2017, in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

Insurance Requirement might cost Uber Tens of Millions in UK

Uber would have to pay Her Majesty’s government tens of millions of pounds if its drivers were declared employees in the United Kingdom, Reuters reported.

Ridesharing firms might have to pay one pound (around $1.32) in National Insurance for every hour worked by a driver if they were made employees, Dan Warne, told a Parliamentary committee on 10 October. National Insurance is Britain’s answer to Social Security; which pays for the National Health, pensions and other benefits. Warne is the UK and Ireland Managing director for the delivery service Deliveroo.

Strangely enough, Uber’s UK Head of Policy Andrew Byrne did not know how much his company would have to pay in National Insurance. Gig economy companies like Uber and Deliveroo are currently exempt from National Insurance in the UK which has made them unpopular there.

Uber; which was effectively thrown out of London last month, is fighting for its’ life in the United Kingdom. To stay there it might have to back down and pay the National Insurance, particularly with Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn on a path to 10 Downing Street.

UberPop Shuts down in Norway

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will shut down the UberPop low-cost ride service in Norway on October 30.

The service is shutting down because its legal status is unclear in Norway, TechCrunch reported. That means Uber Black and UberXXL will keep operating in the Scandinavian, but Pop is dead there.

That move allows Uber to stay in the market and avoids a costly battle with regulators. Expect to see similar moves in many countries and possibly for UberPop to simply disappear.

It looks as if Khosrowshahi is moving to settle Uber’s legal troubles. It remains to be seen what else he will give up in order to keep the company legal.