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Uber Now Blocked All Over Germany

timothy posted about a month ago | from the nicht-so-ueber-alles dept.

Transportation 312

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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Anti-competitive behavior is a big deal (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a month ago | (#47808193)

And while it conflicts with ideals I consider higher, proportionality and due process, I can't not be amused at the irony of attempting to corner a market resulting your outright exclusion from it.

Re:Anti-competitive behavior is a big deal (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47808325)

only if you believe that free people can be allowed to exchanged goods and services, and order their affairs as they see fit within the confines of the laws of nature.

but if you DO belive that, then you are obviously a racist.

Re:Anti-competitive behavior is a big deal (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47808489)

Ofcourse free people can do that. there just arent any free people left, if they ever existed.

Re:Anti-competitive behavior is a big deal (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47808367)

In Socialist Germany, market corners YOU!

fact check first (1)

silfen (3720385) | about a month ago | (#47808503)

Even if the term actually meant "anti-competitive behavior", it would be accurate roughly in the sense that the "Ministry of Truth" has to do with truth and the "Ministry of Peace" has to do with peace.

Of course, the term "unlauterer Wettbewerb" doesn't even mean "anti-competitive behavior", it means something like "indecent competition" or "immoral competition". The best translation is probably "unfair competition", although that doesn't quite capture the emotional force of the term in German. Usually, companies accused of this behavior are too competitive, rather than anti-competitive.

But, hey, don't let facts get in the way of your ideology.

Re: fact check first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47809063)

Everything sounds different and more powerful in German. Don't believe me? Simply read the instructions for aspirin use in German, out loud: You can almost hear the cheering crowds, see the standards, the proud eagles, the great flag. And above all, the thundering chant: "sieg heil, sieg heil, sieg heil..."

Re:Anti-competitive behavior is a big deal (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about a month ago | (#47808581)

I fail to see how entering a market is equivalent to trying to corner it. They're not trying to block out other rideshare services. If anything it is others who have the market cornered, and uber is trying to open the door.

Re:Anti-competitive behavior is a big deal (5, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | about a month ago | (#47808649)

Keep in mind they would not be facing these injunctions if they were playing by the same rules as the competition. It is kinda like a street vender skipping on sales tax, of course they can offer lower prices if they do not have to pay taxes, but that is pretty unfair to the stores that are collecting it. Thus unfair trade practices.

Re:Anti-competitive behavior is a big deal (5, Insightful)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about a month ago | (#47808871)

That is at the core of the issue. Either allow all taxi drivers to operate without license or regulation, or require uber drivers to meet those requirements. Anything else would seem unfair to me.

Re:Anti-competitive behavior is a big deal (1)

jythie (914043) | about a month ago | (#47809041)

And that gets to the root of much of this, Uber supporters WANT it to be unfair out of some feeling that the incumbents must be keeping competition out through unfair means (not to say they are not in some areas), thus they are applying the anti-golden rule (do unto others as you suspect they are doing unto you)... or at minimal 'people with new gold should rule'

Anti-competitive behavior is a big deal (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47808633)

Taxis usually have to pay extra for insurance to cover for passenger lawsuits in case of accidents. They also have to pay enormous taxi licenses, pay income taxes Etc.

Uber drivers don't pay any of that because they exist outside of normal regulations. Uber likes to exist in that gray area and we know for sure they love to operate shadily, as seen recently.

It would be funny to see someone get in a car accident with a Uber driver and sue Uber for billions after finding out the driver doesn't have proper insurance. After all, it seems Uber only pays lip service to such things.

Airbnb is in a pretty similar situation.. These service sharing companies think they are smart but they are making the worst enemies of all by attacking government revenue streams! In my opinion, Uber would do well with legit taxi partners since their service is pretty good.

Re:Anti-competitive behavior is a big deal (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a month ago | (#47808753)

Yes, attacking government revenue streams is not exactly anti competative though. But this is the world we live in. This is such a hard thing to explain to the layperson.

Re:Anti-competitive behavior is a big deal (4, Insightful)

crackspackle (759472) | about a month ago | (#47808989)

Yes, attacking government revenue streams is not exactly anti competative though. But this is the world we live in. This is such a hard thing to explain to the layperson.

You realize are real costs involved Uber isn't paying? Taxis are commercial services and part of their fees are used to maintain roads and public facilities they use more heavily than private drivers. They are also required to provide equal access and maintain a certain percentage of handicap accessible vehicles available at all times. They also have to carry the proper insurance because if they skirted the law on this point, the rest of us would end up paying.

And that's about what's happening with Uber and Lyft. We will end up paying the costs they are ignoring. To make matters worse, those costs will be spread out over everyone even those most will never use these services. As it's a semi-elite market, that translate to those who can least afford it will subsidize cheaper rides for those who can and we'll all pay added tax dollars essentially straight into the pockets of Uber's founders. I can't blame Germany for being smart and making them follow the rules.

Re:Anti-competitive behavior is a big deal (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47808997)

I don't know how it works in Germany, but in most major American cities the city runs a franchise operation, or something similar. The fees are miniscule. The point of the franchise is to limit competition so that drivers are paid a decent wage and service is uniform and consistent. It's effectively a tax, but one that for the most part runs straight into the pockets of the drivers and operators

It's funny how young programmers think Uber is so great, and yet they complain about outsourcing and H1-B visas. I guess it's how most things work--the cheaper service is great when it's not your job on the line, but when it's your job on the line there are a million reasons why it's not fair.

Insurance and a 1099 (1)

tepples (727027) | about a month ago | (#47809021)

Insurance and income tax I can understand. It'd be fine if the court allowed Uber to continue operating so long as it requires verifiable proof of insurance and discloses drivers' income to the government as contractor income to be claimed on whatever Germany calls its equivalent of IRS form 1099. But why the "enormous taxi licenses" on top of the income tax that's already due?

walk or ride a bike (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47808209)

fuck uber

Re:walk or ride a bike (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about a month ago | (#47808587)

down with uber! up with buggy whips!

Re:walk or ride a bike (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a month ago | (#47808819)

Tried the new Uber Buggy Whip service. I was picked up by my ride - and by "picked up", I mean harnessed to the front of a carriage and then whipped until I pulled the carriage where I wanted to go.

Cons: The whipping hurt and the carriage was heavy.

Pros: I lost 5 pounds and the bag of oats they strapped to my mouth were tasty.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars. Might use again to help shed those holiday pounds.

Misleading (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#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.

ITT... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47808235)

... Yanks getting angry that US companies have to follow the laws of the countries they operate in.

Re:ITT... (1, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about a month ago | (#47808347)

Well a lot of these countries have rules that are made to prevent US companies from gaining traction there. Sure they hide it in terms of safety or something else the normal electorate can swallow but if you look at the details of the laws it is in essence an FU America law.

Re:ITT... (3, Insightful)

kruach aum (1934852) | about a month ago | (#47808417)

It's more "FU people who think profit uber alles is the right way to do business" laws. That you identify that as uniquely American is pretty telling.

Re:ITT... (0)

halivar (535827) | about a month ago | (#47808447)

No, protectionism is all about "profit uber alles", just not fer them damn ferner's. And Europe in particular is a little chauvinist in this regard.

Re:ITT... (4, Insightful)

moronoxyd (1000371) | about a month ago | (#47808573)

This isn't about protectionism.
This is about countries having laws and expecting everybody to follow them.
Sure, US companies are not used to do that, but that is a problem of the US, not of the other countries.

Germany has laws regulating persons and companies that want to be active in the transport business. These laws where not made to keep US companies out. The laws are a lot older than Uber. They are there to protect consumers and give them a certain amount of safety.
Ubers profits are not more important than everybodies safety.

Re:ITT... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47808739)

No, protectionism is all about "profit uber alles", just not fer them damn ferner's. And Europe in particular is a little chauvinist in this regard.

This is not about protectionism (of a market), but protectionism towards the cutomer, and thus NOT "profit uber alles".

I think, this critique against Uber is unfounded, sincer Uber only provides contacts and NOT transportation services. Perhaps Uber's only mistake is that it doesn't state this clear enough.

But there are laws and regulations for transportation services that are meant to protect the cutomer almost everywhere -- not only in Europe.

Re:ITT... (2)

number17 (952777) | about a month ago | (#47808443)

And Virginia, California, and Colorado [thewire.com] are at the top of the "FU America Law".

I heard that Virginia once tried to break up the US and even went to war with them! How un-American they are.

Re:ITT... (4, Insightful)

moronoxyd (1000371) | about a month ago | (#47808473)

How so?
The rules in question here are questions of insurance, of proper training for drivers, of car maintenance... the same rules that cab drivers and companies in Germany have been following for many years.
How are these rules 'made to prevent US companies from gaining traction'?

Unless of course, having local law that everybody (local companies as well as US companies) have to follow is preventing US companies in your eyes. I mean, sure, they are not used to actually having to follow laws they don't like. It's real mean of European governments and regulators to actually check whether companies follow the law...

Re:ITT... (2)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | about a month ago | (#47808647)

+1 Informative

The hype around Uber and the low prices is based on not paying for proper insurance, permits, qualifications or ensuring the maintenance of the cars. It's unfair competition by undermining businesses by purposely ignoring laws passed by the democratic will of the people.

It's called "anti-competitive dumping" and its purpose is to drive lawful services out of the market.

Re:ITT... (1)

hsmith (818216) | about a month ago | (#47808761)

"Low prices" - what? Uber by all accounts is more expensive than traditional cabs.

Re:ITT... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47808793)

Assuming that protecting the transportation lobbies is a form of peoples democracy is absurd in itself.

Re:ITT... (1)

moronoxyd (1000371) | about a month ago | (#47808925)

These permits, insurances ect. are there to protect the customers of the taxi service.

If a Uber driver causes an accident, what will happen?
His private car insurance will not cover any damages he incurred while driving his car for profit, and it's very unlikely that he has the kind of money to pay damages for injuries out of his pocket.

Re:ITT... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47808483)

>it is in essence an FU America law.

Or... maybe an "Let's no become a corporate state."-law. A "Let's value privacy, data protection, social security, universal healthcare"-law. A "let's make sure, someone can live off their work"-law. And if a business can't find traction because of that, maybe it's a business with shitty practices and I don't weep a tear for it.

Re:ITT... (2)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a month ago | (#47808523)

If you look at the details of this laws you will realize, no one even knew about the unitied states when those laws where crafted.
You just where a backyard country 6000km ( cough cough 4000 miles) away over the atlantic ocean.
Granted, some of our grand parents brothers and sisters emigrated to there ... so we do actually know that that country exists. For you guys europe was long a myth, turning reality in WW I and more so in WW II and now you believe it is your 53rd state of the union. Hint: it is not.

Many people here in europe indeed have a FU america attitude, but that is against your country, your nation, your governement, your corporations (which Uber happens to be one) not against 'you'. Individual americans are very welcome here.

After all they are usually polite, educated and curious. Unlike the average american /. poster who thinks his country is the navel of the world and the world is rotating around that navel.

Re:ITT... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47808817)

I'd be cautious about that. It was the US who spent their resources on guard duty so Europe could focus just on economic growth without having to worry about the bad people. Now that the US can't/won't/can't afford to police while Europe parties, Europe is going to have problems that can't be dealt with in a courtroom or a UN meeting. The Bear is scratching on the eastern door (that "sick man of Europe" seems to not be so ill these days), and Spain is in the sights to be a caliphate state.

Enjoy your prosperity and FU Amerika [sic] attitude while it lasts. The Yanks are likely not in a position to be saving you when the barbarians come, and your leaders are all "peace at any cost" Chamberlains, when you need Churchills at this point in time.

Not to say that the US is perfect, nor that the behavior of businesses is something to be lauded... but Europe and the US are dependent on each other. France saved the US in the 18'th century, the US returned the favor in the 20'th, and it might be that both sides will be having to band together again should the Pacific Rim go hot, or Russia decides it prefers the 1945 treaty over the current one and takes its chunk of Germany back.

Oh, and we Yanks know kilometers and metric units. Would be nice to finally ditch the Imperial system once and for all.

Re:ITT... (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a month ago | (#47808975)

and now you believe it is your 53rd state of the union

I'm curious - what do we believe are the 51st and 52nd States?

As to the Germans not knowing about the USA when those laws were written, at the time you think you're talking about, the USA was a "continent spanning nation, and to us, all the domains of the Hapsburgs are but a small thing"....

Re:ITT... (1)

geogob (569250) | about a month ago | (#47808769)

Yes, its obvioue that laws regulating taxi services in Gemany have been in fact thought out to block business of american companies. And obviously, New York managed admirably to achive the same goal.

Re:ITT... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47808913)

Well a lot of these countries have rules that are made to prevent US companies from gaining traction there. Sure they hide it in terms of safety or something else the normal electorate can swallow but if you look at the details of the laws it is in essence an FU America law.

Utter bullshit.

Re:ITT... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47809071)

Like the USA forbidding (at first) the Concorde from landing in US airports because of noise levels? Somehow they didn't care about the noise levels before dropping their own supersonic program.

Re:ITT... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47809107)

Our country our rules. If you don't like than you can go fuck yourself.

Re:ITT Eurotrolls (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47808393)

US protectionism = obviously a case of luddism and technophobia, it can only be business/government collusion
Elsewhere protectionism = obviously a case of sovereignty, it can only be an enlightened decision

Typical Slashdot

Re:ITT Eurotrolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47808467)

The though that Americans have that they can sets laws inside their own country is a clear case of American exceptionalism. They should just do what Europe tells them to do.

Re:ITT Eurotrolls (1)

jythie (914043) | about a month ago | (#47808691)

but... but.. America! Hell Yeah!

Good. How is uber any different... (0)

Viol8 (599362) | about a month ago | (#47808247)

... from someone hitching a lift on the side of the road and paying for the ride? Taxis should be licensed otherwise you could end up getting in a car with any uninsured nutcase driving some unsafe POS.

Re:Good. How is uber any different... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47808335)

so? caveat emptor

Re:Good. How is uber any different... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47808397)

you talkin' to me?

Re:Good. How is uber any different... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47808427)

The fact that they are ordering a ride thru a service provider from pickup point A to destination B and then paying the service provider and the driver is the small difference to hitching and paying.

Re:Good. How is uber any different... (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a month ago | (#47808525)

Interesting enough, Germany DOES have services for people hitching long distance rides:

http://www.mitfahrzentrale.de/... [mitfahrzentrale.de]

http://www.mitfahrgelegenheit.... [mitfahrgelegenheit.de]

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

"Ve haf vays, of making you valk!"

Re:Good. How is uber any different... (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | about a month ago | (#47808593)

Walk where? Er, valk vere I mean?

Re:Good. How is uber any different... (4, Informative)

Rhywden (1940872) | about a month ago | (#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:Good. How is uber any different... (3, Informative)

moronoxyd (1000371) | about a month ago | (#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:Good. How is uber any different... (2)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a month ago | (#47808915)

Erm, what exactly is to see or interesting to see there?
'Mitfahrgelegenheiten' allow it that a person who is traveling from A to B picks up another person that wants to go to B, and shares the fuel costs.

Uber is a commercial service where one person says it wants to go from A to B and another 'semi private' person agrees 'I have nothing better to do' and I can 'lift him for fuel payment and an extra payment(which I will share with Uber, my employer, cough cough).

And no once for ever, get it finally: we are not in the USA here where you have to call a court for every fart to decide 'oh, what might a court have to say in this, or that?'.

We have fucking written laws where 95% of everything you will ever encounter in your life is already determined and fixed. The situation as you always shout: 'lets see what the court says to x or y, or the GPL' simply does not exist here. In Europe it was never a question if 'the GPL would hold up in court' ... how can you be so brain dead? Sure, if you want to sue your neighbour because he did not cut his tree and a branch is going over into your garden, or if he sues you because you took an apple from that branch ... then you are in 'court law' (as opposite to book law) area ... but most of such disputes already happened hundreds if mot thousands of times. (No, your neighbour is usually not required to cut such a branch, and yes, the apples growing on your side you can pick for your own. However if the branch exceeds certain limits or is simply 'annoying' e.g. over a swimming pool, your neighbour is required to cut it)

Re:Good. How is uber any different... (1)

poity (465672) | about a month ago | (#47808527)

I'm willing to bet that compared to traditional taxi customers, far more Uber customers would have smartphones with GPS in hand, meaning a much higher risk of being caught by police. You would have better odds painting your car, masquerading as a traditional taxi, and picking out old people to rob.

Re:Good. How is uber any different... (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about a month ago | (#47808657)

I don't know the deets about uber in Germany, but in US all drivers have insurance through uber and private insurance. all trips are tracked, uber handles all the metering and charging so there are no games with the meter. All drivers are individually vetted before starting and are reviewed by the passenger after each ride. With too many bad reviews a driver is summarily fired. All in all, it is a very robust and passenger-oriented experience.

most "licensing" schemes are in place to protect the taxi drivers union and get fees for local government. it has nothing to do with passenger safety or comfort.

Re:Good. How is uber any different... (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a month ago | (#47808901)

Well, for one, Uber has about 10 times as much insurance coverage as a taxi--a million dollars, instead of $25,000 to $100,000. Slugging and hitching have Guest PIP at $5000.

Uber also has traceability. Every Uber charter has passenger, driver, and time centrally logged. Passengers can comment on drivers, and drivers can comment on passengers. There's a rating system. A rapist will expose themselves to a hard evidence chain establishing where they were and that they were with the accuser, as well as a rating of "1 Star, Driver raped me, would not ride again".

Uncompetitive? (1)

Bigby (659157) | about a month ago | (#47808253)

Do it for any reason other than being "uncompetitive". What the heck is so "uncompetitive"?

Re:Uncompetitive? (2, Insightful)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about a month ago | (#47808317)

Do it for any reason other than being "uncompetitive". What the heck is so "uncompetitive"?

It takes money from the taxi monopoly and the state doesn't get their cut of fees, taxes and licensing money. Can't have that so it must be uncompetitive.

Re:Uncompetitive? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47808399)

It's more along the lines of outright sabotage. Uber (or some of its more militant supporters) have started using the underhanded tricks that got Taxi firms regulated in the first place. Blocking competitors, vandalism, hoax bookings, that kind of thing.

Re:Uncompetitive? (1)

Entropius (188861) | about a month ago | (#47808545)

Then haul their asses to court for fraud (hoax bookings) and the other real crimes they've committed, if they've committed any. But these problems have nothing to do with Uber's business model.

Re:Uncompetitive? (3, Informative)

zAPPzAPP (1207370) | about a month ago | (#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.

Re:Uncompetitive? (1)

Entropius (188861) | about a month ago | (#47808789)

Well, good -- but this shouldn't extend to banning Uber or services like it.

Re:Uncompetitive? (1)

moronoxyd (1000371) | about a month ago | (#47808979)

If they don't follow the laws that other companies in this business have to follow -- of course it should extend that far.

The fact that Uber explicitly says that they are going to ignore this court decision speaks volumes.

Re: Uncompetitive? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47809065)

Just because you live in a land where companies get away with everything does not mean we want to.

Companies must be held accountable or they abuse the system as uber has displayed time and time again.

Re:Uncompetitive? (2)

gurps_npc (621217) | about a month ago | (#47808319)

It might refer to Uber having their employees book fake rides on other taxi services, then cancelling.

Re:Uncompetitive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47808555)

This should have nothing to do with government regulation. If the taxi company can't come up with a way to deal with this, it's their problem.

Re:Uncompetitive? (3, Insightful)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a month ago | (#47808617)

No, that's fraud, and should be treated as such.

I suppose victims of a DNS should just suck it up?

Re:Uncompetitive? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#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? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#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)

Re:Uncompetitive? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a month ago | (#47808701)

Have you ever had a scientific study of the "rigorous technical car checks"? (We will assume for the sake of argument they are useful in spotting problems.). And make sure the big companies are up to standard and not just bribing the official, who, coincidentally, applies a rigorous standard to tiny and independents, oh, another problen. Get it fixed and I will recheck in a month.

Re:Uncompetitive? (1)

Entropius (188861) | about a month ago | (#47808741)

I live in a large US city (the District of Columbia) with both a conventional regulated taxi service and Uber/Lyft.

Let me look at your points one at a time:

--Insurance: The auto insurance market is developing insurance policies for these sorts of drivers. In any case, I imagine that the average Uber driver is a better driver than I am (it's her job, and just a means of transport for me); when I accept a ride from a driver, I know she might wreck and hurt me. If she does, her personal liability insurance (which she's required by law to carry, like any driver) will cover some of the cost, and my medical insurance will cover the rest.

--Technical inspections: Uber drivers' cars have to be no more than two years old. Technical inspections are required for *all* cars here.

--Reliable costs: Reliable costs mean unreliable service. Once there was an unexpected snowstorm and my mother needed a ride to the airport. There were no city taxicabs anywhere, but we could get her a ride on Uber, albeit for double the cost. Price signals let buyers and sellers communicate supply and demand, and are a good thing.

--Proper filing of taxes: Uber drivers have to report revenue earned from their work to the American tax authorities, just like the fellow selling fruit out of a truck by the side of the road. Nobody wants to shut down fruit stands because they might cheat on their taxes.

--Drivers can indeed form a labor union if they want -- they can get together and collectively bargain with Uber through a representative. They haven't yet, but they could if they wanted.

--Many employees in the US don't get health insurance, Social Security payments, or pensions. As independent contractors, the drivers are responsible for taking care of themselves; many have second jobs that do have these perks, and all of them know that there's no health insurance going in. It's no different than someone who owns a small business: if they want health insurance they can buy it separately, and if they want a pension or social insurance they can save money.

Re:Uncompetitive? (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a month ago | (#47809037)

- no insurance in case of accidents (insurance for person transport costs about 10x what a normal car owner pays for his car alone)

Actually, they have insurance [uber.com] , either commercial insurance held by the driver or a primary $1M liability and $1M uninsured motorist bodily injury policy provided by Uber itself.

- no rigorous technical car checks as they are required for cabs

They're as checked-out as any other car, i.e. the state puts them through a 2 year safety inspection on re-registration. My state doesn't do that; as I drive, I am faced with other drivers whose brakes or steering may spontaneously fail, causing them to veer into my car. The risk of me personally driving is roughly similar to the risk of riding with an un-inspected Uber driver.

- 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)

That's part of business. Maybe the driver decides he wants to reject your request. You get whatever driver accepts for the fee you accept, or you call a chartered cab. Make those decisions on your own; you're free to reject the terms and charter a yellow cab.

- no proper filing of taxes

Seriously? Costs are centrally logged. There is an income audit trail. This is an IRS matter.

- 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?

When you start a small business, you have to cover your own health and life insurance, as well as your own retirement; that money comes out of your income, which is now the income of the business. A start-up is a very personal part of your life, and its income reflects your income on a personal level--even though you can isolate them on a legal level. All of these insurances and benefits you're used to as an employee become your own responsibility.

Uber drivers have a much smaller chance of hitting it big with their Uber business model. That said, they are fully aware that Uber gives them no pension and no health insurance; however, it covers the cost of commercial insurance when they carry passengers, and it's a non-scheduled system where they can become active on a whim. It's a low barrier to entry for a second job or a job between jobs, and the conditions appeal to those who chose to use Uber to facilitate the sale of their services.

Uber isn't abusing its employees; they are providing subcontracted taxi drivers the ability to clock in and clock out at the touch of a button on their phone, anywhere they are, and to select their fare and their passengers at will. They are providing much more workplace freedom with reduction of other workplace benefits; if this model doesn't appeal, you can put in an application to Yellow Cab.

Re:Uncompetitive? (1)

tjansen (2845) | about a month ago | (#47809069)

That's a translation problem. This law allows companies to sue when competitors violate existing laws and regulations. Something like 'unfair competition' would be a better translation.

Good... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47808255)

You want to play in our market? Play by our rules. Don't claim that your 'innovative new paradigm' renders those rules obselete and ignore them.

Where we're going, we don't need rules... (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about a month ago | (#47808949)

I'm not so sure that's right. I'm certainly not equating the two here, but certainly there's a comparison to be made with e.g. Time4Popcorn.

Time4Popcorn effectively aims to play in the market of non-interactive entertainment delivery (films and TV series, mostly), but its developers - and certainly its users - have no interest in wanting to play by the existing rules (i.e. having to license the content at great cost, and only after spending weeks if not months of being unable to license it at all).

I don't think there's a great many people suggesting that it, and other such upsetting technologies, be required to play by the rules. If anything, they see these technologies as being instigators of having those rules changed, if not abandoned altogether.

I see Uber and the like as being in the same vein - and while Germany, London, whatever ends up 'banning' these services, I'm sure they realize that it's not going to stop then and there, and the rules will eventually have to be adjusted.

Uber, like the good citizens they are, ignore it. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47808263)

They don't give a damn about the law, why would they give a damn about a court order. Fucking cowboys.

Re:Uber, like the good citizens they are, ignore i (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about a month ago | (#47808699)

They don't give a damn about the law, why would they give a damn about a court order. Fucking cowboys.

germans love cowboys. seriously, they're totally nuts over all native American/wild west culture stuff. I don't know why.

Re:Uber, like the good citizens they are, ignore i (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47809007)

They don't give a damn about the law, why would they give a damn about a court order. Fucking cowboys.

germans love cowboys. seriously, they're totally nuts over all native American/wild west culture stuff. I don't know why.

And Germans love David Hasselhoff!

Good for Germans... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47808297)

As always Germany confirms its high level of civilization.

Too many zeroes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47808405)

You only need one zero after the decimal point, anything more is superfluous.

Re:Too many zeroes (1)

timmyf2371 (586051) | about a month ago | (#47808497)

On the continent, the thousand separator is typically the full stop instead of the comma, so the actual fine amount would be €250k (and not €250).

Re:Too many zeroes (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about a month ago | (#47808711)

lol good point. I didn't understand what the GP meant.

bad translation (4, Informative)

silfen (3720385) | about a month ago | (#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]

Re:bad translation (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about a month ago | (#47808659)

Though a more accurate translation might be "Hey, where's my cut?"

Going to use this one later! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47808507)

"...no legal entity (person, enterprise) is allowed to transfer passengers without having passed the relevant tests and having the appropriate insurance coverage."

Great! I'm going to use this line to keep from being the designated driver when my mates and I go out on Friday night.

Fuck these stupid morons (2)

salsadancer (1045094) | about a month ago | (#47808533)

Germans have rules and regulations for everything. You can give two strangers a ride when you meet them at a party without problems but as soon as the state's koffers are affected you need the Personenbeförderungsgesetz. You can use illegally obtained evidence to convict tax evaders but the same court prohibits the use of dashcam recordings as evidence (because they violate some privacy law) if you want to take a traffic offender to court. Some logic there.... As Nietzsche said some 150 years ago: The state is the worst of all monsters - it claims to speak for the people - but it only speaks for itself.

Re:Fuck these stupid morons (1)

Rhywden (1940872) | about a month ago | (#47808689)

Riiight. You're forgetting one thing: The insurance companies.

As soon as you have been in an accident while driving for Uber, your insurance company WILL drop your contract AND sue you - because the standard insurance contract is not intended for transportation services.

Re:Fuck these stupid morons (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | about a month ago | (#47809085)

Do they also punish drivers who provide "transportation services" to pizza pies?

This can get expensive for Uber fast (1)

Rhywden (1940872) | about a month ago | (#47808539)

The linked article lacks one important detail: The fine of up to 250,000€ is for each instance of breaking the injunction.

Sure, the first violation may only cost 2,000€. But that will go up for every violation. And you can bet your ass that the competitors will use the apps to check on Uber. And they will report any violation they find.

Uber Unter Ober Amer Gow? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47808591)

Or how does that go?

Control communications (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47808613)

They an many governments are attempting to seize control over communications. Take it back. Even if you have to infiltrate and change within the government.

Do not let them control it, or they control you just like Hitler did.

Drivers license (0)

Stan92057 (737634) | about a month ago | (#47808627)

"no legal entity (person, enterprise) is allowed to transfer passengers without having passed the relevant tests and having the appropriate insurance coverage"

Everyone has passed that, its called a "Drivers license" unless they just hand them out at the age of whatever in Germany. lol Everyone must get insurance so that's a given.

Re:Drivers license (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47808843)

In Germany, if you are driving passengers for money you must have an extra license.
This is not hard to get. Depending on your state, some age/driving experience limitations, police background check, test of local geography knowledge.

In Germany you must have insurance, but that insurance is not required to cover damage to the passengers and "normal" insurance contracts have clauses which renders them moot if you are driving professionally.
Professional drivers must have insurances which cover professional driving and damage to passengers.
This isn't hard to get either, it's just considerably more expensive.

Such requirements apply to everyone which is driving professionally -- even if you are just the family's choffeur. Not just taxis, by the way.

Uber is being banned because they are not willing to ensure the drivers which sign up for Uber Pop meet the legal requirements.
They argue it's the driver's responsability to be legal.
The cities/states argue that since Uber is making money from this, they have responsability for checking.

Re:Drivers license (1)

moronoxyd (1000371) | about a month ago | (#47808857)

'relevant tests', 'approriate insurance'

Sure every driver has that for the purpose of driving oneself or friends and relatives.
But once you want to drive people for profit you have to follow stricter rules, pass more tests and have more insurance.

Cab drivers have to do that, so why shouldn't Uber do the same?

Re:Drivers license (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47808917)

A driver's license is different from a commercial driver's license. In fact, you can't even pull a small trailer with a standard German driver's license. Also, insurance may not cover you if you're carrying passengers for-profit (though it could be difficult for them to find that out).

tests and coverage? (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | about a month ago | (#47808727)

the relevant tests and having the appropriate insurance coverage

While I've never used Uber/Lyft, I'm hoping some of you have and can shed some light on it.

Have any of you actually asked for proof of insurance or a valid registration before getting into the car? Does Uber/Lyft do any checking to make sure that stuff hasn't expired?

One other question: If I'm getting a ride via Uber and we get in an accident, and I get hurt, regardless of who's fault it is, do I go after the Uber driver, Uber company or do I have to file my insurance claims against the other driver? I would hope that Uber would handle this form me so I can deal with a corporation and not two individuals (my driver and the other driver).

Free speech but not trade (0)

troll -1 (956834) | about a month ago | (#47808807)

I find it interesting how everyone emphasizes freedom of speech yet freedom to trade is heavily restricted but is not considered a basic human right. People should be free to trade with whoever they want, when they want, without the need to get permission from some higher authority. Why are we still living under the ecclesiastical guardianship of a hobbesian leviathanical kafkaesque dystopia? Whatever happened to the Enlightenment?

Re:Free speech but not trade (2)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | about a month ago | (#47809049)

I find it interesting how everyone emphasizes freedom of speech yet freedom to trade is heavily restricted but is not considered a basic human right.

Because it's not. Trade exists only where property exists. Property exists only where a state exists -- "ownership" is exactly and only the ability to call on state force to maintain your control of something. Trace any claim of "property" back and you find a state-issued piece of paper, a land or resource deed.

Used properly, property and trade are ways that we help protect basic human rights. They are not rights in themselves. Our neglect of that principle is at the root of many of the world's problems today.

Re:Free speech but not trade (0)

moronoxyd (1000371) | about a month ago | (#47809093)

Do you really would want to do business with AT&T or Microsoft or GM without any laws in place that regulate the contracts?
Trust me: You don't. They have the power of a multi billion company and you have nothing.
They would dictate all the rules and you could agree or die.
And no, the free market wouldn't solve the problem: There would be no smaller competitors, because there would be no law that protects them from the big meanie.

The free market is an ideal that ignores reality.
We need government regulation because we are not on equal standing in regards to the companies we would like (or need, for want of alternatives) do business with.

Re:Free speech but not trade (2)

itzly (3699663) | about a month ago | (#47809097)

And how about the freedom of people having a democratic vote on laws that restrict some freedoms in return for other things they may find important ?

This is good news (1)

xednieht (1117791) | about a month ago | (#47808963)

Now I can tell my nagging wife that she's no longer allowed to ride in das auto with me.

meh, obey the law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47808987)

Uber is big enough to bring their operations into complicance, if the laws are so unfair, they can afford lobbyists too.

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