UBER in Uber Trouble?

David Reddish
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Image source: Steve Rhodes, Flickr.

Freelance ride-org Uber suffered a major legal backlash Wednesday, as an administrative judge slapped the carrier with a $7.3 million fine.  According to the LA Times, Judge Karen V. Clopton chided the company for failure to provide proof of fair ride practices in accordance with a 2013 law.  Uber has said it will appeal the decision.

Uber has already suffered in California this year.  Fights broke out between Uber drivers and taxi drivers at airports like LAX in Los Angeles, resulting in a temporary ban on Uber at the airport.  Even in other countries, Uber has met with hostility from taxi drivers, as singer Courtney Love found her Uber attacked in Paris earlier this month during a taxi strike.

The legal fine dealt to Uber would account for less than 1% of its $5.9 billion venture capital.  A statewide suspension of operation, however, could strike a major blow to the company.  The data Uber failed to provide includes specifics on drivers and passengers.  As the LA Times reports:

Uber’s 2014 report did not include hard numbers on customers who requested cars to accommodate service animals or wheelchairs, nor how often those requests were fulfilled, the judge said. The company also didn’t provide raw numbers on requests for rides tabulated by ZIP Code, and how many of those rides were fulfilled, instead providing “aggregates, averages and percentages,” and a heat map showing which ZIP Codes generally saw the most requests.

Uber also failed to submit complete information on drivers who have been suspended or committed a violation, the judge said. The company did not provide the “cause of the incident reported,” or the amount paid out by any insurance company other than Uber’s.

Uber operates in over 300 cities worldwide.  Based in California, the court ruling could have a major impact on global operations for the company.