The Frankfurt Regional Court today ruled against Uber's business model operating in Germany, in a case which adds to a long list of battles the Silicon Valley firm faces.
The court rules that Uber is not allowed to arrange trips in Germany because the Amsterdam-based company Uber BV does not have a traffic permit for car rental traffic in the country.
Dieter Schlenker, Chairman of the Taxi Deutschland cooperative, which operates the app of the same name, made the following statement: “We are happy that we were right today. Once again it was judicially determined that the same law applies to small and large companies. Uber has no authorization for passenger transportation in Germany. However, the company sets fares and collects the fare.
"The company also placed large-format posters in the cities with the Uber brand, giving passengers the impression of making the trips themselves.
"It is only in the small print, that is, illegible from a view that is usually distant from the poster, that it is pointed out that the trips are not carried out by yourself.
"With these approaches, Uber cannot be a mere intermediary - and the court confirmed this today.
"The judgment benefits all those who can hardly defend themselves against large corporate interests alone: these are the approximately 21,000 small business owners, employees in 700 taxi centers and around 255,000 taxi drivers in Germany.
"They work in good jobs, earn minimum wages and receive social security. The judgment also affects all consumers. Because the Uber Passenger Transportation Act serves consumer protection.
"Today's judgment is itself important for citizens who never drive a taxi: In contrast to large international corporations, the German taxi and rental car market pays over two billion euros in taxes, levies and (social) insurance annually.
"Uber uses the infrastructure without paying taxes itself and is pushing for minimum wages and social security contributions.”
Uber can now appeal to the Higher Regional Court and, if necessary, have the legal position assessed later by the Federal Court of Justice. Uber continues to drive in Germany for the time being.
In London, Uber was banned on 29 November due to significant security risks. The supervisory authority was able to prove 14,000 journeys without insurance protection and has proven that drivers who have been terminated by Uber could continue to operate under a different name and with fake profile pictures by manipulating the app.
The company has filed a lawsuit against the ban, and can continue in London until a decision is reached.
Image credit: Taxipoint