Uber just got a nationwide ban in Italy and it has 10 days to leave the country, as a court ruled that Uber engaged in unfair competition practices.
The ride-hailing service has long been criticized over its business practices and has repeatedly faced accusations of harming competition through its business model. A number of anti-Uber protests have taken place in various countries worldwide and the company has often been accused of putting taxis out of business.
Uber Banned In Italy Over Unfair Competition
Italy is now taking steps to solve this matter, as a court in Rome just slapped a nationwide ban on Uber in Italy for contributing to what it deems as "unfair competition" that harmed the local taxi industry.
Consequently, Uber now has 10 days to cease all operations in Italy and stop promoting its services in the country. Should it fail to comply, Uber will face a hefty $10,600 fine for each day that it continues to operate in the country after the 10-day grace period.
Uber has a substantial valuation of $70 billion that might make the fine seem like nothing, but the company has actually been bleeding profits last year and it's also facing a number of scandals right now that put it in a rather sensitive state.
Uber vs. Taxi Industry
As previously mentioned, this is not the first time that Uber faces troubles over its practices. Uber previously faced accusations of unfair competition from taxi associations in the UK, France, and other countries, and the latest ban in Italy might fuel more such actions and protests worldwide.
Uber, for its part, stands its ground and says that it only added convenience with its business and services. In a statement to The Guardian, Uber says it's "shocked" by this nationwide ban in Italy and it plans to appeal the court's decision.
"Thousands of professional, licensed drivers use the Uber app to make money and provide reliable transportation at the push of a button for Italians," says the company.
Nevertheless, until it manages to revert the court's decision - if it does manage to do so with its appeal -Uber will have to pull its Black, SUV, Lux, Uber X, XL, Van, and Select apps from the country and cease all operations in Italy within the next 10 days.
As a reminder, Uber has been at the center of a series of scandals recently, drawing severe criticism in a number of areas ranging from diversity to self-driving car safety, sexist work culture, CEO Travis Kalanick's attitude toward employees, a sketchy tool called "Greyball," and more.
Uber is also tangled in a legal dispute with Google's Waymo autonomous driving business and the fight shows no signs of dying down anytime soon.
The nationwide Uber ban in Italy seems to be just the cherry on top of Uber's recent turmoil. It remains to be seen whether Uber will manage to change anything by appealing the Rome court's decision, but for now it risks paying hefty fines if it keeps dragging its feet in the country.