Uber has won a case against the New South Wales Taxi Council, after the advertising watchdog ruled the council advertised inaccurate information about the ridesharing company’s services.
The taxi council ran a series of radio-style advertisements on its website, each of which stated, “smartphone ridesharing services aren’t as smart as you think”.
The ads claimed ridesharing services did not have complete insurance cover, and riders would have to cover the bills in the event of an accident.
The council also claimed ridesharing services did not complete driver checks, and cars used are “completely untraceable” if smartphones are switched off.
The case began in December 2015, and only recently come to conclusion.
Uber has rebuked the taxi council’s statements from the start, arguing all the claims made by industry group were false.
“All new uberX rideshare driver partners in NSW must undergo a criminal history police check and it is Uber’s policy that it will suspend a driver partner upon becoming aware that the driver partner has been charged or convicted of a serious criminal offence,” Uber told the Advertising Claims Board.
Uber also informed the advertising watchdog that all Uber vehicles require mandatory third party insurance.
The advertising watchdog ruled the ads breached sections 1.2 and 1.3 of the Advertising Code of Ethics.
Claims made in the ads were “unqualified representations” and “likely to cause damage to a competitor”, the Advertising Claims Board ruled.
In response, the taxi council said the links to the ads no longer appear on its website.
While the ads in question were removed, many statements regarding the risk of ridesharing services still exist on the taxi council’s website.
An Uber spokeperson told SmartCompany the ridesharing company is pleased with the ruling.
“We are very pleased that the Advertising Standard Board found that the Taxi Council of New South Wales’s advertisements were misleading,” the spokesperson said.
“The Taxi Councils around Australia have attempted to fill the public debate with misinformation and time after time they have found to be wrong.”
Uber is still technically illegal in many states in Australia, however the service continues to operate in jurisdictions while negotiations continue.
Uber has more than eight million users worldwide.
A spokesperson for the Taxi Council of New South Wales told SmartCompany in a statement it is “carefully considering” the advertising watchdog’s decision.
“The NSW Taxi Council has at all times remained focused on the safety of users of point-to-point transportation,” the spokesperson said.
“The advertisements which forced part of the campaign were framed with this in mind and did not mention or reference Uber at any point.”
*This article was updated at 12.15pm to include a response from the Taxi Council of NSW
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