Ride share app firm Uber is facing a class action suit in Australia as car hire operators and taxi drivers have alleged that the firm has defied rules of the country and illegally ran operations in the country which gave it an unfair advantage over other taxi drivers and industry players that worked according to law. The case was filed by Australia based firm Maurice Blackburn on behalf of drivers and car-hire firms at Victorian Supreme Court late last week. According to lawyer Elizabeth O’Shea of Maurice Blackburn, Uber makes declarations of doing things differently which in reality means that it does unlawful business with the help of devious schemes like “Greyball”. This software program prevents local law enforcement officials from monitoring the company’s app which was used across countries like China, South Korea and Australia. Detail about the software was first reported in 2017 by New York Times.
After the report emerged the company declared that the software was meant to protect drivers and then prevented use of Greyball to block local regulators. A company spokesman stated that till date it has not received formal notice of the class action suit though it is aware through local media reports that a case has been filed alleging that it was operating illegally in the country. Uber spokesperson denied these allegations and said that it will vigorously defend itself against false claims. Though the law agency has not disclosed the exact amount it is seeking as damages for its clients, a spokesman stated that it has potential to run into millions of dollars. While making its IPO filing Uber has warned investors about being involved in litigations across several nations where its operations are run which pose a risk to its business as they are expensive and consume plenty of time. According to IBIS World, ride hailing industry in Australia is likely to grow by 14% by 2024.