German court hands Uber another legal setback

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A regional Frankfurt court found on Thursday that Uber’s business model in Germany, which relies on the use of vehicles from local car hire companies, violated several anti-competiton laws.

The judges said the company was more than just a go-between connecting drivers and customers, and therefore should have a rental car licence of its own.

“From the passenger’s point of view, Uber is providing the service,” Judge Annette Theimer said, pointing out that Uber could pick the drivers and set the prices.

The court also noted that not all drivers returned to their head office in between rides as required by law, and accused Uber of not adequately checking the car rental firms it works with.

The court barred the company from offering rides through car hire firms with immediate effect but the judgement can still be appealed. Uber said its German customers could still use the app as it responded to the ruling.

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