Uber ordered by Columbia to suspend ride-hailing services for violating competition rules

Uber's crisis continues to grow with the company facing similar ruling in Germany and London in the past one month

Uber's crisis continues to grow, as Columbian authorities have now asked the company to suspend its ride-hailing service in that country on grounds of unfair competition practices. A judged ruled that Uber breached market rules. The order is effective immediately.

The news comes just two days after the company was asked to stop its services by German authorities on similar grounds, and within a month after its request for a renewal of license to operate in London was turned down. Uber and a number of other ride hailing services have been under regulatory scanner for multiple reasons, including the safety and security of its riders.

Another setback for Uber

The logo of Uber is seen on an iPad, during a news conference to announce Uber resumes ride-hailing service, in Taipei, Taiwan April 13, 2017 Tyrone Siu/File Photo/Reuters

Uber has huge presence in Columbia and the ruling to suspend its service surely will be a major setback for the company. The order to suspend its service follows a lawsuit filed by COTECH SA. Uber was told to immediately halt its ride-hailing services by Columbia's industry and commerce authority.

The Superintendency of Industry and Commerce cited "unfair competition" and "significant advantage" over traditional taxi services as reasons behind asking Uber to suspend its ride-hailing services using its app. The services include Ube, Uber X and Uber Van.

Uber has a booming market in Columbia with approximately 88,000 driver partners and boasts an active user base of its app of 2.3 million. Naturally, a halt in its ride-hailing services using its application means a sizeable loss in its profits.

Uber reacts

Much like it has done in London, Uber, rejected the ruling, and immediately filed an appeal. An appeal means, Uber will now have to go through a legal process, which might take months, and even years, for the company to come out of the problem.

Uber said that the ruling was unfair and "infringes on the Inter American Convention on Human Rights". This is not the first time that Uber has been pulled up by the Superintendency of Industry and Commerce. Earlier in August, the company was fined $629,000 for obstructing a government-level visit in Columbia and failing to comply with the rules laid by the Superintendency of Industry and Commerce.

Uber's crisis grows globally

Uber YouTube Grab

Uber has been facing similar problems in many parts of the world. On Thursday, a regional court in Frankfurt banned the ride-hailing service provider to operate in Germany as it found multiple competition violations. A German court said that Uber lacks necessary license to offer its customers in Germany transport services using rental cars.

Only a month ago, the Transport of London declined the ride-hailing service provider's request for a new London license citing reasons of multiple breaches that put riders and their safety at risk.

Uber, which was founded in 2009, started its services in Columbia in 2013. The company has been facing outrage in that country since then, with traditional taxi owners claiming that ride-hailing service companies have been eating into their business. Similar protest have led Uber to withdraw services in many other countries too like Hungary, Bulgaria and Denmark.