In July 2015 the Competition Protection Commission (CPC) fined Uber BV and Rasier Opеrаtions BV for unfair trade practices committed through their provision of the UberX service. The CPC further obliged both companies to cease the unfair practices.

In its decision, the CPC held that both companies offered services with the characteristics of taxi services (ie, provided through motor vehicles, for remuneration and on a route defined by the passenger), via the Uber app. The app connected the passenger with the person who executed the transport service. The CPC compared the services offered by Uber and Rasier Opеrаtions with those provided by other mobile apps, including those offered by conventional taxi companies. On this basis, the CPC concluded that these services were interchangeable because they had the same result: paid transport from point to point. However, under the UberX service, the actual providers of the transport did not need to comply with the requirements of Bulgarian law concerning taxi drivers and their motor vehicles. The CPC thus established that Uber and Rasier Opеrаtions violated good trade practices, since their services failed to comply with the legal requirements for taxi transport. This gave them an unfair advantage over their competitors and unfair economic benefit.

The CPC imposed a fine of Lev50,000 (approximately €25,000) on each company for conducting unfair trade practices, and a further fine of Lev50,000 each for failing to provide information requested during the investigation. Further, the CPC ordered Uber and Rasier Opеrаtions to cease the unfair practices immediately by complying with all of the legal requirements for taxi transport.

In September 2015 the Supreme Administrative Court confirmed the immediate execution of the CPC decision.

For further information on this topic please contact Mariya Papazova at Advokatsko Druzhestvo Andreev Stoyanov & Tsekova in cooperation with Schönherr Rechtsanwälte GmbH by telephone (+359 2 933 1072) or email (m.papazova@schoenherr.bg). The Advokatsko Druzhestvo Andreev Stoyanov & Tsekova website can be accessed at www.schoenherr.eu.

This article was first published by the International Law Office, a premium online legal update service for major companies and law firms worldwide. Register for a free subscription.