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Is UBER transport or it service?

On 11th May, Advocate General Szpunar of European Union Court of Justice delivered an opinion in preliminary ruling procedure C-343/15.

In Spain, the issue in proceedings was a service by the name of UberPop, whereby non-professional private drivers transport passengers using their own vehicles.

The questions referred to the EUCJ were whether such platform is be considered to be merely a transport service or must it be considered to be an electronic intermediary service or an information society service; should such service benefit from the principle of freedom to provide services as guaranteed in [EU] legislation and whether the restrictions in the form of making the service subject to an authorisation or a licence, or in the form of an injunction prohibiting provision of the electronic intermediary service, are valid measures. Advocate General found that it seemed to be a composite service not provided at a distance by electronic means. Namely since in Advocate General’s opinion for a service to be classified as an information society service, this main component must be performed by electronic means, however in case of UBER, this is not the case.

Agreed, that there is one difference between the e-shops and platforms and Uber – the latter is fixing the price for the service. However, should this be the condition that makes the service not e-service but classical transport service?

However, these were not so much considered by the Advocate General  and thus, the conclusion was that UBER’s activity must be classified as a ‘service in the field of transport’ and the national legislature may make this subject to numerous requirements.

The EUCJ is to deliver the judgement in the end of this year.