9 noviembre, 2020 Perú

PPU helps Uber defeat unfair competition claim in Peru

Libre Competencia

Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría (Peru) has helped Uber win a landmark case before Peru’s competition authority INDECOPI, which argued that the company is not defined as a taxi service and does not compete with local taxi companies, allowing the US transport giant to continue its services.

The National Institute for the Defence of Competition and Intellectual Property (INDECOPI) issued the ruling on 26 October, which established that the economic activity performed on Uber’s digital platform “does not qualify as a taxi service.”

The ruling cannot be appealed.

The decision overturns a complaint filed by local consumer protection group Asociación de Consumidores Indignados (ACIP) to INDECOPI  in July 2018, in which it claimed that Uber Peru and its global business competed unfairly with local taxi companies, as the digital platform had not received prior approval from Lima’s regional government to operate in the area.

In the latest ruling, INDECOPI’s chamber for defence of competition passed a resolution which established that Uber’s Peruvian subsidiary is not responsible for the company’s ridesharing operations and acts solely as the marketing arm of its parent group. The ruling also says that Uber did not require the local government’s approval to operate as a taxi company as the authorities define it as a third-party technology platform designed to separately address the demands of drivers and consumers.

INDECOPI also established that Uber needs no further licences to operate in the country as its business falls within a sector that is currently unregulated. However, the ruling adds that Peru’s ministry of transport and communications is the only authority responsible for regulating Uber and similar businesses.

The landmark case sets a precedent for companies with similar economy-sharing business models in Peru. As of 2019, there were some 100,000 drivers working for digital transport apps, such as Uber, Cabify or Lyft.

Uber has won similar cases in other Latin American countries. In June, an appellate court in Bogotá overturned a decision by the Superintendency of Industry and Commerce (SIC), which prohibited the ride-sharing app from operating in Colombia, after finding that SIC had acted unlawfully by imposing restrictions. The court reversed the ban, which was introduced last December, after finding that the company’s operations did not breach the local competition regulation. In 2018, Brazil’s competition authority CADE dismissed a similar case in favour of Uber, according to the Financial Times, while similar cases have been reported in Mexico and Chile.

Local media reports that taxi drivers across several countries in the region, including Argentina and Mexico, have protested against Uber and similar companies, claiming that they unfairly monopolise the ridesharing market.

Counsel to Uber

Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría (Peru)

Partner Guillermo Ferrero and associates Veronica Vergaray and Juan Pulido