Uber’s payouts greater than its profits


An astonishing timeline tracking Uber lawsuits shows that the taxi-hailing company has been ordered to pay out $161.9 million (R2.3 billion) since 2009.

Uber, which at its latest valuation of $62.5 billion – based on its last capital raising – has paid out many legal settlements around the world since it was founded in 2009.

However, the company remains massively unprofitable, and it is extraordinary that its losses are greater than its revenue.

Its losses totalled $671.4 million in 2014 before expanding to $987.2 million in the first half of 2015.

Uber’s net revenue came in at $663.2 million in the first half of 2015, compared with $495.3 million in the whole of 2014.

The company’s strategy of disrupting traditional taxi businesses, along with various political and legislative hurdles, have forced it to pay out at least $62 million since it launched.

It also faces more than 170 lawsuits in the US alone.


Settlement with driver partners: $100m

Uber agreed this month to some concessions, including allowing the formation of drivers’ associations that are in some ways similar to a union. The proposed settlement for up to $100 million allows Uber to continue to treat its drivers as independent contractors instead of employees.

Class action safety complaint: $28.5m

In two class actions that raised similar safety concerns, Uber agreed to pay $28.5 million in February 2016 to settle the cases.

3 ‘Safe-ride fee’ suit: $25m

Uber agreed to change its marketing language and said it would no longer call itself the “safest ride on the road” or describe its drivers’ background checks as “the gold standard”.

Data failure: $7m

In January 2016, Uber agreed to pay more than $7 million to the California Public Utilities Commission, an agency that regulates transportation companies, which alleged that the company failed to comply with data-reporting requirements.

French court: $1.3m

In January 2016, a French court ordered Uber to pay €1.2 million (R19.42 million) to a rival taxi group in response to a complaint that drivers were violating rules.

Three settlements totalling $113 000

Uber agreed to pay $77 925 in 2015 to the state of Alaska after facing accusations that it misclassified drivers as independent contractors instead of employees.

The company also agreed to pay a $20 000 penalty in New York after the state attorney-general’s investigation into Uber’s privacy practices.

Uber settled an amount of $15 000 with Hephzibah Dollar, a California Uber driver who said she was living out of her car after she filed a complaint in 2015 with the state labour commissioner’s office, alleging that the com­pany owed her money.

Wrongful-death lawsuit: undisclosed amount

In 2015, Uber agreed to pay an undisclosed amount to settle a ­wrongful-death lawsuit filed by the family of Sofia Liu, a six-year-old girl killed in a collision with an Uber driver on New Year’s Eve in 2013.

Sources: The Guardian and Forbes’ websites

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