April 22, 2018 / 10:48 PM / 3 months ago

Australia competition regulator flags scrutiny of Uber Eats

SYDNEY, April 23 (Reuters) - The head of Australia’s competition regulator said on Monday it will scrutinise contracts between Uber Technologies Inc and restaurants that use its food delivery app Uber Eats.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported on Sunday several restaurateurs were disgruntled with contract terms they said left them, and not Uber, responsible for late deliveries despite being charged by Uber for the service.

“Certainly, we’ll have a look at it,” Rod Sims, head of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, told ABC radio on Monday when asked about the report.

“We have three bits of the law we can deal with here. One is business to business - are they misleading the people they’re dealing with? Two is: Are they engaged in unconscionable conduct, putting all the conduct together? And thirdly are the terms with which they work unfair? So, there’s a lot to look at there,” he said.

Uber, which is backed by Japan’s SoftBank Group, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Jodie Auster, head of Uber Eats in Australia and New Zealand was quoted in Sunday’s ABC report saying it is reasonable and fair for restaurants to be held responsible if they make errors with orders.

Uber, which is preparing for a potential initial public offering in 2019, lost $4.5 billion last year and is facing fierce competition at home in the United States as well as a regulatory crackdown in Europe where governments have been leery of the company’s impact on the traditional taxi industry. (Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

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