The Consumer Protection Commission (CPC) fines of two companies offering the UberX service in Bulgaria – penalties now upheld by the country’s Supreme Administrative Court – are in violation of EU law and the European Commission has been notified, the companies operating Uber in Bulgaria said.
In a media statement after the Supreme Administrative Court’s decision on September 28, the companies said that they were considering the court’s statement, but said that it was important to emphasise that the court had yet to rule on the substance of their appeal against the CPC decision.
Tens of thousands of people already had used Uber as a safe, relibable and affordable way to travel around the city, according to the Uber companies, who launched their service in Sofia in December 2014.
The benefits of the Uber service recently had been confirmed by a study by Bulgaria’s Active Consumers association, which found Uber to be the better alternative in price “and what is more important, in quality,” the statement said.
A number of antitrust authorities in Europe, including in France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Finland, had called for reform of outdated transport regulations that are not in the interest of consumers, the statement said.
Having more choice is a huge benefit to society as a whole, even if it creates problems for an existing conjuncture of interests. Greater choice always leads to better quality and lower prices of services, the company said.
According to Uber, the decision of the CPC, confirmed by the court yesterday, violates European law, and because of this the company has notified the European Commission.
The CPC interpreted the court’s decision as meaning that Uber services in Bulgaria should be halted. However, media reports on September 29 said that Uber services were still on offer in Sofia, and anyone could order a car using the smartphone application.
Uber’s lawyers also have the right to appeal against the court decision within seven days.
Statements about the suspension of Uber because of the court’s ruling led to the organisation on social network of a protest in defence of the company in Bulgaria, to be held in front of the court building at 18 Alexander Stamboliiski Boulevard at 6.30pm on September 30. The protest is entitled “Supreme Administrative Tips”.