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Uber jumps through legal loophole back into Colombia

Don't worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too!

Contxto – Modern capitalism turns startups into gnarled old trees. Under ideal circumstances they would grow straightforwardly, right towards the sun. But, as Uber’s operation in Colombia can attest to; business is, more often than not, less than ideal. 

Simply competing with each other, startups bend over backwards to attract capital and customers. And then come the government regulators and they get really bent out of whack. 

Thus, the mighty tree that is Uber is going out of its way to contort its way back into the Colombian market. And it seems they’ve managed. For now.

It is actually kind of hilarious since the fact that the US-based ride-hailing giant is back in Colombia is due to a funny legal loophole. Basically, according to Uber’s own recent release, the system now involves you renting a car that happens to have a driver.

It’s just an extra click away, since you now have to “sign” a contract of lease every time you hail a ride.

Without a hint of irony, the release also boasts that “also, you will be able to personalize the conditions of your rental experience, such as choosing your own route or listening to the music of your choice.”

So, basically… an Uber ride. 

The Uber in Colombia saga so far…

The twists and turns of the convoluted plot that is the Uber v. Colombian government battle royale never cease to amaze.

First, the Colombian Superintendency for Industry and Commerce said that Uber was using unfair competition practices and so banned the app.

Related article: Colombia kicks ride-hailing Uber and Picap to the illegal curb

Uber countered with an appeal in the courts which the Superintendency blocked with sneaky technicalities and awkward legal timetables.

Related article: Uber strikes back. Colombia’s ban of the ride-hailing app to be appealed

The app then appealed to the masses and the US Department of Commerce for help, but was forced to leave on the last day of January.

Related article: Uber is out of Colombia! Some fun facts and serious consequences

And now, with a masterful backhand, the app is back!

uber jumps through legal loophole back into colombia

The question is, who will have the last laugh? 

Uber insists that their use of this loophole is strictly temporary, while they settle their affairs in court—so “temporary” but in for the long haul.

Who knows what the Colombian Superintendency has up its sleeve. Will is catch up to Uber’s crafty legal gymnastics and pull off that “car rental” mask the ride-hailing app is donning?

Find out, in the inevitable next chapter of this ongoing saga!

uber jumps through legal loophole back into colombia

-AG

Alejandro González Ormerod
Historian, writer, and editor from Mexico City. He was a book publisher, academic, and cheesemonger before joining Contxto. Still deciding on which Latin American country to visit next; food and fun are the main criteria.

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