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Contxto – The back-and-forth drama between Uber and the government in Colombia is endless.
This week, a court in Bogotá revoked the order made by the Superintendency for Industry and Commerce (SIC) for the ride-hailing platform to cease its operations. Consequently, Uber can now return to Colombia and run as it used to.
- Related article: Colombia kicks ride-hailing Uber and Picap to the illegal curb
Why it’s a big deal: This long-running spat has been a stain on the clean image the Colombian government has tried to present of being a startup-friendly country.
But here’s the twist: The grounds for which Uber is being allowed to return have nothing to do with whether it’s creating unfair competition.
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Time’s up to condemn Uber
Legal loopholes seem to be Uber’s best friend in its struggle against the SIC (and the hoard of taxi drivers pushing this government agency).
In late February of this year, the ride-hailing platform returned to the country. But it did so under the facade of operating as a “car rental” service. Users would temporarily lease a car that “happened” to come with a driver. It was a real tongue-in-cheek move by the platform.
Although it can ditch this guise because another legal matter played in its favor recently.
The Higher Court of Bogotá determined that the party suing Uber for unfair competition, Cotech (a taxi company), had exceeded the statute of limitations for doing so. According to the court’s ruling, lawsuits for unfair competition must be filed within two years following its occurrence.
So, why is the lawsuit invalid?
For Cotech, Uber’s offence of hogging all its customers began in 2012. However, the lawsuit was filed four years later in 2016. Too little, too late.
With the SIC’s order scrapped, the ride-hailing company is now happily planning its next move.
Will this be the end of it? Not bloody likely.
Uber’s service remains unregulated in the country and you can bet your bottom dollar taxi drivers will come up with something else to throw at it.
But for now, the ride-hailing platform can savor this small victory.
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