Uber - Taxify app misleading advertising

When you open the rideshare apps to book a car they show you cars in your vicinity. But apparently this is only a ‘representation’ of possible drivers available in your area. It bears no resemblance to actual drivers available. How is this not false advertising. When I informed someone about this they were not happy as they booked the car based on what they saw. Is this legal?


Not to sure on the legality but I would hazard a guess as probably yes. I base that on the fact that in the last decade our governments both state and federal have proved more inept than they usually are at things when it comes to being proactive rather than reactive with technological change and disruption. If it’s not illegal already then don’t panic, by the time Uber is running flying cars I’m sure that type of questionable business practice will at least be “up for discussion” in one of the party rooms :slight_smile:.

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Hi @johnb44,

There was an article in Slate a few years ago based on a study from Data & Society that claimed Uber populated their app with ‘phantom cars’ as a way to influence consumer behaviour. Uber has denied this is the case and says that cars are always displayed in real time.

I’m guessing that the Australian Consumer Law would become a factor if the service was unreasonably late and therefore not ‘fit for purpose’. So, if you booked a ride on the basis it said ‘arriving in 3 minutes’ and instead it took 30 minutes, you would likely have a legal basis to claim a refund to my understanding. I’m not speaking as a lawyer though, and I’m not aware of any actual cases to this nature, so take this as general thoughts only.


I agree with @BrendanMays.

The other area of consumer law it could potentially come under is false or misleading claims.

If one believes that there is a service nearby, and one engages the service to save time (and potentially money), surely then this could be a problem as they have given a false and misleading impression. I am not a lawyer, but Uber’s actions/representations don’t sound right.

If yoy believe you have been misled by Uber, there is a link to the ACCC complaints at the bottom of the above link. It may be worth lodging a complaint in such case.