The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (the ACCC) has accepted a court enforceable undertaking under section 87B of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (the Act) from Standard White Cabs Limited, trading as Townsville Taxis (ACN 009 743 962) (Townsville Taxis). The undertaking relates to Townsville Taxis restricting its affiliated drivers from making lawful use of mobile telephones and third-party booking applications, including ‘goCatch’, to accept taxi bookings.
The conduct undertaken by Townsville Taxis involved:
the supply of taxi booking services to affiliated drivers on condition that those drivers would not acquire taxi booking services from a competitor of Townsville Taxis; and
the imposition of restrictions on affiliated drivers’ use of mobile telephones to accept taxi bookings, with the restrictions likely to have a substantial purpose of preventing the supply of taxi booking services via the use of mobile telephones to taxi customers in the Townsville / Thuringowa taxi service district.
The ACCC considers that the conduct described at (1) and (2) above, is likely to contravene sections 47 and 45 of the Act respectively.
To address the ACCC’s concerns, Townsville Taxis provided the ACCC with a court enforceable undertaking which, amongst other things, requires Townsville Taxis to undertake competition and consumer law compliance training.
Townsville Taxis is further required to ensure that a taxi driver, or owner of a licence to operate a taxi, who is affiliated with Townsville Taxis, is free to lawfully use a:
mobile telephone; and/or
third-party booking application,
to receive taxi bookings and will not be disciplined or disadvantaged by doing so.