The first Uber ride to pay off the bill is over and Uber is closing its $2bn cash-back scheme for the ride-sharing company.
The company said it would be shutting down the Cash Back scheme in 2019 after it received a letter from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on Tuesday.
The ACCC letter was signed by the ACCC chairman, Rod Sims, and asked Uber to stop operating Cash Back.
“In this letter, we have been advised that the ACCCC has written to Uber requesting that the company cease its payment to the Australian Government under the ACCCs program on cash back and that it cease operating the program as a direct result of this letter,” the letter said.
“We will now consider our options.”
Uber will not be able to pay back the full amount it has been due under the scheme.
The letter said the company could make a payment to cover the cost of a $50 rebate or a $20 rebate per dollar spent on Uber-branded goods or services.
“As a result, Uber will be ending the program effective immediately,” the ACCc said.
In a statement, Uber said it was “aware of the ACC’s letter and will be taking steps to comply with the ACCs letter”.
“We are committed to delivering the highest level of customer service and this is why we have chosen to take the decision to close our program,” the statement said.
It said the scheme had helped more than 1.2 million Australians who were eligible for the cash back program to spend more than $6.3 billion, or more than the entire budget of the ABC’s digital news division.
In total, about half of all Australians have signed up for the program, which has seen millions of people receive a rebate.
It was the second time in less than a year that Uber had closed its program, after it closed its Cash back scheme last year.
A spokesperson for the ACC said it had written to the company seeking to stop the scheme, saying the scheme “did not meet the criteria for compliance with Australian law”.
“As the ACC has made clear, we are concerned about the fairness of the program and the extent to which Uber is using it to pay its share of its share,” the spokesperson said.
Uber has not said how it will continue to pay for the rebate, but it has previously said it does not want to put pressure on people who are struggling to pay the bill.
“While we are aware of the letter, as Uber’s financial circumstances have deteriorated over time, we believe that it is appropriate for us to cease payment to Government in 2019,” the company said in a statement last year when it announced it was ending its cash-out program.
“With the ACCS letter in hand, we plan to implement a new program that will help more Australians get back to work, and continue to invest in the Australian economy and deliver services that will make our communities stronger,” the CEO, Travis Kalanick, said in June.