A Shot Across the Bow of the Shared Economy

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman penned an op-ed for the New York Times that specifically calls out Airbnb and Uber—two companies at the forefront of calls to regulate the emerging sharing economy.
April 24, 2014, 8am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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In a recent op-ed for the New York Times, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman makes his opinion perfectly clear about whether regulation should apply to companies, such as Airbnb and Uber, enabled by mobile and online software:  “Amazingly, many of these companies claim that the fact that their goods and services are provided online somehow makes them immune from regulation.”

He specifically takes the two aforementioned companies to task:

“Airbnb ‘hosts’ rent out apartments every day in violation of this law,” says Schneiderman. “The most straightforward solution would be for Airbnb to simply prevent illegal transactions. But when my office reached out to Airbnb, the company rejected the idea of self-policing out of hand and refused to provide data that would give us a handle on the scope of the problem.” 

Although he acknowledges some efforts by Uber to meet his office halfway, he also states that “Uber may also have run afoul of New York State laws against price gouging, which do serve the public interest. In the last year, in bad weather, Uber charged New Yorkers as much as eight times the company’s base price. We are investigating whether this is prohibited by the same laws under which I’ve sued gas stations that gouged motorists during Hurricane Sandy.”

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Published on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 in New York Times
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