Monday, July 6, 2009

Legion Taxi Network

Faruque Ahmed
P.O. Box – 349, Alexandria - 2015
Mobile: 041 091 4118

The Chief Executive Officer
Legion Taxi Network
77 Foveaux Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010

Tel: (02) 9211 2300
Fax – (02) 9281 4727

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Subject: Exclusive dealing and third line forcing (s47)

Dear Sir/Madam

Please be aware of the Exclusive dealing and third line forcing (s47) of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission that does prohibit forcing any taxi driver, regardless of whether they are bailee or bailor, to be compelled to accept Cabcharge as a method of payment for any taxi fare.

This is supported by the ruling of the Australian Competition Tribunal (Matter No - 3 of 2005 Australian Competition Tribunal).

Any Cabcharge Australia P/L logo or trademark inserted in or as part of any Taxi Network specific livery e.g. Legion Taxis current door decals placed on their taxi cabs, is construed as anti competitive and monopolistic in its nature and in its intent.

It is irrelevant in considering in any counter claim from any taxi network administration that the livery has been approved by the NSW Ministry of Transport (NSW MOT) or that the requirement for the logo is as part of the taxi networks own requirements in alignment with any taxi network bye laws.

The NSW MOT is a state government instrumentality which has regulatory, compliance and policy divisions. Amongst other matters they advise the NSW Minister of Transport for any current state applicable laws or proposed changes to those laws (and regulations) in relation to the Passenger Transport Act. In addition staff at the NSW MOT propose for consideration by the Minister of Transport any changes to existing legislation including the Taxi cab regulations etc.

Of far more importance comparatively, is Federal level legislation and rulings and decisions. Especially those decisions at the Supreme Court level of Australia.

A Federal government department and Federal law and Courts and matters decided by those courts are superior to any state based government policy or decision.

That includes any state based government department such as the NSW Ministry of Transport. Those Federal level courts and Federal administrative bodies override and take precedence on any state based government department, such as the NSW Ministry of Transport.

In brief the ACCC in the decision handed down by the Supreme Court, mentioned above, far out ways and overrides any NSW state based law, decision or approval.

The mere displaying of a Cabcharge logo inserted into the livery of any given taxi network’s fleet of taxis, via the door decals or elsewhere(which are part of the external taxi cab livery), or any directive by any given taxi network for the compulsory acceptance of Cabcharge cards by the drivers of it’s own taxi network’s taxi fleet, is not sufficient in itself to then use that as the basis for the breaching or even questioning of any taxi driver (bailee or bailor).who declines to accept Cabcharge cards or dockets.

Any “compliance” or “customer service department”, as part of any taxi network, will be seen to be engaging in and supporting anti competitive behaviour should they do so.

The incident of disciplining drivers for this reason will leave open any taxi network to serious charges brought by the ACCC with it’s associated heavy penalties for those taxi networks.

It would be a brave and some might say foolhardy Board of Directors and their Board Chairman that would risk exposing themselves to the legislative wrath of the ACCC and it’s Chairman, Graeme Samuel.

The inevitable fallout by way of bad publicity and share price loss would reflect back on the ongoing standing and security of those taxi network Directors and their Chairman.
And all this merely to promote a separate company, which is Cabcharge, that is consciously misleading and in doing so endangering those individual taxi networks and their executive board members. This is simply to manipulate those taxi networks to further entrench Cabcharge’s own anti competitive and monopolistic fervor and practices.
On the surface it appears the taxi networks benefit but at what cost or potential cost?

The apparent benefit to the taxi networks is the" buying into" and usage of Cabcharge Australia's payment processing and financial settlement system that handles the charging to the account holders card issuer, the amount for the individual fares.Cabcharge also handles the 10% surcharge on those fares and the proportional allocating of that 10% surcharge plus the initial cost of the fare as shown by the metered amount.

However the weaker parties in this arrangement most definitely is the taxi networks themselves, one of which you represent. Those taxi networks in no small part carry the responsibility for adherence to the fair Trading Act but additionally also carry responsibility for adherence to the Transport Act and the Industrial Relations Act.

Cabcharge and it's directors benefit far more from this arrangement than do any individual taxi network Directors and their plate owning or plate controlling, vote carrying, network affiliated members. The latter of these members are usually bailors but often more so nowadays are bailees also.

The decision in Matter No 3 of 2005 clearly comes down against Cabcharge Australia P/L with a flow on and overlapping effect onto taxi networks.

The NSW Taxi Council are beholden to Cabcharge Australia and act against the interest of it's own members. Where have the NSW Taxi Council fully informed you as one of their members, of the complete implications of that decision in Matter No 3 of 2005?
They have not and will not as they want you to be unaware of what it means and legally implies for you by extension.

The NSW Taxi Council are failing in their Duty of Care towards you and other networks and their CEO and Board of Directors are deliberately and consciously under in forming you as one of their members.

We suggest to you, as a registered office holder for Legion taxi network, that you seek advice and feedback from independent sources away from the NSW Taxi Council on this matter as an appropriate, proper, ethical course of action.

As part of that action we advise we are able to better inform you and your Board of Directors of our view of the implications of what is occurring here.

As a driver representative organisation we speak directly to you as one of the few remaining true taxi co operatives, who like us, firstly act in the interests of your members and for what is proper and just for the taxi industry as a whole.

We say, the legal situation that you are entangled with here has enormous implications for you and your fellow directors future.

The ACCC favours no one, nor does it's Chairman Graeme Samuel. Witness the recent pursuit of Richard Pratt.

The NSW Taxi Council is in reality Cabcharge which in turn is Kermode and the NSW Taxi Council are wrongfully, consciously and deliberately under informing you and others, so that they can mislead everyone into thinking it is business as usual, when it clearly is not.

There are sanctions available to you under specific sections of the Fair Trading Act.

Ask yourself this, in all your experience in the taxi industry and in business administration in totality, when have you received such a letter as this?

The truthful answer is never.

And would it not be prudent to follow this through to it's outcome?

We consult, we research and we are connected and active and we urge you and your associates to be all of those also.

Again and again the NSW Taxi Council which is Kermode make decisions that favour them over all others.

As said, there is presently the opportunity for you and your associates to gain the benefit of our hard won experiences and of our thoughts and views on this and on taxi industry related matters. There is a limit to our willingness for discussion and believe you have the wit and intellect to act appropriately, with due consideration and with the required urgency.

I am, and we are contactable via the details provide earlier.

Nothing more than immediate withdrawal of the present Cabcharge logo contained in any livery (as described) by the covering up of same, or the resubmitting of new non Cabcharge containing door decals etc for further approval to the NSW MOT, and then the placement on affected taxis is required.

I now go on to address the current NSW MOT approved stickers appearing inside of Legion Cab Network’s affiliated taxi cabs or any taxi cab Australia wide.

These similarly must be changed to non Cabcharge displaying stickers.

I trust, you will and have advised your compliance section and other relevant departments that there is no need and no basis to question or penalise any drivers of vehicles that are part of your network should it eventuate that they may have declined to accept Cabcharge for any payment for any taxi fare.

I ask for your response.

With thanks

Sincerely yours

Faruque Ahmed