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I wish to create an app which will order taxis from all available cab companies in the area and will cancel the other orders when at least one of the taxis is en route.

At the moment I am doing this by taking the users information, creating them an account, and sending web requests on their behalf to the cab companies endpoints with the user's permission, but without the cab companies (they do not have APIs - meaning they have not intentionally opened their site to allow requests from anything other than the web app they have designed).

I understand they may not be happy, but legally under UK law is there anything I need to worry about when doing this (expect from being liable from any incorrectly ordered cabs - but I would set up a limited liability company if I was ever to release to the public).

  • I myself would not risk the wrath of London cabbies. If what you're doing has to sneak around, risk wrath and is unethical on its face, then it's a good bet it is illegal, too, – BlueDogRanch Dec 9 '16 at 22:02
  • I wouldn't say it's unethical because it benefits both the user of the cab and the cabbies as they are not paid to travel to clients. It simply ensures the closest cabs are sent when someone is ordering a cab. I do not think it is illegal either as nothing in their terms seems relevant. But you are very right about the 'wrath', I'm sure the cab companies will do everything within their power to block it legally. – Ed Byrne Dec 10 '16 at 12:25
  • It's unethical because you are ordering taxis in bad faith, knowing that you will cancel all but one. Not bad faith would be ordering one taxi yourself and then cancelling; ordering multiple taxis with the expressed motive of canceling is bad faith. It's worse if the taxis are not paid for their travel. It does benefit the customer, but at the expense of many different cabs. What would happen if you were ordering takeout food and when the first order arrived at the customers house, you canceled all other orders? – BlueDogRanch Dec 10 '16 at 17:41
  • The other taxis are cancelled once one of the taxis has been accepted i.e. on its way, (not once it has arrived) the job exists in a pending state and so the cancelled taxis will not have had a driver dispatched to the job. – Ed Byrne Dec 10 '16 at 18:02
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You are flawed in thinking that they have "intentionally opened their site": those web apps will almost certainly have terms of use.

Are you complying with the terms of use of each of the cab company's web site?

If not, and it's probably not, then you do not have permission to do what you are doing and if the cab company suffers loss, they can sue you.

  • I did not say they have intentionally opened their site, I said they had not intentionally opened their site. With regards to terms of use it does not say anything about modification or anything really about usage of their site, it is very basic and only states they cannot be held liable if they cannot fullfil an order. – Ed Byrne Dec 10 '16 at 12:21
  • Violating "terms of use" in itself is not illegal (lifehacker.com/5901773/…, eff.org/deeplinks/2010/07/…) – Gajus Feb 8 '17 at 15:33
  • @Gajus actually it is illegal - it's just not criminal – Dale M Feb 8 '17 at 19:12

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