Uber's week from hell

Los Angeles and San Francisco sue Uber, settle with Lyft

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Uber’s week from hell continued Tuesday, as the offices of the Los Angeles and San Francisco district attorneys filed lawsuits suing the company for unlawful business practices. The entities settled with Lyft for similar grievances.

There’s no news on where Sidecar stands with the DA offices, despite the fact that Sidecar was also threatened with legal action from the city governments back in September.

The DAs news release, as tweeted by New York Times’ Mike Isaac, says that the two offices are filing a civil consumer protection action lawsuit against Uber “for making false or misleading statements to consumers and for engaging in a variety of business practices which violate California law.” The DAs want multiple product and marketing changes from Uber related to how it describes its background checks, charges consumers, and tracks mileage, according to the filing, which was obtained by Re/Code.

Here are the DAs’ major grievances:

  1. Uber misleads customers about its safety procedures, especially in regards to background checks and the “Safe Rides” fee it charges consumers.
  2. Uber hasn’t submitted its mileage tracking technology for review, so the government can ensure it’s not ripping off passengers.
  3. Uber drops off and picks up passengers at the airport without airport approval. Further more, the fee it charges consumers to do so is “misleading.”

The DAs reportedly want Uber to pay restitution to customers for its $1 “Safe Rides” fee, which covers the cost of Uber’s background checks. Since Uber’s background checks aren’t as rigorous as the ones taxis are required to do, the city governments believe the Safe Rides charge misleads customers.

The DAs also want the ridesharing companies to submit their mileage to state government to ensure accurate tracking.

Lyft was amenable to the DAs’ requests, which is why it settled for $500,000, according to Forbes reporter Ellen Huet. In a statement, Lyft spokeswoman Erin Simpson said, “After months of productive conversations, Lyft has entered into an agreement with District Attorneys of San Francisco and Los Angeles that demonstrates our shared commitment to consumers and innovation.”

Uber, it appears, was not. When reached for comment, Uber spokeswoman Eva Behrand said:

Californians and California lawmakers all agree–Uber is an integral, safe, and established part of the transportation ecosystem in the Golden State. Uber has met with the District Attorneys to address their concerns regarding airport operations, the uberPOOL product, background checks, and operation of the app. We will continue to engage in discussions with the District Attorneys.

The SF and LA DA offices have been considering such action for months now after raising concerns about ridesharing companies’ background check practices. The two institutions threatened Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar in September with legal action if they didn’t change the way they described their background checks to the public. Since transportation networking companies aren’t held to the same rigorous background check standards as cab companies in California, they miss some drivers’ criminal records.

This post was updated several times Tuesday afternoon as more information became available.

6 Responses to “Los Angeles and San Francisco sue Uber, settle with Lyft”

  1. Watch out for, Business Outsider because if you click thumbs up for anything anyone says against Uber they will delete your thumbs up . Thereby making everyone think everyone is pro Uber but it all being done in the name of deception and Uber is best at deceiving the public & lying .

  2. philip lee

    the whole world know knew about uber ,lyft and side car service are scam and fraud ,that why they make money so quick (that is the new way of the slavery work force and the driver dont want to know that bad )that is the scam from the begining .just tell me what is the real legal of these kind of services ,they are cheating consumers ,drivers and whole world like 1$ for safety incase of accident will be cover ,aiport surcharge ect,but so far when the driver get involve an accident ,rapes,assaults(likethe bartender eat the hammer from the driver) and when the customer call uber ,do you know what they are said ? we are just the apps services which mean they dont want to take any response for any things was happened ,that is wrong brothers ,it is the relation betwin you gua and customer exist ,let say if the customer not booked you for aride they will not ever get rape and other thing happen to them like what was happened to them ,we all know you guy tried to foolsh customer as a cheap ride as an half of taxi fares but when the peak time you guy jack the prices up like the robbery as the ways use to be peoples have be deserve as your services !

    • Jay Nichols

      This is incoherent nonsense. Uber is transparent in their charging practices and way cheaper than taxis most of the time. And for most of us in SF, Uber is a way to actually get a taxi. I live 300 feet from Mission St. and I can’t get a taxi on Thursday, Friday or Saturday after 4 pm. If they come at all, it takes 45 minutes. Not to mention cabs in this city will rip you off every chance they can get, provided they are willing to take you somewhere that’s not the financial district.

      Taxis had a chance to treat their customers with respect. They continue to abuse that trust. They have lost. Time for them to die like every other industry that fails to adapt.