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After drivers revolt, Lyft apologizes and extends $1000 promo

After incurring the wrath of its driver community, Lyft has changed how it’s handling the promised $1,000 bonuses to new drivers. Since the company failed to process some applications in time, it’s extending the paperwork processing deadline until March 13th so people aren’t shut out from their reward.

In case you missed the controversy, here’s what happened. In Lyft’s ongoing war with Uber over driver supply, it offered people a big check if they signed up to drive and did one ride by March 5th. As you’d expect, the company was overwhelmed with applicants. It told drivers that even if they had applied by the deadline, they wouldn’t receive their bonuses if their background checks weren’t processed in time to give a ride.

That wasn’t in drivers’ control, and people rose up in anger. They felt swindled by Lyft, as though the company had hoodwinked them into applying without ever intending to grant all the bonuses. 376 drivers signed a Change.org petition asking Lyft to reverse the decision. A reddit thread claims that a law firm is considering representing a class action suit against Lyft regarding the matter. I’ve reached out to the firm to fact check and will update this if I hear back.

Frankly, I was surprised when Lyft drivers told me about the promo bait-and-switch. Lyft has always been the driver-friendly entity of the two ridesharing behemoths, and people who choose Lyft over Uber say it’s because they’ve had better interactions with the company. This conflict threatened to hurt that brand.

Lyft heard the criticism loud and clear, and co-founder John Zimmer issued a public apology when he extended the promotion deadline. “Lyft learned a lesson this week, and we’re sorry for the frustration it caused the community,” Zimmer said. “Thanks to those who gave us productive feedback on how to improve, and for holding us to a higher standard.”

14 Responses to “After drivers revolt, Lyft apologizes and extends $1000 promo”

  1. Yep I also was scamed by lyft. I’m only driving for Sidecar, it’s the best I can adjust my prices and no BS. Sidecar promo code enter DAVID3998 for new drivers and recive $100.00 bonus after giving first 10 rides, No BS, no time limit.

  2. the other dryver

    Yeah Lyft sucks…..I’ve been trying to get my photos approved, and they’re dragging that out for days because they know that’s just the only thing holding that back…this company is a frigging joke….just give me my 1000.00 and I’ll be happy to stay with Uber…least they put the money where their mouth is…unlike Lyft

  3. Please update everyone on the class action… I had all the requirements done including my mentor ride by 9am Saturday 2/28. The last section of my background check shows that it was complete on 3/4, and I still somehow don’t qualify for the promotion? Let’s take these a-holes down for blatant lies!

  4. The fact that Lyft has scammed us is bad enough. The fact that they are publicly claiming to be “extending the promotion deadline” while privately emailing applicants who did everything they were supposed, saying “You don’t qualify for the extension” is plain disgusting. I really hope there’s a lawsuit.

  5. I signed on with lyft. Should I trust company who lies.when I signed with uber my background took 2 days nothing changed in my background since then,trust can build you or trust can break you

  6. anapabars

    We are 18 drivers ready to class action suit it’s not a surprise they are big time lairs and for shur after March 13 they gonna denied the application. After this all better whit UBER.

  7. Lyft did not extend the promotion. The problem with the promotion is that people’s background checks were being held up.
    I finished my welcome ride on 2/27, a few hours after I signed up for the promo and Lyft did not even send my background check to Sterling (background check company) until 3/4, a five day delay. Sterling told me they take a minimum of 48 hours to run the check so how would mine be done before the 3/5 deadline?!? How would mine be done before the 3/5 extension?!? Guess what, my background check was completed on 3/6 (big shock) and I received an email from Lyft indicating I did not qualify for the promotion.
    Lyft scammed me, stole my information on an unachievable promotion, and blamed it on ignorance. Uber just got a new driver and Lyft lost all their business from me.

  8. Calvin

    The Lyft bait and switch is true still, I just got an email saying I did qualify for the extension dispite having met all Lyft’s requirement. I want in on the law suit they lied and I wasted hours hustling to get quilfied to drive. Washing my car inside and out meeting with the Lyft’s mentor, filling out online forms prompted by Lyft’s lie.

  9. This article is inaccurate/incomplete. Lyft extended the window for *approved* drivers by 1 week. Every applicant Lyft didn’t approve to drive by Thursday at midnight did not have their window extended. I fall in to this group.

    For example, I signed-up Thursday the 26th, and completed my welcome ride on Sat the 28th. I theoretically had until Thursday the 5th to complete my first ride as a driver. But since Lyft didn’t approve me by Thursday night, I’m S.O.L. They did not extend my window by one week.

    I completed everything timely. Had they approved me Thursday night I could have done a welcome ride by midnight, no problem. Extended the time to complete your first ride is not “extending the promo”. It solves nothing. This was a completely dishonest move by Lyft, and I hope the Class-Action moves forward and they have to pay-out.

    • Tamara Lynn Bachofer- Ballard

      It would be unfortunate for LYFT, if we have to pursue a law suit. I hope they do the right thing and pay up. Happy drivers, happy riders and safer community. Rideshare is a win/ win for all involved. Come on ….. LYFY do the right thing and we can all move on …….

  10. The Lyft CEO’s apology was more an attempt to change the conversation and avoid a PR disaster than to actually help drivers. Extending the deadline to take the first ride doesn’t help anyone out because the issue is that they didn’t leave enough time between the start of the promo and the DMV/background check approval deadline since the approval process takes several days. Pinning the delivery of the bonus on an external deadline is what’s egregious and it’s tempting to think also a mighty convenient excuse not to pay out. As a driver, all you could do was fill out your application and take your welcome ride. If you did that all that, the approval process still took so many days and some large majority of us never even got a chance to take our first ride in time. So yeah, I feel pretty cheated.