Friday, February 12, 2016

Uber has agreed to pay $28.5 million to settle two lawsuits that say it misled customers about its safety procedures and fees.

About 25 million customers filed the two class-action lawsuits regarding trips made between January 1, 2014 and January 31, 2016.

They attacked Uber for charging a fee of up to $2.30 per trip for what it called industry-leading background checks on potential drivers. But Uber didn't do the kind of fingerprint checks required of taxi drivers.

Under the settlement, Uber also would stop using certain safety-related advertising language and would rename its Safe Ride Fee as a Booking Fee.

A federal judge in San Francisco, where the company is headquartered, must still approve the deal. 

Uber said its technology does provide safety features, such as track trips through GPS and sharing a driver's photo identification and license plate number before the passenger gets into the car. 

'We are glad to put these cases behind us and we will continue to invest in new technology and great customer services so that we can help improve safety in the cities we serve,' Uber said in a statement.

'However no means of transportation can ever be 100 percent safe. Accidents and incidents do happen,' it said. 'That's why it's important to ensure that the language we use to describe safety at Uber is clear and precise.'

Similar lawsuits filed by the district attorneys of San Francisco and Los Angeles are still pending.

Lyft, one of Uber's competitors, agreed in 2014 to pay $250,000 and to stop claiming its background checks were among the best in the industry. 

Governments around the globe are grappling with how to regulate and monitor ride-hailing companies. Taxi and limousine drivers and companies complain that the app makers should be subjected to the same regulations and fees they face around the world.

The ride-booking companies counter that their drivers are private contractors who use their technology to find customers in need of rides.

In France, Uber taxi driver unions have just claimed more than $67 million worth of damages in a lawsuit regarding UberPop, an app launched in Paris in February 2014, which enabled any registered Uber user to act as a driver in their own car. Uber suspended the app in July 2015 

Uber drivers in New York went on strike earlier this month to protest fare cuts after the company cut its rates. They dropped from $2.15 to $1.75 for the standard UberX service and the basic fare went from $3 to $2.

In January last year, Uber announced it would launch a food delivery app in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago Austin, Washington D.C, Houston Dallas, Seattle and Atlanta. UberEATS should be fully available by March, placing Uber in competition with the popular food delivery website Seamless.

Customers attacked Uber for charging a fee of up to $2.30 per trip for industry-leading background checks on potential drivers, even though it didn't conduct the kind of fingerprint checks required of taxi drivers. A federal judge in San Francisco, where the company is headquartered (file picture), must still approve the deal

Source : Daily Mail