Uber Faces DA’s in California for False Advertising, Among Other Things
Chris Welsh, Esq.
Los Angeles and San Francisco district attorneys have joined the growing group of cities, states, and countries to take issue with the popular ride-sharing app, Uber.
Uber is a smartphone app that enables riders to find private drivers. Most notably, its generally faster and cheaper than call a cab. Offering such consumer convenience, the app’s popularity boomed and investors leaped. In June, Uber was valued around $17 billion. Today, it’s reached $40 billion…more than any tech start-up in the U.S., including DropBox and Airbnb.
But behind the start-up’s mind-numbing success is a darker story. Uber’s juxtaposition of unbelievable success and international legal woes isn’t all that surprising. It’s a tale as old as time: Uber doesn’t follow the rules.
Uber drivers use their own insurance plans. The overwhelming rumor is that many drivers don’t notify their providers that their proving a ride-service in fear that they’d likely be cancelled. This has taxi drivers from Las Vegas to Rio De Janeiro up in arms–they’re losing business
not only to Uber’s convenience, but a convenience that comes from not having to follow regulations, like having a permit to work.
Another big issue is false marketing, particularly with safety. The California battle is a consumer complaint over misleading advertising and fraudulent charges. District attorneys point out that that Uber repeatedly boasts an industry-leading background process, but doesn’t fingerprint their drivers–thus making the criminal checks ‘completely’ worthless. This, the San Francisco DA says, gives a “false sense of security when deciding whether to get into a stranger’s car.” Adding to the discontent, Uber allegedly fraudulently charged passengers for “safety ride” fees for the background checks and an “airport fee toll” even though drivers weren’t pay the toll.
Uber also markets itself as a jobs provider to entrepreneurs who want to make a formidable income. This promise has come to a head as Uber cut down fares to compete with taxis. Needless to say, drivers aren’t happy with Uber either.
Uber is the latest example of companies that put profit over safety. With $40 billion in its pocket, Uber’s insurance plan (or lack thereof) chooses to let its employees and customers bear the cost of accidents and injuries, while it continues to make record-breaking profits and attract investors.