Since its inception, Uber has been no stranger to controversy. The company has challenged local governments and other ride-share competitors. Today, they even come into conflict with their own drivers, to say nothing of the riders who depend on the service to get from point A to point Z and everywhere in between.
Uber May Have Hidden Fees that You Agree To
The latest Uber lawsuit being brought to light has to do with the app’s user agreement. You have no choice but to agree to these terms if you want to use the service, which strikes some consumers as unfair.
A group of Massachusetts Uber riders got upset when they noticed extra fees for certain destinations. When they brought the claim to court, Uber let them in on a dirty little secret: When you agree to the user terms, you’re also signing away your right to sue.
According to a statement from Uber, “Reasonably communicated notice of terms, coupled with an opportunity to review those terms via hyperlink, satisfies the Massachusetts inquiry notice standard.”
Whether or not the rider “bothers to access and read those terms is irrelevant,” the statement read.
Uber isn’t the only company to purposefully use hidden or confusing contract terms. However, more and more ride-share users are finding out that they’re waiving their right to sue before they even get into the car. While the policy does appear to be legal, it sure isn’t making some consumers happy.
Consumers aren’t the only ones sparring with the ride-sharing company, either. Even some drivers are crying foul.
What’s Driving Lawsuits
Uber drivers have filed dozens of lawsuits. In the largest recent class-action suit, a group of drivers claims that Uber corporate misclassifies them as contractors, when they’re really treated as employees.
“Lawyers for California and Massachusetts drivers in the case reached a tentative $100 million settlement earlier this year that would not change drivers’ statuses, but would add certain protections and allow them to solicit tips,” reported Money magazine in late 2016. However, the settlement never went through. A federal judge rejected the deal and the drivers went back to the drawing board.
Meanwhile, many drivers say that the “Upfront Pricing Model” Uber uses to determine fare costs and driver pay is actually skewed.
According to the language of a 2017 lawsuit against the company, “Upon information and belief, Uber has intentionally designed the software that calculates the Upfront Price to use a longer, less efficient route than the route which Uber uses to populate the driver’s Uber App, which charges the rider a higher fare and pays the driver a lower fare, when the two should be the same fare as set forth in the Technology Services Agreement.”
The Rise and Rise of Uber
Uber came bursting onto the market back in 2009. According to their official web page, you can now grab a ride in more than 674 cities in 83 different countries. It seems like this company is on track to achieve their mission statement goal: “To make transportation as reliable as running water everywhere, for everyone.”
The only question is whether drivers and customers will be along for the ride.
Resistance from the Cities
It’s not just riders and drivers who are standing up to Uber. Most cities have put up a fight when the company requests access. The rideshare service is sometimes labeled as an illegal taxi operation, prompting city officials and transportation unions to file cease-and-desist orders. A few cities have even tried to ticket Uber drivers for operating illegally, but government officials typically back down in the end.
When Uber was introduced in Boston in 2012, officials were not happy. They tried to set up a sting operation, successfully ticketing an Uber driver. Ultimately, though, the State of Massachusetts decided the service was legal, nullifying the ticket. The story ended like most conflicts with Uber.
The battles over Uber continue. If you come into conflict with the ride-sharing giant, just remember that they have a tendency to win—and you might have already signed away your right to sue in the first place.