San Francisco and Los Angeles district attorneys filed a consumer protection suit against Uber on Tuesday, the LA Times reports.
The district attorneys allege that Uber has not done enough to protect its passengers.
On Tuesday afternoon, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon announced he and Los Angeles district attorney Jackie Lacey were together filing a lawsuit, which accuses Uber of “making false or misleading statements to consumers and for engaging in a variety of business practices which violate California law,” according to SiliconValley.com.
Gascon said San Francisco settled with Lyft, which said it would verify the accuracy of its fare calculations with the state, for $US500,000, according to SiliconValley.com. Lyft’s Director of Communications, Erin Simpson, provided this statement to Business Insider: “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.”
Though Uber claims to use an “industry-leading” background check, Gascon said the company’s background checks are “completely worthless” because Uber doesn’t fingerprint its drivers, LA Times reports. “The company repeats this misleading statement, giving consumers a false sense of security when deciding whether to get into a stranger’s car,” he added.
In addition, Gascon and Lacey claim that Uber is misleading customers by falsely charging a $US1 “Safe Rides Fee.” The company charges this fee for every UberX fare. “This fee supports the increased costs associated with our continued efforts to ensure the safest platform for Uber riders and drivers. Those include Federal, state and local background checks, regular motor vehicle screenings, driver safety education, current and future development of safety features in the app, and more,” according to a blog post on Uber’s website.
In September, San Francisco and Los Angeles’ district attorneys sent letters to Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar alleging that the companies were engaging in two illegal practices. There was no mention of Sidecar in Tuesday’s announcement.
Uber spokesperson Eva Behrend provided Business Insider with the following statement:
“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.”
Uber’s background checks, which critics say are not stringent enough, became cause for international concern this week. A female Uber passenger in Delhi, India, was allegedly raped and beaten by her Uber driver. The driver, Shiv Kumar Yadav, had been arrested three years ago for another sexual assault. He was later acquitted, but he was still allowed to drive for Uber.