SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— The district attorneys of San Francisco and Los Angles announced on Tuesday they are suing ride services company Uber and have reached a settlement with Lyft.
The suit accuses the company of misleading consumers and of violating several state laws. Both district attorneys George Gascon in San Francisco and Jackie Lacey in Los Angeles County have filed consumer protection and unlawful business practices against Uber for making false or misleading statements to consumers and for engaging in a variety of businesses practices, according to a statement from the San Francisco D.A.’s office.
“Uber has refused to comply with the straightforwrad California laws that protect consumers from fraud and harm,” read the statement. “These companies can be innovative in the way they deliver services without ignoring the laws that protect the public.”
The complaint filed in San Francisco Superior Court on Tuesday says Uber is in violation, specifically of California Business and Professions Code sections 17200 and 17500.
The district attorney’s allege Uber has mislead and been untruthful in the quality of background checks of its drivers, has charged UberX customers a $1.00 “Safe Rides Fee”, and falsely told those customers that they were paying for an “industry leading” background check process.
Furthermore, it alleges the Uber App to calculate customer fares based upon a measurement of time and distance without obtaining approval of the technology from the California state agency charged with ensuring that the measurement technology is accurate, reliable and does not facilitate fraud.
Uber is accused of unlawfully conducting commercial operations at California airports without obtaining proper authority and that they charged $4.00 “Airport Fee Tolls” to customers using UberX service to San Francisco International Airport.
In the settlement announced with Lyft for violations of the same California Business and Professions Codes, the district attorneys commended Lyft for its willingness to work with law enforcement.
“The settlement with Lyft demonstrates that technical innovation and corporate responsibility are not incompatible,” read the DA’s statement.
Lyft has agreed to a permanent injunction prohibiting misleading statements regarding how far back information on background checks goes and on the comparison of their background check process versus that of taxi drivers in California. Lyft must also obtain authorization from the California airports to operate on their premises.
The company will pay civil penalties in the amount of $500,000, half of that amount could be waived, however, if Lyft complies with all of the terms of the injunction.
Uber Spokesperson Eva Behrend sent the following response after the district attorneys’ announcement
“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.”