Uber settles California lawsuit over driver checks for $10 million

  • AFP, San Francisco
  • Updated: Apr 08, 2016 10:45 IST
Uber said it will pay at least $10 million to settle a case in which California prosecutors alleged it misled passengers over the quality of its driver background checks. (Reuters File Photo)

Ride-sharing service Uber on Thursday said it agreed to pay $10 million to settle a California lawsuit accusing it of misleading the public about the thoroughness of its driver background checks.

The lawsuit, which was filed jointly by district attorneys in San Francisco and Los Angeles, accused Uber of using misleading advertising to make the background checks sound better than they were and of picking up passengers at airports without proper authorisation.

“Uber has agreed to pay $10 million as part of this settlement, as well as to address a number of advertising and airport-related issues -- many of which we have already dealt with,” Uber said on its blog.

The company admitted no wrongdoing but said that it agreed not to use terms such as “safest ride on the road” or describe its driver background checks as “the gold standard”.

“Accidents and incidents do happen,” Uber said.

“That’s why we need to ensure that the language used to describe safety at Uber is clear and precise.”

In the settlement, San Francisco-based Uber agreed to provide its ride-sharing services only at California airports where it has explicit permission to operate and to clearly describe airport fees to passengers.

“We are pleased that Uber has agreed to comply with state consumer laws,” said Los Angeles County district attorney Jackie Lacey.

“With this settlement, the ride-sharing company has pledged to communicate honestly about its driver background checks and airport fees.”

Under the settlement, Los Angeles and San Francisco will split the payment evenly. The agreement also called for Uber to pay an additional $15 million if it does not comply with all terms of the deal within two years.

In addition, Uber said that it will continue to work with California’s Division of Measurement Standards to make sure its app accurately calculates fares using GPS data.

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