On-point SF ad vandalism (what was Lyft thinking?) pic.twitter.com/SabcKYmTwf— Chad Woodford (@cjam) March 31, 2016
In terms approved by the Superior Court of California, within 60 days, Uber Technologies will pay $10 million to settle a 2014 lawsuit brought against the company by district attorneys in San Francisco and Los Angeles operating in tandem. If Uber fails to comply with the terms of the settlement, the company must pay another $15 million. Uber acknowledged the settlement on its newsroom blog.
The controversy stemmed from Uber's so-called "safe-ride" fee, which, in a proposed settlement from February, the company said it would rename a "booking fee." That original terminology, DA Gascon and others argued, provided customers a “false sense of security.” But as the Chronicle writes, Uber's driver screening process lacks such vetting standards as fingerprinting, which the taxi industry, by contrast, insists upon.
Further, as the SF District Attorney's office wrote in a statement, the settlement pertains to Uber's behavior at airports and its fare calculations:
As a result of the settlement, Uber has agreed to be bound by a permanent injunction prohibiting the company from making misleading statements regarding the safety of its transportation services or the background checks of its drivers. The injunction also requires that Uber cooperate in good faith with the Division of Measurement Standards in certifying its app for commercial use now and in the future. Uber also agrees not to operate at California airports without permission from the airport authority.
The settlement avoids what could have been an embarrassing courtroom fight for Uber, the Chronicle suggest. "We’re glad to put this case behind us and excited to redouble our efforts serving riders and drivers across the state of California,” a company spokesperson told the paper.
Meanwhile, DA Gascon had this to say, per a statement: "The result we achieved today goes well beyond its impact on Uber...It sends a clear message to all businesses, and to startups in particular, that in the quest to quickly obtain market share, laws designed to protect consumers cannot be ignored."
Speaking of "beyond" Uber, in other ride-hailing news, Lyft was denied a proposed settlement in a class-action suit from drivers of more than $12 million when a US District Judge determined that such a figure "does not fall within the range of reasonableness."
Wired explains that the proposed payout would have been to its California Drivers, in the amount of $53 each according to the Chronicle, and would come in exchange that drivers drop claims that they be treated as employees in an ongoing battle. But the judge pointed out that Lyft tried to calculate the settlement, which offers an already tiny sum to compensate for drivers' unreimbursed vehicle expenses, based on a long out-dated number of active drivers.