S.F., L.A. Sue Uber ‘To Protect Consumers’; Lyft Settles Charges
by Carolyn Said, San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco and Los Angeles district attorneys filed a consumer protection lawsuit against on-demand ride service Uber on Tuesday, saying it misleads customers about driver background checks and violates state laws about airport rides and calculating fares.
Rival service Lyft settled similar allegations and agreed to pay up to $500,000 in civil fines.
“Uber refused to comply with straightforward Caifornia laws to protect consumers from harm,” San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón said at a news conference. “Companies can be innovative without harming consumers.”
Gascón and his Los Angeles counterpart Jackie Lacey filed a case in San Francisco Superior Court seeking a permanent injunction to stop Uber’s alleged violations, as well as civil penalties and restitution for consumers.
Uber spokeswoman Eva Behrend had a different take.
“Californians and California lawmakers all agree — Uber is an integral, safe, and established part of the transportation ecosystem in the Golden State,” she said in a statement. Uber will continue to meet with the district attorneys to address their concerns, she said.
Available in 250 cities worldwide, privately held Uber last week raised $1.2 billion in funding, giving it a valuation of $40 billion — more than CBS, American Airlines or Kraft Foods. But the San Francisco company continues to anger regulators. In the past week, Uber was banned in India, Spain and Thailand and threatened with a ban in Portland, Ore.