Uber Will Have a Rough Ride in 2015

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Uber is a great way to get from point A to point B, but the company may have a rocky road ahead of it in 2015. There are a lot of lawsuits pending against the ridesharing company, and while none of them seem that damaging, it does raise a question: why is Uber so prone to lawsuits?

One of the pending legal struggles against Uber involves its habit of sending incessant text messages to users. Uber has been named in a class action suit filed in U.S. District Court based in San Francisco. The suit argues that Uber has been abusing text-messaging marketing and bombarding people’s phones with unwanted messages. This is illegal ever since a change in FCC polices that interprets a law differently, namely that it:

Restricts telephone solicitations and the use of automated telephone equipment to include text messages sent to a mobile phone, unless the consumer previously gave consent to receive the message or the message is sent for emergency purposes. The ban applies even if consumers have not placed their mobile phone numbers on the national Do-Not-Call list.

Uber isn’t the only company to be on the receiving end of such a lawsuit–CVS, Jiffy Lube, Steve Madden, and Burger King have also been sued for doing the same or a similar thing. This class action lawsuit is asking for over $5 million in total for the text messages, although a judge will have to rule on whether or not to allow the legal proceedings to move forward as a class-action lawsuit.

That’s not the only time that Uber may see the inside of a courtroom this year. There’s currently an ongoing lawsuit about the tipping procedures used by the company. The lawsuit claims that Uber advertises that 20 percent of its fees go to tips for the drivers, but that it’s actually misleading its customers and keeping a substantial amount. This case, which also has the potential to become a class action suit, was originally filed by Caren Ehret of Illinois. She claims that because Uber’s policies are misleading, she, and other customers, ending up overpaying. This case has been stretching on for a while, as there has been some back and forth over whether or not the plaintiff can have access to certain of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s emails. It was just ruled that the plaintiff will be able to see those messages, and the case is continuing to move forward.

A third recent lawsuit against Uber involves the company’s “safe ride” fee that’s charged to its UberX customers. UberX is a ride sourced through Uber that uses the driver’s own car. This lawsuit argues that UberX is misleading its customers about what the “safe ride” fee does. According to Uber’s website, the safe ride fee is used to ensure that the drivers are up to industry standards, that they have the proper training, and that they pass background checks; however, this lawsuit, filed by one California and one Michigan resident, says that Uber’s safety features actually fall below industry standards.

These aren’t the only lawsuits with which Uber will have to contend in the coming months and years, and it’s not just in the courtroom that the company will see trouble. It’s also seen PR backlashes from controversies ranging from charging surge prices during the Sydney hostage crisis in late 2014, to sexual assault allegations in Chicago and New Delhi.

To be honest, I probably won’t stop using Uber, and I have a feeling most of my peers won’t either. It’s cheaper than cabs, and incredibly convenient. It’s a company that truly does have the ability to revolutionize transportation. But in order to get to that point, the truly revolutionary point I mean, it’s going to have to be careful. There are a lot of bumps in the road ahead for Uber–if it can weather them, it’ll be in good shape.

Anneliese Mahoney
Anneliese Mahoney is Managing Editor at Law Street and a Connecticut transplant to Washington D.C. She has a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from the George Washington University, and a passion for law, politics, and social issues. Contact Anneliese at



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