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Uber has come under scrutiny recently for the company’s practice of not properly vetting driver candidates for its fee for travel business. In December of 2014, primary plaintiffs Bryon McKnight and Matthew Philliben filed a class action lawsuit against Uber challenging the company’s claim that it runs comprehensive background checks on UberX and UberXL drivers. Uber called the background checks “industry leading” because of the service used to analyze driver candidate criminal records at all levels of government. Uber covered the costs of running the background checks by charging passengers a $1 Uber safe rides fee.
According to court documents, the lead plaintiffs claimed the background checks performed by Uber were not as comprehensive as the company claimed. The plaintiffs asserted that Uber drivers only had to present their names, contact information, Social Security number, and driver’s license number via the Uber website. Calling the background checks “woefully inadequate,” the plaintiffs pointed out the background checks did not include a fingerprint analysis or a one-on-one interview between driver candidates and one or more Uber representatives.
Both parties agreed to a class action settlement in February of 2016, but the court declined the initial proposed settlement because of concerns the settlement provided preferential treatment to some class members. The plaintiffs and defendant returned to court in August of 2017 to work out a settlement that sets up a $32.5 million fund for eligible class members. Money also goes to pay for court costs and attorney fees.
What You Need To Know About The Uber “Safe Rides Fee” Class Action Settlement
According to class counsel, eligible class members of the Uber Safe Free Rides class action settlement “include all persons who between Jan. 1, 2013 and Jan. 31, 2016 used the Uber app or website to hail a ride from one of the Uber services that charges an Uber safe rides fee.” Class members have until January 8, 2018 to opt out of the class action settlement or dispute any provision of the agreement. Payments to eligible class members depend on the number of class members who submit valid and timely claim forms. The class action settlement administrator estimates the average potential award will be just over $1 per class member. You must submit the class member identification number that you received with the settlement email notice.
Qualifying class members have until January 8, 2018 to submit a valid claim form. The judge who granted approval of the class action settlement case McKnight, et al. v. Uber Technologies Inc., Case No. 3:14-cv-05615-JST, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has scheduled the final hearing on February 8, 2018. To learn what happened at the final hearing, access the class action settlement website www.RideshareSettlement.com. The website also presents the list of attorneys representing the class and defense counsels.