Uber to pay $28.5m to settle claims that it misled customers about safety

Lawyers attacked the car service for charging customers up to $2.30 per trip for ‘industry leading background checks’  

Uber is ready to pay close to $30 million to settle claims that it misled customers about how safe they really are when taking a trip in one of their cars.

Uber customers paid up to $2.30 per trip for so-called “industry leading” background checks on its drivers. However, Uber did not carry out fingerprint checks that are required of taxi drivers, as reported by Associated Press.

As part of the settlement with the court, Uber would also stop using certain safety-related language like “Safe Ride Fee” and term it instead as a “Booking Fee”.

The deal of $28.5 million, still to be approved by the judge, would be paid to about 25 million customers who took an Uber ride from 1 January 2013 and 31 January 2016. These customers would receive an email and have the option to get a refund in the form of rider credit or be refunded straight to their credit card.

A statement from the San Francisco-based company read: “However no means of transportation can ever be 100 percent safe. Accidents and incidents do happen. That’s why it’s important to ensure that the language we use to describe safety at Uber is clear and precise.”

Uber does provide certain safety features: customers can track their journeys with GPS and can share a driver’s photo identification and license plate number before the passenger gets into the car.

“We are glad to put these cases behind us and we will continue to invest in new technology and great customer services so that we can help improve safety in the cities we serve,” the statement read.

The New York Times found that earlier in 2014 Uber had actively lobbed against fingerprint-based checks in a rush to add drivers.

Uber uses Hirease, a private company that promises a driver turnaround of "less than 36 hours".

Car service Lyft settled with prosecutors for $250,000 in 2014 and agreed to stop claiming its background checks were among the best in the industry.

Uber is expanding fast across the world as lawmakers still struggle with how they can control and regulate the car-hailing service.

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