Prosecutors from San Francisco and Los Angeles continue to say that ride-hailing service Uber misleads its riders on the rigor of its background checks. Uber’s Los Angeles-area drivers included people driving under false names and those convicted of sex offenses, kidnapping and murder, the prosecutors said.
The revelations about the drivers come in an amended complaint filed Wednesday, in a suit the district attorneys originally filed against Uber in December over allegedly misleading business practices. Prosecutors settled a similar suit in December against Lyft, an Uber rival, for $250,000.
At the heart of the lawsuit is the language with which Uber describes the rigor of its driver background checks. After hearing from prosecutors, Uber has softened its claims over the past year, downshifting from saying it has “industry-leading” background checks and “safety you can trust” to its current message, which is that “every system of background checks that is available today has its flaws.” Lyft made similar adjustments to its language as part of the settlement agreement.
Prosecutors maintain that the company is overstating how safe it is. They looked at the criminal histories of drivers cited for illegal pickups at the Los Angeles International Airport and found that they included 22 drivers with past felony convictions or misdemeanor drunken driving convictions and three drivers who were using another person’s account to drive — that of a cousin, brother, or the person leasing them the car. Uber says it does not allow people with drunken driving or felony convictions in the past seven years to drive on the platform.
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