Los Angeles County District Attorney Seal. Courtesy Los Angeles County District Attorney.
Los Angeles County District Attorney Seal. Courtesy Los Angeles County District Attorney.

Los Angeles County’s top prosecutor on Tuesday announced a lawsuit against Uber, alleging the ride-sharing company made false or misleading statements about the quality of background checks it does on its drivers and does not have them get authorization required to work at airports.

District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced the filing of the civil complaint against Uber Technologies Inc. while announcing a settlement with another ride-sharing company, Lyft, that bars it from making misleading comments about its background checks.

The settlement also requires Lyft to get express permission from airports in California to operate on their premises and to submit its Lyft app to the California Department of Agriculture’s Division of Measurement Standards for evaluation of its accuracy.

Lyft — described as the nation’s second-largest transportation network company — also agreed to pay $500,000 in civil penalties.

“Unfortunately, Uber, unlike Lyft, has refused to comply with reasonable regulations as required by California law,” said Lacey, whose office filed the lawsuit in conjunction with the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.

“As a result, Uber continues to put consumers at risk by misleading the public about the background checks of its drivers and its unwillingness to ensure that correct fees are charged, necessitating the filing of this civil action by our offices,” Lacey said.

The district attorney said the civil action was brought “to ensure that consumers are not misled about the shortcomings of the background checks Uber conducts on Uber drivers” and that “consumers are consistently and accurately charged for Uber rides.”

“It’s not our goal to shut them down,” Lacey said, telling reporters that she hopes Uber “will see the light.”

The civil complaint against Uber also alleges that a $4 “airport fee toll” was charged to customers traveling to and from San Francisco International Airport without Uber drivers paying anything to the airport.

In a written statement, Uber spokeswoman Eva Behrend said, “Californians and California lawmakers all agree — Uber is an integral, safe and established part of the transportation ecosystem in the Golden State.”

“Uber has met with the district attorneys to address their concerns regarding airport operations, the uberPool product, background checks and operation of the app,” she said. “We will continue to engage in discussions with the district attorneys.”

City News Service

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