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Uber settles $25M lawsuit over driver safety

Ridesharing company Uber has agreed to pay $25 million to settle a lawsuit by Los Angeles and San Francisco alleging the company misled customers about its safety. The settlement sends a message that laws designed to protect consumers cannot be ignored. The suit was brought by San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón and Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey. San Francisco-based Uber will cease claiming that its background checks are the toughest in the industry and will no longer use phrases such as “safest ride on the road” or describe its background checks as “the gold standard,” the company said in a statement.

“We are pleased that Uber has agreed to comply with state consumer laws,” said Lacey. “With this settlement, the ride sharing company has pledged to communicate honestly about its driver background checks and airport fees, important steps to protecting the residents of California.” Uber will pay $10 million within 60 days shared between the two cities. The remaining $15 million penalty can be waived in two years if Uber complies with all of the terms of the settlement.

The suit was originally filed in 2014. According to the district attorneys, it also contributed to Uber’s agreement to pay restitution to victims of unfair business practices in several private class action settlements. The civil complaint also contended that Uber drivers work at airports without obtaining authorization, and in the case of San Francisco, charged a $4 extra fee to passengers traveling there, without paying anything to the airport. “We’re glad to put this case behind us and excited to redouble our efforts serving riders and drivers across the state of California,” an Uber spokesperson said in a statement. The lawsuit first arose when Gascón’s office discovered 25 instances of Uber drivers with serious criminal backgrounds.

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