Taxis Sue Uber for False Advertising

Add to the laundry list of complaints over the ride-sharing app: false advertising.

Uber headquarters in San Francsisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

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Taxi drivers have found yet another reason to take issue with ride-sharing app Uber. Nineteen San Francisco taxi medallion companies are suing the ride-sharing app for allegedly misleading customers about safety and the vetting process of UberX drivers.

“They are trying to undermine the taxi industry by false representations about their safety and false comparisons between their safety record and that of the taxi industry,” said Bill Rouse, general manager of plaintiff Yellow Cab of Los Angeles, to the San Francisco Gate. Whereas taxi services utilize fingerprint background checks, which accounts for the applicants’ entire adult life, the apps’ Social Security background check process goes back only seven years.

The taxi medallion companies suing Uber believe this discrepancy suggests false advertising on the part of Uber, not living up to the safety measures guaranteed to its customers and therefore violating the 1946 Lanham Act.

“Every ridesharing and livery driver is thoroughly screened through a rigorous process we’ve developed using constantly improving standards,” reads the safety policy on Uber’s website. “This includes a three-step criminal background screening for the U.S. — with county, federal and multi-state checks that go back as far as the law allows — and ongoing reviews of drivers’ motor vehicle records throughout their time on Uber.”

This is not the only Uber case making legal news this month. Along with rival ride-sharing app Lyft, the two companies are tied in a legal battle with its drivers who wish to be considered employees, rather than contractors, and therefore be eligible for healthcare and other benefits.

Despite resistance from both rival businesses and employees alike, Uber is growing at a rapid pace, recently getting a $1 billion boost in its latest round of funding.

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Marielle Mondon is an editor and freelance journalist in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in Philadelphia City Paper, Wild Magazine, and PolicyMic. She previously reported on communities in Northern Manhattan while earning an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University.

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Tags: san franciscoubertaxis

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