The ride-share company known as Uber has turned itself into a multi-million dollar enterprise almost overnight. Not more than five years ago “hailing a cab” had nothing to do with your cell phone. Today app-based ride ordering is an everyday practice all around the world. The San Francisco-based conglomerate at the helm of the ride-share endeavor is Uber Technologies, Inc. and it is no secret that the company has seen a few public relations debacles during its rise to the top. Once again Uber has found itself at the center of unseemly accusations, this time based in the screening process implemented by the company. Unlike past accusations against the company, this time there is a prosecutor in the mix. The district attorneys of both San Francisco and Los Angeles amended their complaint against Uber addressing their original complaints filed last December.
Back in December Uber was campaigning largely on the safety of using their company. They claimed the background checks implemented to screen their drivers were “industry leading.” As it turned out Uber was allegedly conducting background checks based solely on information provided electronically by applicants. False identification was all an applicant would need to get around the system. Fingerprint checks were never conducted. Not only was Uber falsely advertising an “industry leading” background check but it was also charging passengers a fee for every ride to ensure a “safe ride.” Perhaps this would have flown under the radar had it not been for the company’s drivers accused of sexual assault or kidnapping or even attacking a customer with a hammer. In addition Uber attempted to sidestep a long-time rule at San Francisco’s airport; taxis must pay a fee to pick up or drop off. Uber opted to take passengers to the airport without paying a fee or enforcing the fee on its drivers.
Amendments to the original complaint have been filed in light of new evidence regarding specific criminals driving for Uber. The amended complaint alleges that registered sex offenders, identity thieves, burglars, a kidnapper, and a convicted murderer had all passed the company’s “industry leading” screening process. Each of them was driving for Uber prior to being cited for providing illegal rides. It appears that the prosecution’s primary motivation remains truth in advertising regarding the safety of Uber’s customers. According to San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, “I support technological innovation. Innovation, however does not give companies a license to mislead consumers about issues affecting their safety.”
A criminal conviction can result in lost job opportunities, loss of freedom, and time behind bars. A civil conviction for a company like Uber could create a brand new public relations nightmare and cost the company millions in fines. Once the trial is said and done the only remaining hope is an appeal. The appeals process presents one final shot at securing freedom or clearing your name. If you have questions about how to file an appeal contact the attorneys at Brownstone Law.
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