Now comes the news that Uber Technologies Inc. has reached a settlement in the lawsuit over misleading claims that its background checks for drivers were industry leading. Uber, of course, is the American multinational mobile ride hail company. They are headquartered in San Francisco. So what was this lawsuit thing all about? Apparently, what was at issue was whether Uber misrepresented the level of scrutiny it uses when recruiting drivers.
If you’ve used the service before, you know how it works. If not, it works like this. You sign up for a Uber account online and add your personal information, including a credit card. You then download the Uber app on your smartphone. Then whenever you need a ride, you open the app and Uber uses GPS to find you. You can watch the car’s progress in route on the app. It’s super fast and convenient. The fares are reasonable too. The fare is charged to your credit card on file, so no payment is required at the time of the service, which is quite convenient for people who don’t carry cash.
The only concern I had the first time I used Uber was whether I could trust the driver. These drivers use their own vehicles not a company car. They don’t even have a Uber sign on their cars. Therefore, trust becomes a factor. That’s where the scrutiny by Uber comes in. In 2014, a New York Times article found that Uber was actively lobbying against fingerprint-based background checks. At the time, lawmakers said that in the rush to add drivers to their services, Uber chose speed over quality in background checks.
Uber uses Hirease for their background checks. Hirease has said it had an average turnaround time of “less than 36 hours” for the results of the background checks. The settlement requires Uber to pay 25 million riders across the United States and to reword the language around the fee that the company charges for each ride.