Ride-share company Uber cannot force riders to arbitrate phony cancellation fees, a federal judge ruled Monday.
U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg called Uber’s process for notice to consumers of the waiver of their right to sue “deficient.”
The class action was brought in 2016 by Julian Metter, who claimed the company doesn’t tell riders they might face a cancellation fee after they order a ride. Metter says he flagged for a ride through the Uber app on his smart phone and an Uber driver accepted. But when the driver failed to show, Metter contacted him again and the driver said he couldn’t get to Metter’s site and should cancel the ride.
Metter complied but was later charged a $5 cancellation fee by Uber.
After Metter filed a class action against the company, Uber sought to compel arbitration, saying Metter waived his right to sue when he registered his account.
Metter never agreed to Uber’s terms of service and its arbitration agreement, because the alert was blocked by the keypad on Metter’s smart phone, Seeborg said.
“Uber’s assertions… are not sufficient to obviate any dispute of fact as to whether Metter was on notice of Uber’s terms of service and thereby assented to them,” Seeborg wrote. He refused Uber’s demand the case be forced into arbitration.
Case: Metter v. Uber Technologies, No. 16-cv-6652