Uber Agrees To Its Largest Ever Settlement Yet. Find Out How Much You Get Paid.

File illustration picture showing the logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone next to the picture of an official German taxi sign in Frankfurt, September 15, 2014. A Frankfurt court earlier this month instituted a temporary injunction against Uber from offering car-sharing services across Germany. San Francisco-based Uber, which allows users to summon taxi-like services on their smartphones, offers two main services, Uber, its classic low-cost, limousine pick-up service, and Uberpop, a newer ride-sharing service, which connects private drivers to passengers - an established practice in Germany that nonetheless operates in a legal grey area of rules governing commercial transportation. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/Files (GERMANY - Tags: BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT CRIME LAW TRANSPORT)

Uber’s continuous legal battles around the world have become stale news now, and if recent events are to be taken into consideration, things are only about to get worse.  The company is looking to settle two class action suits against it for misleading claims about its safety record and the ‘safe ride’ fees which it charged passengers.

The reported settlement at around $28.5 million is the highest ever (by some margin) that Uber has agreed to pay. The most it had paid prior to this was $1.8 million for airport tolls that it had collected incorrectly.

The ‘safe ride’ fee was introduced to cover the costs the company incurred during driver screening, responding to incidents and upgrading technology. It should be noted that other technology companies like Airbnb also charge a similar kind of fees to their customers.

In a statement released to the public, company officials agreed that they needed to word their safety claims in more transparent manner. This means that they can no longer claim to be the ‘safest ride on the road’ and the ‘gold standard of safety’ like they previously had been. Interestingly, the fee in question is not going to go away but is only going to be renamed. The flat charge, which varies from city to city, will be levied as a booking fee.

This result should ring alarm bells for Lyft which also faces a similar lawsuit for something it calls a ‘trust and safety’ fees, although they have already started to rename it.

For the 25 million passengers who hailed an Uber in the last three years, this means a financial windfall of almost $0.82 each! Uber will transfer this princely amount back the customer’s credit card or credit it to their Uber account. The amount would have been a little over a dollar, however as is typical for class action law suits, lawyers charge around 25% of the settlement fees. They will probably end up being the only real winners in this case.

This year could be a tumultuous one for Uber as it seems to be barreling towards a lawsuit to decide whether its drivers are its employees or simply independent contractors. While Lyft was able to settle and avoided having to reclassify their employees, Uber might have a more difficult time of it. In fact, this next round of courtroom battles could well decide the very nature of Uber’s business and its existence.

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