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Uber Can't Force Class Action Into Arbitration

By William Vogeler, Esq. on June 29, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Even in an Uber world, everything cannot be done with an app.

In Cullinane v. Uber Technologies, Inc., that especially applies to arbitration clauses. The U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals said Uber's arbitration terms were not readily accessible to its app users.

The appeals court reversed and remanded the case, which began after riders complained about toll charges. Those allegedly weren't spelled out in the app, either.

No Arbitration

Rachel Cullinane, and others named in the class-action suit, sued Uber four years ago. Citing its terms and conditions, the company successfully moved to compel arbitration.

On appeal, the plaintiffs argued that Uber's arbitration provisions were not clear to them. They said the terms were linked on the app to pages used for setting up payment options.

"The notice simply did not have any distinguishable feature that would set it apart from all the other terms surrounding it," Judge Juan Torruella wrote for First Circuit.

The appeals court remanded the case to the trial court.

Extra Charges

The ride to the Massachusetts courthouse should be interesting. In the complaint, Uber allegedly passed on charges to unwitting customers for tolls booths and at airports.

According to Courthouse News in Boston, the state charged $3.25 per ride there. The plaintiffs say Uber charged them $8.75 for the fee.

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