New York Personal Injury Law Blog » Arbitration, Guest Blog, Uber

 

December 6th, 2016

Opting Out of Uber’s Forced Arbitration (The Clock is Ticking)

Uber logo. Used without its permission.

Uber logo. Used without its permission.

You have until December 21st. That’s it. But you can opt out.

Here’s the deal: Uber changed its terms of service to force people into arbitrations, taking away consumers’ rights to sue the ride sharing company if something goes wrong. Like plow into another car because the driver was looking at his phone to see where his next right might come from.

That kind of thing.

And compulsory arbitration is very bad for the little guy, as I’ve discussed earlier, as arbitrators would love to have the repeat business of the companies that are always involved in disputes. There is a hidden financial motivation to arbitrators to be gentle to Uber and other large businesses so that they continue to hire said arbitrators.

That is why, for example, Wells Fargo is trying hard to force claims against it for creating sham accounts into arbitration, instead of facing the wrath of juries.

So while Big Business of all stripes can pull it’s business from arbitrators who might not be as nice as they’d like, the one-and-done consumer has no leverage. None. Nada. Zip.

Advantage: Big Biz.

So, courtesy of Marea L. Wachsman, comes this easy-peasy method of preserving your rights against Uber.

Take it away Marea:
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mareawachsman_492128262

Marea Wachsman, of Schreier & Wachsman, LLP

If a passenger is injured in an Uber vehicle due to its negligence, passengers were required to arbitrate their claims for personal injuries before the American Arbitration Association.  They were required to arbitrate pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Uber contract the passenger “accepts” when using Uber.

On July 29, 2016, however, Judge Rakoff from the Southern District ruled that the Uber arbitration terms were not conspicuous enough or did not evince the users “unambiguous manifestation of ascent” to the arbitration provision and therefore the court ruled that the arbitration provision was not enforceable.

With its forced arbitration clause tossed into the dumper, Uber tried again.

On November 14, 2016 Uber sent an email to its users to undermine Judge Rakoff’s decision, announcing it was updating its Terms effective November 21, 2016 —  while everyone was scampering somewhere, or doing something, in anticipation of  Thanksgiving.

In that same email, Uber instructed its users to read the new Terms and expressly stated it had “revised our arbitration agreement.”  The revision is with an eye to ensuring that negligence claims by passengers must have their claims for personal injuries arbitrated, and not litigated, thereby waiving the passengers’ rights to a jury trial.

Fortunately, you can reject the November 21, 2016 Uber Terms, by providing Uber with written notice by mail, by hand delivery or by email within 30 days of November 21, 2016.

If the rejection is by email, the email must come from the email associated with the individuals account and addressed to change-dr@Uber.com. The notice to reject the Terms must include the individuals full name and state your explicit intent to reject the changes to the Terms.

By rejecting the November 21, 2016 Terms, the individual continues to be bound by the Terms the individual first agreed to when the individual signed up with Uber.  Thus, presumably, the individual would still have the protection Judge Rakoff provided in having the claims for personal injury for an Uber passenger against Uber heard in a courtroom and not in an arbitration hall.

You can find the information buried on Uber’s legal page, in paragraph 5, reprinted in full below:

Uber may amend the Terms from time to time. Amendments will be effective upon Uber’s posting of such updated Terms at this location or in the amended policies or supplemental terms on the applicable Service(s). Your continued access or use of the Services after such posting confirms your consent to be bound by the Terms, as amended. If Uber changes these Terms after the date you first agreed to the Terms (or to any subsequent changes to these Terms), you may reject any such change by providing Uber written notice of such rejection within 30 days of the date such change became effective, as indicated in the “Effective” date above. This written notice must be provided either (a) by mail or hand delivery to our registered agent for service of process, c/o Uber USA, LLC (the name and current contact information for the registered agent in each state are available online here), or (b) by email from the email address associated with your Account to: change-dr@uber.com. In order to be effective, the notice must include your full name and clearly indicate your intent to reject changes to these Terms. By rejecting changes, you are agreeing that you will continue to be bound by the provisions of these Terms as of the date you first agreed to the Terms (or to any subsequent changes to these Terms).

22 thoughts on “Opting Out of Uber’s Forced Arbitration (The Clock is Ticking)

    • This was Email response from UBER.

      ” Thank you for taking the time to write in, Sue.

      We have reached out to the appropriate parties in regards to your concern here. We understand that you are wanting to opt out of our terms and conditions. This is certainly a choice that you are able to make, however, if opting out is something you choose to do; essentially you will no longer have access to the Uber platform to be able to request rides.
      I hope that this has been helpful and if you have any further questions, please let us know

      Sent by Philip on Wednesday, December 14, 2016 at 10:05:18 PM

  1. What if we did not get the email regarding the changes to Su ER terms and conditions regarding Arbitrstion?

    Are you 100 percent sure that we can opt out of new terms and not be penalized or that our Uber app won’t be cancelled ?

    Have you personally opted out and if do, have u gotten any reply. I can’t seem to find any other information. About this except your one article. Have you confirmed that this is definitely true???

    Please configm This is not a rumor ?

    Thx
    Sue

    • What if we did not get the email regarding the changes to Su ER terms and conditions regarding Arbitration?

      Beats me.

      Are you 100 percent sure that we can opt out of new terms and not be penalized or that our Uber app won’t be cancelled ?

      You want me to make guarantees regarding some company that I don’t control? For all I know, tomorrow they decide to stop accepting calls from those who are between 5′ 7″ and 5′ 8″.

      Have you personally opted out and if do, have u gotten any reply.

      Yes. This is the substance of the reply I got:

      E-mails to change-dr@uber.com are only monitored for U.S. Terms and Arbitration Agreement rejections submitted by U.S. users in accordance with the U.S. Terms of Use.  Need help with something else? 

      I can’t seem to find any other information. About this except your one article. Have you confirmed that this is definitely true???

      I gave you the link directly to the Uber site. That’s as close to the horse’s mouth as you can get.

      • I sent an email to that Uber address and the first response was. Here is the new terms. Etc. they basically avoided my email and sent the link with new terms.

        When I replied that I wanted to be sure that it was ok to Opt out. The email said. If you DO NOT accept the terms , your Uber platform will be cancelled.

        So I guess you were wrong. Please confirm and send out another message with your mistake.

  2. FYI…An Uber driver cannot “check on his phone to see where his next ride might come from” because the present ride is locked into HIS/HER cell phone until the ride has been completed at the predetermined dropoff location and closed out.

    • An Uber driver cannot “check on his phone to see where his next ride might come from” because the present ride is locked into HIS/HER cell phone until the ride has been completed at the predetermined dropoff location and closed out.

      You assume the Uber driver has a passenger already, and is not cruising. (Also, I’ve seen drivers with multiple phones.)

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  4. If Uber updates their terms in the future, would it be possible for them to override this opt-out? If so, what’s the best way to monitor that and ensure it doesn’t happen under the radar?

  5. The return email states that this opt-out is for US Drivers only. Those who use Uber may or may not be US driver. Is this just poor drafting on their part or a way around the provision?

  6. There are many reasons why we should not use Uber. It identifies its
    customers, and tracks them even after they leave the car — through
    the malware app, controlled always by Uber, that customers must use.

    It also pays drivers peanuts, which is why I sometimes call it Guber.

    It’s running at a loss, part of a scheme to eliminate competitors,
    including the real taxis that you can use anonymously and pay with
    cash.

    See [link deleted] for more reasons to refuse to do business
    with Guber.

    • There are many reasons why we should not use Uber.

      That may be true, but this posting wasn’t about the other reasons. It was about how to, if you act quickly, avoid being sucked into mandatory arbitration in the event you run into trouble with them, and how to preserve your rights to litigate if push comes to shove.

  7. A Terms of Service agreement that allows users to opt out of arbitration? It would be marvelous if this is a new trend! Or maybe competing ride sharing companies do not have arbitration clauses and Uber believes its riders are savvy enough to read the fine print and use another company if they don’ t like what they see?

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