• Costa Rica Real Estate
  • Costa Rica Coffee Guide

US prosecutors say Uber missed criminal drivers

August 20, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO, United States — Prosecutors from California have accused global ridesharing service Uber of misleading customers and having lax background checks that let criminals drive for the firm, court documents show.

Prosecutors in San Francisco and Los Angeles claim they found 25 people with serious criminal histories driving for Uber in the state, including a murderer, a sex offender and an identity thief.

The company’s background checking process was riddled with “systemic failures,” they alleged.

“In Los Angeles alone, registered sex offenders, a kidnapper, identity thieves, burglars, and a convicted murderer had passed Uber’s ‘industry leading’ background check,” the prosecutors wrote in a complaint that seeks penalties against the company.

The drivers’ criminal histories only came to light after they were caught in other infractions while driving for Uber, the documents allege.

See also: Uber to offer rides in Costa Rica starting under $2

The company’s publicity, it said, was “likely to mislead consumers into believing that Uber does everything it can to ensure their safety and that Uber’s background check process will capture all of the criminal history of an applicant,” the complaint said.

It said the allegedly “misleading representations” were particularly dangerous given that many California parents send their teenage children unaccompanied with Uber drivers.

Uber treats its drivers as independent contractors, and has generally fewer contract obligations surrounding them then typical cab companies.

See also: Uber starts accepting drivers in Costa Rica but government threatens fines

Uber responded by saying it disagreed with the conclusion that state prosecutors had come to.

“While we agree with the district attorneys that safety is a priority, we disagree that the Livescan process used by taxi companies is an inherently better system for screening drivers than our background checks,” a company statement said.

Uber said it was looking forward “to resolving this issue” noting that the case was similar to one settled last year by rival ridesharing company Lyft.

Uber, which recently reached a valuation of $50 billion, has been criticized, boycotted and faced legal action around the world because of its cost-cutting business model.

See also: Anti-Uber protests peaceful in Costa Rica, violent in Mexico City

Some drivers in California have charged that they should be treated as employees of the company and receive benefits, not entitled to independent contractors.

A British union said last month it would take legal action over pay and conditions for drivers.

You may be interested

Costa Rica now considers access to water as a constitutional right
Costa Rica
6 views
Costa Rica
6 views

Costa Rica now considers access to water as a constitutional right

AFP and The Tico Times - June 5, 2020

Costa Rica on Friday adopted a constitutional reform that guarantees access to water as a "human, basic and inalienable" right.…

Costa Rica adds 34 coronavirus cases, 8 recoveries
Costa Rica
20344 views
Costa Rica
20344 views

Costa Rica adds 34 coronavirus cases, 8 recoveries

Alejandro Zúñiga - June 5, 2020

Costa Rica confirmed 34 new cases of the coronavirus over the past day, totaling 1,228 cumulative known cases, the Health…

Brazil virus toll surges to third-highest in world
Costa Rica
20230 views
Costa Rica
20230 views

Brazil virus toll surges to third-highest in world

Joshua Berger / AFP - June 5, 2020

Brazil's death toll from the new coronavirus surpassed Italy's to become the third-highest in the world, as Europe emerged from…