An Uber driver has dropped off a class action lawsuit
against the ride-sharing giant, alleging Uber has taken double in fees what
they said they would from drivers who use a new instant payment option to cash
out the money they earn from the rides they provide.
On Dec. 19, plaintiff Jamie Whirl filed suit in Cook County
Circuit Court against Uber Technologies, arguing the company should be made to
pay for charging drivers $1 for withdrawing their money under the company’s “Instant
Pay” feature, when the company allegedly told drivers it would charge only 50
cents per transaction.
The lawsuit, brought through attorneys with the firm of
Krislov & Associates, of Chicago, asks the judge to expand the case to also
include all other Uber drivers who have used the Instant Pay system to get
Earlier in 2016, Uber’s CEO had asserted more than 450,000
drivers across the U.S. access Uber’s ride-sharing app every month.
The lawsuit centers on Uber’s rollout of the Instant Pay
feature on its driver app, which allows drivers to instantly access their pay,
rather than wait for a weekly direct deposit to their bank account. Drivers are
allowed up to five such Instant Pay withdrawals per day.
According to the complaint, Uber had told drivers they could
either obtain an Uber-branded debit card or it would charge 50 cents per
Instant Pay withdrawal to use the feature. However, the lawsuit alleged Uber
instead would charge such drivers 50 cents at the time of withdrawal, but then
tack on another 50 cent charge on the back end of the transaction, at times
leaving a negative balance on the driver’s Uber account.
Whirl, who said in her complaint she has driven for Uber
since mid-2015 and has used the Instant Pay feature since it was unveiled in
2016, said she has complained of the overcharge to Uber on multiple occasions.
She said Uber has at times refunded some of her money, amounting to $5.50 in
“However Plaintiff has been overcharged much more than a
total of $5.50,” the complaint said. “Moreover, Defendans (Uber) has not
stopped taking $1 per withdrawal, nor has it updated its disclosures to drivers
to inform them that it actually charges $1 per withdrawal.”
The lawsuit alleges Uber breached its contract with its
drivers and has violated Illinois consumer fraud laws and consumer protection
laws in other states.
The lawsuit asks the court to order Uber to repay the
alleged overcharges to drivers, and pay unspecified compensatory and punitive
damages, plus attorney fees.