Drivers Sue Lyft After Promo Backfires


SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A Lyft campaign promising $1,000 bonuses for new drivers was too good to be true, according to a class action that claims Lyft didn’t pay many drivers the bonuses.
     Lead plaintiffs Casey Loewen and Jonathan Wright claim Lyft breached contract and defrauded recruits by failing to pay the $1,000 bonuses.
     Lyft launched a pair of campaigns in February, to attract new drivers in several major cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, according to the March 11 lawsuit.
     One promotion offered $1,000 to current Lyft drivers and to drivers whom they referred, according to the complaint. The other promotion allowed new drivers to sign up for the $1,000 deal without being referred.
     To qualify for the bonuses, drivers had to apply on or after midnight Feb. 25 and complete their first ride before March 5.
     The promos resulted in a huge wave of applicants -” the biggest wave of applicants in Lyft history,” according to a Lyft email cited in the lawsuit.
     But Lyft did not provide timely background checks for new drivers, making it impossible for them to give their first ride by the deadline, the plaintiffs say.
     One day before the March 5 deadline, the drivers say, Lyft sent an email stating: “As we’re processing the applications, it’s important that we continue to fulfill our safety obligations. Some of these steps, including DMV and background checks, are outside our control and can vary in length for different applicants. It is possible that you won’t qualify for the promotion if all steps aren’t completed by the March 5 deadline, along with the ride requirement.”
     When applicants did not get their background checks back in time, there was “outrage throughout the Lyft community,” plaintiffs say.
     “Many drivers took to the Internet to voice their frustrations, accompanied by the hashtag #lyftgate,” the complaint states.
     The plaintiffs claim they “substantially performed” their end of the contract, but could not complete the March 5 ride requirement “through no fault of their own because Lyft did not approve their background checks or finalize their applications” by the deadline.
     They seek punitive damages for breach of contract, fraud and intentional misrepresentation, fraud by concealment, and negligent misrepresentation.
     They are represented by R. Rex Parris, of Lancaster.
     Contact Arvin Temkar at sanfran@courthousenews.com

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