Uber Technologies Inc. has agreed to pay $20 million to settle a class action lawsuit alleging it sent unsolicited text messages to people about becoming Uber drivers ( Vergara v. Uber Techs. Inc. , N.D. Ill., No. 15-cv-06942, motion for preliminary approval of settlement filed 8/14/17 ).
Six individuals alleged that Uber sent pre-scripted messages to cell phone numbers provided by users through the company’s “Refer-a-Friend” program. The plaintiffs alleged Uber violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by sending the messages without their prior express consent.
The proposed settlement comes after more than two years of litigation in federal courts in two states. The settlement may impact other ongoing cases against the ride-hailing company for allegedly sending unwanted messages without consumer consent. Bloomberg Law data show six active federal lawsuits filed against Uber under the TCPA, a federal robocall law.
Under the proposed settlement agreement, Uber will create a $20 million fund to be distributed to the settlement classes. According to the plaintiffs, the classes include thousands of consumers scattered throughout the country. Uber also agreed to discontinue its Refer-a-Friend program, and maintain the opt-out mechanism it created after the cases were filed.
The plaintiffs asked the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Aug. 11 to grant preliminary approval of the proposed settlement.
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