How often do you read the Terms of Service Agreements before actually using a service or application? After a discovery about Lyft’s new TOS, many are rethinking their use of the ridesharing service.
The discovery was made by friends of Alison Turkos, a 31-year-old New York woman who was allegedly kidnapped, raped, and held at gunpoint by her Lyft driver and two other men after leaving a party in 2017. The ride, which was supposed to be 15-minutes, took 80 minutes when instead of taking her home, Turkos says the driver took her to a secluded park in New Jersey.
Following her assault, Turkos was dropped off at her apartment and within 24 hours, she says she reported the incident to Lyft. The company apologized for the incident yet still required her to pay the $106.80 bill. She is now suing the rideshare company. She filed a suit with the California State Superior Court in San Francisco on September 17.
The controversial update is located in Section 7(a) of Lyft’s TOS and says “You and Lyft mutually agree to waive, to the fullest extent permitted under applicable law, our respective rights to resolution of disputes in a court of law by a judge or jury and agree to resolve any dispute by arbitration.”
According to Lyft, this includes any past or present disputes or claims pertaining (but not limited) to the Lyft Platform, the Services, any other goods or services made available through the Lyft Platform, your relationship with Lyft, the threatened or actual suspension, deactivation or termination of your User Account or this Agreement, payments made by you or any payments made or allegedly owed to you, any promotions or offers made by Lyft, and all other common law and statutory claims between you and Lyft or its affiliates and their respective employees, officers, directors and shareholders.
In Section 7(b), it says that although you can bring a suit against Lyft (or they can bring a suit against you) as an individual, you cannot bring on a class action or collective suit. By agreeing to their Terms of Service, you’re agreeing that you’re waiving your right to do so.
Of course, certain jurisdictions may not allow for the enforcement of these rules, which means that this section may, or may not, apply to you.
Representatives for Lyft took to social media to respond, saying that they do not consider sexual assault or sexual harassment a case of arbitration and that the terms have been in place since 2018.
While sexual assault and harassment may not fall under these guidelines, there are still many things that do. What are your thoughts about these terms?