Massachusetts’ highest court has ruled that an Uber passenger did not enter into a binding contract by downloading the Uber app and clicking on a link stating that the passenger accepted Uber’s terms and conditions.
This was a case alleging unlawful discrimination against a disabled passenger by Uber drivers, who refused to give rides to a blind passenger and his service dog. The passenger filed suit, and Uber tried to force the claim to be decided by a private arbitrator, and not by a judge and jury. Uber claimed that the passenger had agreed to submit any claims or disputes to arbitration when the passenger clicked on a link in the app, accepting Uber’s lengthy terms and conditions.
The Supreme Judicial Court held that just clicking on this link did not create a binding contract between Uber and the passenger. “Uber’s terms and condition did not constitute a contract with the plaintiffs. The app’s registration process did not provide users with reasonable notice of the terms and conditions and did not obtain a clear manifestation of assent to the terms, both of which could have been easily achieved.”
Uber could not force this claim into arbitration, so the passenger will have his day in court. He will be able to present his case to a judge and jury, and not a private arbitrator.
The Court noted that some apps do a better job of making it clear to the customer that the customer is entering into a binding contract, and those contracts would be enforceable. The Court spelled out ways that Uber can fix the problem with its registration process, so it is likely that Uber will do so, but, for now, it should be easier to pursue potential claims, including claims for personal injuries, against Uber.
Back in 2016, our firm wrote an article about making personal injury claims for incidents involving Uber vehicles. Whose insurance pays – Uber’s, the Uber driver’s, your own insurance…? Click here to learn more.
If you have been injured in an accident or incident involving Uber, Lyft or some other ride hailing service, contact us for a free consultation to review your claim and learn your rights.