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“resolution of an investigation into Lyft concerning its failure to provide proper notice to consumers about fines the company imposed when scooters were parked improperly”

From the office of the DC Attorney General:

“Attorney General Schwalb today announced the resolution of an investigation into Lyft concerning its failure to provide proper notice to consumers about fines the company imposed when scooters were parked improperly. Under the terms of a settlement agreement, Lyft will provide full restitution and return nearly $90,000 to affected scooter users. Lyft will also pay $20,000 to the District and has already made changes to its systems to ensure users are notified about DC’s scooter parking rules and notified of any fines imposed for parking violations.

“DC residents and visitors enjoy a wide variety of options for getting around the city, including electric scooters, and the District’s scooter parking rules help keep our streets and sidewalks safe for everyone,” said Attorney General Schwalb. “Scooter rental companies are legally required to let consumers know that if they fail to lock scooters up appropriately after use, they will be charged a fine. While Lyft failed to do so, we appreciate its cooperation throughout this investigation and its willingness to do the right thing for DC consumers as soon as our team brought these issues to the company’s attention.”

Lyft offers a variety of mobility services, including ride-hailing, bicycle-sharing, and electric scooter rentals in the District of Columbia. In 2021, the District adopted new rules governing electric scooter parking and required riders to lock rental scooters to bike racks, designated scooter corrals, or sign posts after use. The rules also required all scooter rental companies to notify users if they failed to appropriately park scooters and to charge users a fine for improper parking.

Lyft did notify scooter users of new parking rules in DC through an in-app banner and began charging fines for improper parking as required by DC’s rules. However, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) opened an investigation after learning that many consumers were surprised when they were charged fines of $26.50 (including tax) for improper parking—only finding out about the fines after the fact, when they looked at their credit card statements. OAG’s investigation revealed that Lyft did not adequately disclose the amount of the fines in advance and that there were problems with the way the company attempted to notify consumers about improper parking. Lyft failed to list fines in the app or in “ride receipt” emails, and though the company believed it was sending separate emails to notify consumers about parking violations, it discovered that problems with its internal systems had prevented many of those notifications from going out.

Lyft cooperated throughout OAG’s investigation and worked to immediately remedy issues with the parking fine process after they were brought to the company’s attention. Under the terms of a settlement agreement, Lyft will also:

  • Provide full restitution to affected consumers: Lyft will provide refunds totaling $89,952 to users who were charged a parking fee and who did not receive warning emails or emails notifying them that they were being charged between the date Lyft began charging the fee and the date Lyft corrected the error that prevented consumers from receiving notifications (January 1, 2022, to September 7, 2022).
  • Share more information about parking fines with consumers: Whenever a parking fine is assessed, Lyft will send an email to consumers containing information about the amount of the fine and the ride for which the charge was incurred. The company will also make photos of any alleged parking violations available to consumers so they can review and challenge fines if necessary, and will include information about fines in the “Ride History” tab of its mobile application.

 

  • Pay $20,000 to the District.

A copy of the settlement agreement is available here.

This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Margaret Ulle, under the supervision of Adam Teitelbaum, Director of the Office of Consumer Protection.

Resources for DC Consumers

OAG protects DC residents from fraud, exploitation, and deceptive business practices by investigating and mediating consumer complaints, educating residents about their rights, and taking legal action against businesses and individuals that harm residents and break the law. Since January 2023, OAG has obtained nearly $50 million through enforcement actions and settlements on behalf of DC consumers.

If you have concerns about fees you have been charged—or if you have any other consumer concern—you can contact OAG’s Consumer Protection Hotline:

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