How to File a Claim Against Lyft

Make your voice heard and make Lyft pay: These are your options!

A timeless question of “Do you want a lift” has morphed into the name of one of the most successful ridesharing companies operating in Canada and the United States.

Headquartered in San Francisco, California, Lyft provides ride sharing services in more than 640 cities. The company creates, markets, and operates an advanced mobile app that users access for booking rides to and from airports, concerts, and business conventions. Lyft also offers a food delivery service and a bicycle sharing program.

As the second largest ridesharing company operating in North America, Lyft conducts a comprehensive background check on every driver that applies to drive for the company. Background checks go back seven years, with special attention paid to county-level databases, as well as national sex offender registries.

Because of the nature of its business model, Lyft initially had to defend several lawsuits filed by aggrieved drivers and passengers. In October of 2019, the company was named the defendant in a lawsuit claiming 34 women were either raped or assaulted by a Lyft driver. Most of the legal actions taken against Lyft end up in the company’s binding arbitration process.

Lyft and Binding Arbitration

Class action lawsuits can take years to resolve. Add to that the prohibitive cost of paying legal and administrative fees, and most companies prefer to settle disputes through a binding arbitration hearing. According to its terms of service policy, Lyft clearly wants anyone with a legal beef against the company to go through the binding arbitration process.

Here is how the Lyft terms of service section reads concerning binding arbitration:

“YOU AND LYFT MUTUALLY AGREE TO WAIVE 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, as set forth below. This agreement to arbitrate (“Arbitration Agreement”) is governed by the Federal Arbitration Act and survives after the Agreement terminates or your relationship with Lyft ends. ANY ARBITRATION UNDER THIS AGREEMENT WILL TAKE PLACE ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS; CLASS ARBITRATIONS AND CLASS ACTIONS ARE NOT PERMITTED. Except as expressly provided below, this Arbitration Agreement applies to all Claims (defined below) between you and Lyft, including our affiliates, subsidiaries, parents, successors and assigns, and each of our respective officers, directors, employees, agents, or shareholders. This Arbitration Agreement also applies to claims between you and Lyft’s service providers, including but not limited to background check providers and payment processors; and such service providers shall be considered intended third party beneficiaries of this Arbitration Agreement. Except as expressly provided below, ALL DISPUTES AND CLAIMS BETWEEN US (EACH A “CLAIM” AND COLLECTIVELY, “CLAIMS”) SHALL BE EXCLUSIVELY RESOLVED BY BINDING ARBITRATION SOLELY BETWEEN YOU AND LYFT.”

Four Options to Resolve Disputes

Binding arbitration represents the preferred method for resolving disputes that involve substantial monetary claims. However, there are four ways to motivate Lyft to address a complaint.

  1. File a claim in small claims court
  2. Contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
  3. Alert the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
  4. Participate in the binding arbitration process

Resolve a Dispute in Small Claims Court

Although binding arbitration prevents the filing of a class action lawsuit, you have the right to file a claim against Lyft in small claims court. Cases decided in small claims court cannot award monetary damages that exceed $10,000. This means that if you want to file a claim against Lyft for a substantial amount of money, binding arbitration represents your best option. Small claims court fees include your attorney’s retainer, as well as the administrative costs needed to run the entire legal proceeding. The judge presiding over a small claims court case can issue a non-monetary judgment that requires Lyft to make operational changes to prevent similar incidents from happening again.

Get the Federal Government Involved

Used as a resource that complements binding arbitration or a small claims court case, the CFPB enforces the regulations implemented by other federal government agencies. The CFPB has the power to fine a company and/or issue a ruling that forces a company to change its operational procedures. A company can also receive a termination order because of flagrant violations of federal consumer protection laws. The CFPB can decide to take no action, as well as issue a ruling that goes in the favor of a company such as Lyft.

Contact the BBB

As the most influential consumer advocacy organization, the BBB runs a vast website that devotes pages to businesses that enroll in the BBB program. Consumers can file a complaint against Lyft with the BBB, which conducts a thorough review to determine the legitimacy of a complaint. The BBB publishes valid complaints and since early 2017. The BBB has settled more than 100 disputes between Lyft and the company’s drivers and passengers.


Lyft has received an A+ rating from the BBB, with the consumer advocacy organization praising Lyft for promptly responding to consumer complaints. The BBB does not have the legal authority to issue fines or other types of penalties.

What is the Binding Arbitration Process?

A small claims court case leads to a verdict, but both parties have the right to appeal a court’s decision. That is not the case with binding arbitration, which leads to a decision both parties must accept. You cannot appeal a decision made by a neutral arbitrator. Both parties must agree on the selection of an unbiased arbitrator, before a hearing can start. FairShake uses the guidelines created by the American Arbitration Association to help clients navigate the binding arbitration process.

Both sides present physical evidence, as well as anecdotal testimony to bolster their cases. A representative from FairShake will help you present the most convincing case. Binding arbitration includes the paying of fees, which the Lyft terms of services section devoted to binding arbitration explains in detail. Costs associated with binding arbitration include the cost of administering a hearing, as well as the fees charged by representatives for both parties.

Make sure you enter a binding arbitration hearing prepared to present persuasive evidence by working with a FairShake representative.

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