Lawsuit alleges Uber unlawfully bombarded New Yorkers with political robocalls
Oh, Uber! Sworn enemy of big taxi! Defier of governments! Uh... disturber of dinner times?
According to a class action suit, filed earlier this week in a New York court, Uber bombarded New Yorkers with "hundreds or thousands" of robocalls encouraging them to oppose Mayor de Blasio's attempts to regulate the company.
One call allegedly went as follows:
Hi. It’s Molly with Uber, and we need your help. Uber ended the days when you couldn’t get a ride home because cabs didn’t want to leave Manhattan. Now Mayor de Blasio is trying to bring the bad old days back because his millionaire taxi donors are telling him to. But why on earth would your Council Member ever consider voting for something like this? They should stand up for you, not take orders from the mayor. Your council member is sponsoring this bill, and we need your voice. Please call your council member and tell them to take their names off Mayor de Blasio’s anti-Uber bill because you, and all New Yorkers, deserve reliable transportation. Paid for by Uber-212 257-1745.
Another used a slightly different script:
Hi. It's Derrick with Uber, and we need your help. Uber ended the days when New Yorkers had to worry about being able to find a reliable ride home; but now, Mayor de Blasio wants to cap the number of drivers that can partner with us, ending Uber as you know it, just because his millionaire taxi donors are telling him to. The Daily News has called de Blasio's cap on Uber quote disingenuous and a bad deal for New Yorkers. Please call your council member and tell them to oppose the anti-Uber bill, because they should look out for you, not for the mayor's rich donors. Paid for by Uber 212-257-1745.
Plaintiff Elvira Gonzalez says that Uber's messages violated several aspects of "the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (the “TCPA”), 47 U.S.C. § 227, et seq.; and (b) New York’s anti-robocalling statute, General Business Law § 399-p." Specifically, the company did not obtain consent from the recipients of the calls and did not include its full contact information.
Gonzales claims Uber created its robocall database by mining the contact details of registered Uber users.
Earlier today, a follow-up court filing indicated that Ms Gonzalez will be represented by attorney Mitchell M. Breit at Simmons Hanly Conroy whose website describes the firm, cheerily, as a "mesothelioma & asbestos law firm."
Here's the full complaint: