By Annie Diaz
If you knew that before getting into an Uber, your driver could sexually assault you and have no legal repercussions, would you still get in? Every year, millions of Uber users agree to the company’s terms and conditions without realizing this.
People rarely realize that the implications of the agreement may be far more serious than they realize. An investigation led by CNN uncovered numerous hidden sexual assault cases against Uber that the public was unaware of, due to the forced arbitration clause in the Uber user agreement.
Including these clauses in the terms and conditions is common practice for many companies, and many unknowingly agree to them on a daily basis. These terms and conditions essentially state that if anything happens to you while using its service, you can’t sue the company. Instead, it will be settled secretly through arbitration. Additionally, the nondisclosure agreement in these terms prevents users from speaking publicly regarding any assaults. Although it is tedious, reading the terms and conditions which you agree to in user contracts is crucial to fully understand the implications of what it is you are agreeing to.
As of May 2018, CNN has uncovered 103 drivers who have raped or attacked women, many of whom were repeat offenders. This is a widespread issue that has been kept quiet by Uber to protect its image and reputation.
Uber is a service used by millions, and Uber’s entire platform is based around providing a “safe ride home” to users. How can users feel safe when they are not protected from sexual assault?
Because Uber advertises its company as safe and reliable, the public trusts them. Many of us, including myself, have taken Ubers alone before, trusting that we will be safely driven to our destinations.
Because all of the assaults were settled privately and because of the nondisclosure agreements, there was no press coverage of this issue prior to the CNN investigation. Uber misleading its customers is not only unethical but also unsafe — users of this service need to be made aware of the potential dangers.
The next time you download an app or visit a website with terms and agreements, think twice before clicking “agree.” Our generation has become so familiar with technology that it has become second nature to quickly agree to user agreements. We often forget that these agreement are legally binding contracts. Accepting the terms of a service before fully comprehending what they are can ultimately get a user in trouble.
Students share opinions around campus
“Do you feel safe riding alone in an Uber?”
“Personally I do, because it gets tracked on your phone. I’m also just a confident person.”
“If I was taking an Uber during the day, then yes. At night it’s a different story.”