Uber sued for overcharging people with disabilities across the U.S.

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FILE – In this Nov. 15, 2019, file photo is an Uber office in Secaucus, New Jersey, USA. Uber is giving its U.K. drivers the minimum wage, pensions and holiday pay, following a recent court ruling that said they should be classified as workers and entitled to such benefits, the company announced Tuesday, March 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

(ABC4) – If you or a loved one has been charged a “wait time” fee by Uber, you may be entitled to compensation.

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Uber on Wednesday for allegedly charging “wait time” fees to passengers with disabilities because they “need more time to enter a car.”

The lawsuit claims that Uber violated Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination by private transportation companies like Uber.

In April 2016, Uber started charging passengers wait time fees in multiple cities. Wait time fees start two minutes after the Uber car arrives at the pickup location and are charged until the car begins its trip.

The DOJ complaint alleges that Uber failed to reasonably modify its wait time fee policy for passengers who need more time to get into the car because of their disability.

Passengers with disabilities may need more time to get into a car for many reasons. A passenger may use a wheelchair or walker that needs to be broken down and stored in the car. A passenger who is blind may need more time to safely walk from the pickup location to the car itself.

The lawsuit also alleges that even when Uber is aware that a passenger’s need for additional time is clearly disability-based, Uber will still charge a wait time fee at the two-minute mark.

“People with disabilities deserve equal access to all areas of community life, including the private transportation services provided by companies like Uber,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “This lawsuit seeks to bring Uber into compliance with the mandate of the Americans with Disabilities Act while sending a powerful message that Uber cannot penalize passengers with disabilities simply because they need more time to get into a car. Uber and other companies that provide transportation services must ensure equal access for all people, including those with disabilities.”

The lawsuit is ordering Uber to stop discriminating against individuals with disabilities. The DOJ is asking the court to order Uber to modify its wait time fee policy to comply with the ADA, train its staff and drivers on the ADA, pay more damages to people subjected to the illegal wait time fees, and pay a civil penalty to vindicate the public’s interest in eliminating disability discrimination.

If you believe you have been a victim of disability discrimination by Uber because you, or someone you were traveling with, were charged wait time fees, please contact 833-591-0425 (toll-free), 202-305-6786, or send an email to Uber.Fee@usdoj.gov

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