This Week in Rideshare: Delivery, $19m, and hacking.

MONDAY 4/25/22

With smaller companies having nowhere near the name recognition of DoorDash, or even Caviar (now owned by DoorDash) or Postmates (part of Uber), it’s hard for hungry customers to know who their local provider is — or that they even have one. Most locals do have apps, but they don’t have major advertising budgets or prominent placement in Google search results.

So, now these companies are uniting into a nationwide effort called LocalDelivery, with iPhone and Android apps and a website that provide national coverage, providing an experience more like that of meal delivery’s giants. When users open the app or go to the site, they’ll be paired with the nearest delivery service, or services.

TUESDAY 4/26/22

Uber agreed to pay a 26 million Australian dollar ($19m) fine for misleading riders by falsely warning they could be charged a cancellation fee and for inflating estimates of comparable taxi rides, the rideshare company and Australia’s consumer watchdog said Tuesday.

Uber BV, a Netherlands subsidiary of San Francisco-based Uber Technologies Inc, admitted to breaching Australian Consumer Law by making false or misleading statements in its app, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said in a statement.

“Uber admits it misled Australian users for a number of years and may have caused some of them to decide not to cancel their ride after receiving the cancellation warning,” Commission Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said.

WEDNESDAY 4/27/22

A federal judge ordered Uber Technologies Inc. to turn over unredacted documents that could reveal more details about how company brass responded to a 2016 data breach, which led to costly legal battles for the ride-sharing giant and criminal charges for its then-security chief over a cover-up.

Joseph Sullivan is accused of attempting to conceal an incident in which Uber allegedly paid hackers $100,000 in bitcoin to destroy stolen data about 57 million passengers and drivers. He has pleaded not guilty.

Lawyers for Mr. Sullivan and Uber will review the unredacted records to determine whether they are relevant to his defense, the judge said Tuesday. The order comes despite objections from federal prosecutors and Uber, which argued the documents were protected by attorney-client privilege as well as the work-product doctrine for materials that are prepared in anticipation of litigation.

THURSDAY 4/28/22

Can Uber and Lyft customers be refunded for canceling a ride if a driver doesn’t wear a mask?

Yes, Uber and Lyft customers can be refunded for canceling a ride if a driver doesn’t wear a mask, provided they contact the companies’ support teams to explain why they felt unsafe.

Uber and Lyft’s updated mask-wearing policies went into effect on April 19, except in certain cities like Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, whose local mask mandates supersede Uber and Lyft’s decisions to drop their requirements.

According to Uber’s updated policy, if a rider asks a driver to wear a mask but the driver refuses, a rider can cancel the trip, but Uber says the rider may be charged a cancellation fee. Passengers will know the amount of the fee before the cancellation is confirmed, the policy said.

FRIDAY 4/29/22

Uber Pet is a new in-app service that hooks up pet owners needing to get a ride with Uber drivers who are willing to have an extra furry passenger. Naturally, this is not free. There is a London £3.20 surcharge for carrying your mate (or £2 outside London, as if that were of any relevance to us whatsoever). To sweeten that particular pill, Uber will be donating £1 from every Uber Pet trip to animal charity All Dogs Matter.

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