Last Chance to Reject Uber’s Revised Mandatory Binding Arbitration

iphoneUber users opt out of the latest changes to the ride-sharing company’s terms of service, which includes a revised mandatory binding arbitration agreement, but they must do so by December 21st, 2016. Uber sent an email to users on November 15th notifying them of the updated terms of use. The email states that the new terms take effect November 21st, 2016. Users have one month from that date to reject the new terms. If a user rejects the latest terms of service, their contractual relationship with Uber will be governed by the last terms of service agreed to.

Although Uber’s prior terms of service also had a binding arbitration agreement, a judge from New York’s Southern District recently found the arbitration agreement to be invalid. Uber revised its terms of service to make the binding arbitration agreement more likely to be enforceable. However, it must give users a period of time to reject these new terms of service. The decision, Meyer v. Kalanick, is only binding in the Southern District of New York. However, the court’s opinion and rationale may be persuasive in other courts, and all users still get a chance to reject the revised terms of service.

In order to reject Uber’s new terms, a user must provide Uber with written notice via U.S. mail, hand delivery, or email. This must be done by December 21st, 2016. Email notice must be sent from the user’s account used in connection with Uber to The email must include the user’s full name, and explicitly state that the user rejects the new terms of service.

Many courts have upheld so-called “clickwrap” agreements where users must click a button saying that they agree to the terms of service. In Uber’s case, users click “Register” when signing up for an account. Below the button, the text says “by creating an Uber account you agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.” Users can click a hyperlink to the terms of service, and can scroll down to find the binding arbitration agreement. In order for these types of agreements to be enforceable, they must be conspicuous and show the consumer’s “unambiguous manifestation of ascent.” The District Court judge found that Uber’s binding arbitration agreement was unenforceable because it failed this test.

Consumers should be weary of agreeing to binding arbitration agreements because of the impact on their legal rights and ability to sue should something go wrong. Many companies now require users to agree to mandatory binding arbitration through their terms of service before a consumer can use their product or service. Until recently, even nursing homes required binding arbitration agreements. However, the Department for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently banned arbitration agreements for nursing homes that receive federal funds.

You probably have agreed to many binding arbitration agreements without even realizing it. These agreements can have a detrimental effect on your ability to seek compensation in the event you’re injured using a company’s product. For instance, say you are injured by an Uber driver who is intoxicated, texting, sleep-deprived, or otherwise driving negligently. Under Uber’s new restrictive mandatory binding arbitration agreement, you will be shuffled into private arbitration and will be unable to sue in a court of law.

In order to protect your rights as a consumer, carefully read through Uber’s terms of service and consider whether to reject them. If you or a loved one is injured in a car accident, contact the experienced attorneys at Martinson & Beason, P.C. today for a free consultation.