Lyft cited by FCC over unwanted autodialed text messages

Lyft cited by FCC over unwanted autodialed text messages

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has cited ride-sharing startup Lyft Inc. for violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

Travis LeBlanc, the head of the FCC's Enforcement Bureau, said that the Act gives users "the right to choose whether they want marketing calls and text to their cell phones." In its citation, the FCC has accused Lyft of violating the Act by forcing customers to receive marketing messages for using its services.

With regard to its citation of Lyft over unwanted autodialed text messages, the FCC said that the source of its investigation was Lyft's service agreement itself.

The FCC explained that while the Lyft service agreement gives customers the ability to opt out of receiving "autodialed or prerecorded telemarketing calls and texts", the company actually blocks the customers from accessing its service if they choose to opt out.

Asserting that "the evidence shows that Lyft's opt-out representations are illusory in nature," the FCC said that "Lyft effectively requires all consumers to agree to receive marketing text messages and calls on their mobile phones in order to use services."

The FCC's citation marks the first step to putting San Francisco-based on-demand car service Lyft on notice of alleged violations and potential fines. Though Lyft is not yet subject to any civil penalties, there is a possibility of the FCC subjecting Lyft to "substantial monetary forfeitures" if it continues to violate consumer-protection laws.

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