The Federal Communications Commission cited ride-sharing service Lyft on Sept. 11 for breaking consumer protection rules against unwanted robocalls and automated text messages.
According to the FCC, Lyft's app prevents users from accessing the service if they decide not to accept automated marketing calls and text messages. The agency claims that this is against the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
The terms of service of Lyft state that users can choose not to receive robocalls and automated text messages through options to unsubscribe from them. However, the FCC found that Lyft does not provide these options to users. While there is an opt-out page on Lyft's website, users who decide to avail themselves of it will no longer be able to use the ride-sharing service. This is because they would stop receiving the security texts that they need to log into their accounts on Lyft.
FCC enforcement bureau chief Travis LeBlanc said that companies that unlawfully require customers to agree to receive unwanted robocalls and automated text messages should change such policies.
A spokeswoman for Lyft said that the company has just learned of the FCC's citation, and that Lyft will work with the agency to resolve the problem.
The citation by the FCC is a warning that the agency could impose monetary penalties and other sanctions on Lyft if it does not comply with the rules. The citation also raises the notion that the government is keeping a close eye on Lyft, as the company and the entire ride-sharing industry has often been the subject of controversies against government regulations.
Lyft, along with rival Uber, has been dealing with regulatory feuds, lawsuits and cease-and-desist letters from all over the country and worldwide. Lawmakers have been pushing for ride-sharing companies to follow stricter regulations covering car inspections, insurance and background checks on drivers, among others.
Lyft has not been receiving just bad news, though. In July, the company announced a partnership with Starbucks, which allowed riders to tip their drivers with coffee. Last month, Lyft and uberX were given permission to pick up riders at the Los Angeles International Airport, where they were previously only allowed to drop off passengers.
In addition to Lyft, the FCC also cited the First National Bank for a similar violation since the bank supposedly requires online bankers and Apple Pay users to agree to accept automated marketing text messages to be able to use the service.