The Lyft driver who takes you to your next holiday party just might be getting cheated out of the money you're paying for the ride.
Lyft drivers say they're not getting paid what the company promised them. Attorney Steve Mashel filed a class-action lawsuit, accusing Lyft of deceiving drivers and shorting their paycheck.
Mashel's lawsuit claims Lyft is secretly making two fare calculations per ride, one which determines what the riders pay and the second which determines what the drivers are paid.
Mashel says the driver formula is almost always lower.
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"Those monies go into the coffers of Lyft that should go into the pockets of the hard-working drivers who are trying to make a living doing rides and providing a service to customers," Mashel said.
Brian Bleecker has been driving for Lyft for two years and says the company is pocketing money that should be his and also duping the riders, leading them to believe that a driver is paid based on the fare they paid.
NBC4 talked to dozens of drivers of like Bleecker who said they aren't being paid what Lyft promised them. Those drivers feared retaliation by the company, so NBC4 took some rides to see how their claims played out.
Time and time again, the fare Lyft reported to the driver was lower than what was paid, usually by only a dollar or two, but in a ride to LAX there was a $12 difference.
"I'm overwhelmed that this is happening," Bleecker said, adding that he wasn't even sure his house payment was going to clear this month.
Mashel said Lyft is hiding the fare discrepancy and that the company should be clearly disclosing that discrepancy in its contract with drivers. Lyf recently made the fare calculations more available, but they're still hard to find, Mashel said.
"They're breaching their deal," Mashel said of the company. "They're being deceptive. They're being misleading."
He wants Lyft to simply pay drivers based on the fare riders pay. Bleecker and other drivers who talked to NBC4 want the same thing.
"There has to be some retribution, some fairness to it," Bleecker said.
Lyft did not respond to NBC4's repeated phone calls and emails for comment. The company has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
The two sides are scheduled to meet with a judge in January.