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Who the hell is still using Lyft? And why put up with junk texts 'n' calls, huffs FCC

Pink-mustaches left red-faced after commish takes action

Dial-a-ride service Lyft has been rapped on the knuckles by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for making customers sign up for a telemarketing list before being able to access the service.

The FCC cited Lyft for violating the US Telephone Consumer Protection Act and warned that further penalties could be imposed if the company doesn't clean up its act immediately.

Lyft made customers who signed up for its car service agree to also put their numbers on a list it used for telemarketing and text messages. Those who opted out, the FCC claimed, could not use Lyft.

"The investigation into Lyft showed that while its terms of service state that a consumer may opt out of receiving auto-dialed and/or pre-recorded telemarketing texts and calls by using 'provided unsubscribe options', the company does not, in fact, provide unsubscribe options or any information or links that would allow consumers to easily opt out of receiving such calls and texts," said the FCC.

"If consumers, through navigating the company's website, are able to locate the opt-out page and manage to opt out of such calls and texts, they are not able to use Lyft's services unless they opt back into receiving such calls and texts."

This, the regulator alleged, was a violation of telemarketing rules that state no company can make signing up for telemarketing calls or texts a requirement for receiving other products or services.

Lyft was not the only company to be called out for the bad behavior. The watchdog also said that First National Bank had been forcing users to sign up for its telemarketing lists in order to use either their online banking or Apple Pay services. Like Lyft, First National has been accused of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

"Consumers have the right to choose whether they want marketing calls and texts to their cell phones," said FCC enforcement bureau chief Travis LeBlanc.

"Today, we again make clear that such calls and texts are unlawful without express written consumer consent."

The FCC said that the citations were the first step in its enforcement process. The commission is required to cite a company as a warning before any penalties or fines can be issued.

"This is the first we've seen of the order, and are in the process of reviewing it," a Lyft spokesbeing told El Reg. "We look forward to working with the FCC to resolve this issue." ®

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