Uber has become a litigation magnet: The popular taxi app is facing more than a dozen claims—from cab companies, state insurance agencies, even the family of a girl killed by a car linked to Uber.
Most of these claims involve pretty heady issues like the rise and fall of entire industries, and life and death.
And there there’s Shahriar “Shawn” Noorparvar’s lawsuit. Noorparvar, who owns a cellphone repair shop in Los Angeles, is upset because he says Uber sent him some text messages even after he asked them to stop. For his unfathomable pain and suffering, he’s demanding $500 for every unwanted text message.
It all began on New Year’s Eve 2013, just five hours before midnight, when Noorparvar downloaded the app. Uber texted him:
“Thanks for signing up for Uber, shawn! Reply GO to confirm your #. Reply HELP or call 866-576-1039. Std msg rates may apply.”
At 9:34 p.m., Noorparvar responded “Go.”
At 10 p.m., Noorparvar was apparently looking to hail a taxi through the app. But if you’ve ever tried to hail a taxi at 10 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, when half the city is finishing dinner and heading to a party, you’re going to have some trouble.
Uber texted him twice, saying:
“Hi shawn, we can’t find an Uber for you at this time. Sorry for the inconvenience. Please try again soon!”
Damn, we’ve all been there, bro.
Apparently pissed that he couldn’t get a car at the drop of a hat during one most the most hectic times of the year, Noorparvar moved to sever his relationship with Uber. “With the appearance that Uber was not going to be able to find a car for plaintiff that evening,” the lawsuit notes, Noorparvar decided to opt out of receiving any future messages.
Noorparvar texted Uber “Stop.”
“By sending this ‘Stop’ text message to Uber, which was plaintiff’s request to opt-out of receiving further text messages from Uber,” according to the lawsuit, “plaintiff revoked any and all express consent that Uber may have had to contact plaintiff on plaintiff’s cellular telephone number, including by text message.”
But then, Uber sent him more texts!
In response to his “Stop” message, the Uber bot texted him:
“Uber Alerts: To stop text confirmations, please confirm your request by texting YES.”
For whatever reason, Noorparvar waited until January 30 to respond “Yes.” Perhaps it was that lag time that confused the bot, but two minutes later, the service pinged him back:
“Sorry, but we could not locate your Uber request. Please text a proper street address with city. Text HELP or visit support.uber.com for more help.”
Instead of just returning to his normal life, Noorparvar texted “Stop” once more.
Uber responded again:
“Uber Alerts: To stop text confirmations please confirm your request by texting YES.”
Noorparvar responded “Yes,” and his unimaginably hellish ordeal finally came to an end.
Naturally, he is seeking damages for himself and millions of other Uber users who have been permanently scarred by getting a handful of unwanted text messages from some faceless company.
Noorparvar’s suit is asking for $500 “for each and every violation.” In other words, the victims here are anyone who has ever texted “Stop” to Uber and received the canned auto-response of “Uber Alerts: To stop text confirmations please confirm your request by texting YES.”
Uber doesn’t release the number of people that use the app, but leaked documents show they’re getting about 316,000 new sign-ups per month.
This case is currently winding its way through the Central District Court of California.
Hopefully he’ll prevail and none of us will ever have to go through this kind of nightmare again.