To use Uber or Lyft, you must agree to arbitration clauses tucked away in the terms and conditions of the app. essentially, that agreement means you give up your right to pursue legal action in a civil suit.
"Who is going to sit there and read a 6,000-word arbitration agreement as a consumer? No one does that. I've been an attorney for 27 years. I've never read those clauses," said Senator Luis Sepulveda.
As it stands now, someone discriminated against or physically or sexually assaulted while using a ride-hailing app has to settle the complaint with the company outside of court.
"You have to submit to their forum where they choose the judge, they choose the location, they set the rules, and you don't have the rights you have in a normal court," said NYPIRG General Counsel Russ Haven.
A package of bills is looking to change that. The first law would ban the arbitration clause when a consumer files civil action involving sexual assault. The second would require ride-hailing services to warn users that by signing the user agreement, they forfeit certain rights.
"It's important to send the message to these companies: You want to use your business, you want to occupy your business in our jurisdiction, then you have to be held to the same standards of every other company and every other individual," said Sepulveda.
The two bills have been introduced in the State Senate and have a co-sponsor in the assembly.