Lyft Toronto glitch

Lyft plagued by technical glitch during Toronto launch

Lyft has officially come to Toronto, but – as with any launch of such magnitude – it wasn't as simple as flipping a switch.

The city's newest ride-hailing app was activated within the GTA exactly one week ago today, during a release event that saw Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman take the first-ever Lyft ride in Canada.

Local car service users were thrilled to finally have a viable alternative to Uber, Lyft's biggest competitor, and many of them still are.

An unfortunate technicality, however, is making some of those 50,000 Torontonians who downloaded the app before it launched in Canada feel slighted, if not duped.

Like many app-based companies, Lyft rewards existing users for referring their friends to the service.

Every time someone enters a specific user's Lyft referral code, that user should receive a $10 ride credit, added automatically to their account.

After the service launched in Canada last week, local Lyft users started discovering that this wasn't exactly true. You see, if you already have a U.S. Lyft account, you won't get credit for referring someone in Canada to the service.

Instead, you'll get an email that reads:

"It looks like your recent referral is riding with Lyft outside the country where you ride. Our referral program only supports bonuses for riders you refer in the country where you ride, so you won't earn a referral bonus this time (sorry!)"

Some of the people reporting this error message online do, in fact, have active U.S. Lyft accounts, but a lot of Torontonians are saying they've never even used the service stateside.

As it turns out, you couldn't actually register for the service as a Canadian until it officially launched here – though nobody realized that this was the case.

People in Toronto who, after learning of Lyft's impending expansion, signed up for the app early were all registered as Americans.

New Toronto Lyft users have been trying to "switch over" their accounts to the right country, but many are complaining that this doesn't seem possible.

Some are also saying that Lyft customer service hasn't been much help – though it should be noted that the company has been incredibly responsive on Twitter, encouraging all complainants to DM their account for further assistance.

When asked about the referral bonus problem, a Lyft spokesperson explained that the company is working on a solution.

"Prior to being live in Canada, many people in Canada who signed up for Lyft did so with a U.S. Lyft account," said a Lyft spokesperson. "We are in the process of fixing this so that people who live in Canada are re-attributed to having Canadian Lyft accounts and can refer friends."

"People with U.S. accounts aren't able to refer those in Canada," she further explained. "We are, though, seeing many referrals between passengers with Canadian accounts."

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