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.
. @lyft What the heck? I'm your biggest fan and literally invited ALL of my friends to register for Lyft the first day you launched in Toronto. I am rewarded with this X20. Obviously I am only going to have been a US rider before yesterday. Support not answering. #lyftto pic.twitter.com/2NAsRfj21K— Fred Ngo (@fredngo) December 13, 2017
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.
@AskLyft why do you keep telling me that I can't get referral bonuses because I'm not in Canada? What more do you need than a Canadian phone number and a Canadian credit card with a Canadian billing address? At least @Uber_Canada 's customer service is prompt and responsive.— N.C. Biswas (@ncbiswas) December 13, 2017
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!)"
@AskLyft I've shared my referral link with several friends and have gotten the attached email in return. So far I think I haven't received credit for 5 friends who have joined Lyft because of me. Can you fix this? #lyfttoronto #lyft pic.twitter.com/TtKY9KCTFT— Danial Shaikh (@dnlshkh) December 13, 2017
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.
@lyft I still won’t be using your service, since you so ungraciously won’t credit me $10, but you happily do the rest of TO! My crime; getting on the Lyft bandwagon eons before you hit Canada!— Dan Post (@dannyboybaby) December 14, 2017
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.
I tried contacting you via app, explained everything, and they don’t understand. @AskLyft— Kevin McLaughlin (@voilakevin) December 12, 2017
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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