Backbytes: Is Uber trying to drive its rivals out of business?

By Backbytes
12 Aug 2014 View Comments

That unfunny trick of ordering a delivery pizza for some unsuspecting chump is as old as the hills - or, at least, mopeds.

So, you would think that a company would refrain from doing just that sort of thing to rivals, especially when their rival could do exactly the same thing in return, destroying two businesses in one shot. 

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However, that would appear to be the game that some Uber staff have been playing in the US with its main rival Lyft.

After enjoying a summer of fine publicity thanks to taxi drivers taking the day off to advertise the service, Uber now finds itself embroiled in a row with Lyft, which claims that Uber staff have ordered, and cancelled, Lyft cab services some 5,560 times - in the last 10 months alone. 

That's more than just a little mistake.

Lyft claims that Uber has been playing dirty with it following an analysis of mobile phone numbers which it linked with known recruiters for Uber. Some have, on occasion, taken up short rides with Lyft drivers and tried to use the journey to make them defect.

"One Lyft passenger, identified by seven different Lyft drivers as an Uber recruiter, canceled 300 rides from 26 May to 10 June. That user's phone number was tied to 21 other accounts, for a total of 1,524 canceled rides. Another Uber recruiter created 14 different accounts responsible for 680 cancellations," according to a CNN investigation.

Uber has also been accused by another rival, Gett, of pulling the same stunt, while mendaciously telling drivers in New York that it would be illegal for them to work for both Uber and Lyft when the latter set-up shop there. New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission issued a statement to say that was not true. 

If only conventional cabbies across the world had been so devious. Instead of striking, they could've run Uber off the road with a sustained flood of fake ride requests.

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