Uber is arguably one of the worst managed companies in the United States, and in some cases, abroad. From transgression, to scandal, to crime, the company knows no bounds in its less-than-stellar track record of disregard to its customers and employees. At the center of all the scandals is Travis Kalanick, Uber’s former CEO who was asked to step down. Under his guidance, the company blurred or erased the lines of ethics and put peoples’ lives at risk. Here are some of the worst things that Uber has done, and they should make you question whether or not you want to be involved with the company.
8. Targeting competitors
Everyone knows that Uber’s biggest competitor is Lyft. Back in 2014, Uber purposefully booked 5,560 fake Lyft rides to undercut Lyft profits in an attempt to make Uber more desirable. One Uber employee is responsible for more than 1,500 of those cancellations and is tied to 21 separate accounts; another had 14 accounts and canceled around 600 rides. The tactic is shady at best. It’s the equivalent of going to your competitor’s store and standing in line to make everything take longer so that the customers will shop at your store.
Uber also had recruiters order Lyft rides to try and lure drivers away from the Lyft brand. They actively paid for these recruiters to order a Lyft for an extremely short ride that cut into the drivers fare, just to pitch to them. That also made those drivers miss potentially more profitable clients. Going off the analogy earlier, now that the guy is at the store, he is also trying to get the cashier to quit and work for him.
Next: If you think that’s bad, look at what they’ve done to you without you knowing it.
7. Stalking customers
When you engage with a digital company, you’re offering up a lot of personal data. You give them your bank accounts, credit cards, and even your home address. You essentially offer up your entire existence (on paper) on a silver platter and you expect them to be good stewards of this information.
Well, Uber doesn’t really care. Back in December of 2016, it was discovered by a forensic investigator that the company was regularly spying on its clients. Employees of the company would stalk their exes, politicians, and even celebrities. Just a month earlier Uber had come under scrutiny for using their “God-View” technology to spy on reporters who spoke disparagingly about the company. I am so glad I don’t use them anymore.
Next: Self-driving cars are cool when they don’t almost kill people.
6. Dangerous self-driving cars
Self-driving cars are well on their way to becoming commonplace on the road, which is perfectly cool. However, if you rush a technology out without having it fully approved, that can endanger peoples’ lives. That’s exactly what Uber decided to do in 2016. California regulators had to order Uber to stop using their self-driving cars and get them off the road. The self-driving cars were consistently running red lights and driving in bike lanes. The problems, Uber claimed, were human error, but it was later discovered that the technology just flat out didn’t work properly.
Next: What’s the point in trying to be honest?
5. Lying to their drivers
In early 2017, Uber had to pay a $20 million dollars because of its false advertising to potential drivers for the company. The lawsuit claimed that Uber falsely inflated the potential earnings of a driver to lure new drivers for the company.
In May of 2017, it was discovered that Uber was grossly underpaying its drivers. In New York, Uber drivers were having a larger cut of their fairs taken from them for over two years. A lawsuit was settled and every driver affected got $900 in compensation for the scam.
Next: If they’re willing to steal from their employees, they’ll steal from their competitors.
4. Stealing tech
Remember those self-driving cars? Well, it turns out that a lot of that technology was owned and being developed by a subsidiary of Google’s parent company, Alphabet. The company, Waymo, accused Uber of “calculated theft” because an engineer on the Uber autonomous vehicle project stole trade secrets from Waymo. Uber has since fired the engineer.
Next: Claims that sparked massive change in Silicon Valley
3. Rampant sexual harassment
At this point, Uber and sexual harassment are almost synonymous. Over the years, Uber has been involved in multiple sexual harassment accusations. Susan Fowler raised allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace in early 2017. Those allegations led to a full-scale investigation and showed how pervasive this behavior is in Silicon Valley. Then, in June of 2017, Uber fired 20 high-level employees because of sexual misconduct and toxic workplace culture.
That same month, an Uber executive allegedly obtained a rape victim’s medical records in an effort to defame her. The victim was raped by an Uber driver and they wanted doubt to be cast on her in the investigation. She later sued Uber for defaming her character.
Next: Uber was actively deceiving law enforcement.
2. Operation Greyball
Uber deployed a program called “Greyball” which targeted code enforcers and tracked their tactics. Any time a law enforcement official would use the Uber app, the app would essentially give that official the proverbial run around and not allow the app to function properly. This made it so that law enforcement officials couldn’t see if Uber was obeying proper city and state codes. The program also allowed Uber to track how these investigations would play out. Giving them a playbook to prevent prosecution in the future.
Uber denies any wrongdoing and that they were trying to protect their drivers from being “entrapped” by enemies of the company. Since its discovery, a federal investigation has been launched. Uber still uses the program throughout the world.
Next: Finally, their most recent failure.
1. They tried to cover up a horrific data breach
Data breaches are more and more common these days. No harm in not winning a battle against an ever increasingly intelligent cyber enemy. However, what’s not cool is finding out about it, then paying the people off so that your customers or shareholders don’t hear about it. That’s exactly what Uber did. In 2016, a data breach exposed the personal information of about 60 million people. In order to protect themselves, Uber has admitted to paying the hackers $100,000 to destroy the data and keep their mouths shut.
If you’re still using Uber, it’s probably time to delete the app. If you’re invested in Uber, it’s probably time to divest from the company. The only language they seem to understand is the language of money. In September of this year, board members forced Kalinick out following the #deleteuber campaign on social media and myriad of failures under his guidance.
Follow The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!