Lyft Says Uber Employees Made, Canceled More Than 5K Rides

According to CNN, Lyft has cataloged more than 5,000 instances of Uber employees calling, then canceling ride reservations at Lyft.
Posted at 1:38 PM, Aug 12, 2014

​Citizen taxi service Uber is no stranger to negative publicity.

It made headlines when one of its cars was attacked by a protester in Paris, when an off-duty driver allegedly kidnapped a customer and even when another alleged kidnapping led to a high-speed car chase.

But with words like "dirty," "underhand," and "sabotage," this could be Uber's most negative headline yet.

​​According to a report by CNN, car-service competitor Lyft claims Uber ordered and canceled thousands of Lyft rides in an attempt to blow past the competition.

The outlet says — according to data provided to it by Lyft — nearly 200 Uber employees have made and then canceled more than 5,500 ride reservations since October of 2013. 

Lyft says it confirmed the so-called phantom reservations by cross-referencing Uber's phone data with its own. 

A tactic like this could affect Lyft's business in the short term because each reservation makes a driver unavailable to real customers, which means less money for Lyft. In the long term, it could affect Lyft's image as a reliable, available service.

The Next Web has Uber's response to the allegations, which says the accusations are "patently false." The outlet offers up the benefit of the doubt, writing, "It may have come from over-zealous users and not actual Uber employees."

But several outlets have pointed out Uber's been accused of using these same tactics in the past. Car service Gett allegedly faced "phantom reservations" from Uber employees in January of this year. Uber later responded to those allegations, saying, "The sales tactics were too aggressive."

And GigaOM notes Uber has come after Lyft in the past. The company offered a $500 bonus to Lyft drivers who switched to Uber and evenlaunched a "shave the 'stache" campaign encouraging drivers to make the switch.

In the end, Uber is vehemently denying it's using such tactics, and Lyft is vehemently insisting it is. Lyft's data versus Uber's word — looks like you'll have to decide.

This video includes images from Getty Images.