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Uber Has a Playbook For Sabotaging Lyft, Says Report

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the ethics-schmethics dept.

Businesses 182

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes The folks over at The Verge claim that "Uber is arming teams of independent contractors with burner phones and credit cards as part of its sophisticated effort to undermine Lyft and other competitors." Interviews and documents apparently show Uber reps ordering and canceling Lyft rides by the thousands, following a playbook with advice designed to prevent Lyft from flagging their accounts. 'Uber appears to be replicating its program across the country. One email obtained by The Verge links to an online form for requesting burner phones, credit cards, and driver kits — everything an Uber driver needs to get started, which recruiters often carry with them.' Is this an example of legal-but-hard-hitting business tactics, or is Uber overstepping its bounds? The so-called sharing economy seems just as cutthroat — if not more so — than any other industry out there.

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Illegal (1, Informative)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 3 months ago | (#47760563)

If their contracts are reasonably well written, I bet they are guilty of at least a misdemeanor.

Re:Illegal (4, Informative)

belmolis (702863) | about 3 months ago | (#47760609)

A misdemeanor is a criminal offence. Breach of contract is not a criminal offence.

Re:Illegal (4, Informative)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 3 months ago | (#47761075)

Well it appears they have entered into the contract with the explicit purpose to disrupt their business, it is arguably fraud or at least tortuous interference, it could be argued as either a criminal or civil offense.

Re:Illegal (-1)

Lenny369 (3023031) | about 3 months ago | (#47761283)

To all of you claiming this is blatant harm via fraud, it's not, and Uber has protected itself from this. They made it clear in their instructions that their goal is NOT to order and then cancel rides, and instruct the consultants to take steps to avoid this, because it actually hurts them as well because they are more likely to get caught by cancelling rides. So the cancelled rides are just an unfortunate byproduct that they are trying to AVOID. Thus they have absolved themselves of any potential litigation. From their instructions to their drivers (http://www.theverge.com/2014/8/26/6067663/this-is-ubers-playbook-for-sabotaging-lyft): "b. Wait a period of time before you request so you do not have to cancel on the same driver if you get them again i. Big Markets you can wait 5 minutes or less ii. Newer or small markets 5-10 minutes - Watch the app iii. Use your "Street Smarts" c. Go to another area to request your next trip"

Re:Illegal (3, Informative)

Culture20 (968837) | about 3 months ago | (#47761367)

"b. Wait a period of time before you request so you do not have to cancel on the same driver if you get them again

Which clearly implies the uber contractor is expected to have canceled on the Lyft driver at least once.

Re:Illegal (1)

jxander (2605655) | about 3 months ago | (#47761629)

Is that quote in TFA somewhere? I'm not seeing it, though I have a lot of their flash blocked.

As best as I can tell from the article, the entire devious plans boil down to "Book Lyft ride. Preach the gloriousness of Uber to the driver. Repeat"

So you have to wait to make sure you get a different driver. Otherwise you'd be preaching to the same driver.

Re:Illegal (4, Informative)

Solandri (704621) | about 3 months ago | (#47761083)

Breach of contract is not a criminal offense. Entering into a contract with the intent to breach it from the onset is fraud, and a criminal offense. Obviously the threshold of proof for the latter is a lot higher.

Re:Illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47761117)

What about EPA violations by tricking another company to burn excess fuel unecessarily?

Re:Illegal (5, Interesting)

taustin (171655) | about 3 months ago | (#47761297)

Signing a contract with the specific intention of violating it can be. It can also be a felony, depending on the amount of money involved. If Uber is involved in coordinating this, in theory, they could end up facing RICO charges as a criminal syndicate.

The kind of thinking that leads to this kind of dishonesty is why the taxi industry has been so tightly regulated for so long.

If they're willing to do this to each other, to cost each other money, imagine what they're willing to do to you, the fare, who have money for them to take.

Re:What goes around (2)

Technician (215283) | about 3 months ago | (#47761365)

If they get away from this and this is how low the bar is set, I can imagine the established taxi service with a central dispatch system will employ the tactic on the orignator, and have some backlash protection quickly able to blacklist blocks of cell numbers on throw away accounts and whitelisting many bars and other public access phones.

Blacklisted - Do not respond, long drive to arrive.. Trac Phone number or Magic Jack number, or already abused number.

Tenative, unknown new customer on questionable prefix. Respond if very local to a driver. No long drives and limit wating time.

Whitelist, Joe's Bar where Joe calls the cab for someone, gives customer's ID, or a taxi regular.

Re:Illegal (4, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | about 3 months ago | (#47760649)

Tortious interference.

Re:Illegal (5, Funny)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 3 months ago | (#47760845)

Same reason I'm not allowed in the reptile house at London Zoo any more.

Re:Illegal (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47761757)

Why would they allow monkeys in the reptile house to begin with?

Re:Illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47760659)

It's wire fraud.

Re:Illegal (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 3 months ago | (#47760669)

Dunno if you can apply a criminal statute to it, but there has to be some precedent formed around taxi companies getting borked out of a fare that way, or perhaps something similar to how pizza delivery was once crank-called... it would depend on the locale, though, and I doubt you'd find anything beyond local laws to support it.

Re:Illegal (3, Interesting)

xevioso (598654) | about 3 months ago | (#47760793)

I do not believe that "bork" is a legal term with any validity.

Re:Illegal (4, Informative)

MerlynEmrys67 (583469) | about 3 months ago | (#47760857)

I do not believe that "bork" is a legal term with any validity.

I guess you missed the legal origin of the term "To Bork" Bork as a Verb [wikipedia.org]
If it happened to a Judge - it is a legal term.
(Not properly used here though)

Re:Illegal (5, Funny)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 3 months ago | (#47760685)

Except what will happen is Uber will come out and say that after an internal investigation, they found a few rogue employees had the program up on their own time, and Uber has now put a stop to it, etc.. It's how these things work. It's really no different than getting cut off while driving, tracking the plate number through the DMV for a physical address, and then setting up your stripper friend to show up while during their family dinner.

We've all done that.

Re:Illegal (5, Funny)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | about 3 months ago | (#47760701)

It's really no different than getting cut off while driving, tracking the plate number through the DMV for a physical address, and then setting up your stripper friend to show up while during their family dinner.

If I'd known it would cause strippers to show up for free at my house for dinner, I'd have started cutting people off the moment I got my driver's license.

Re:Illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47760887)

I suspect it's more likely that this is a bogus accusation being pushed by Uber to get the competitors to try the same thing against them so that they can press charges. Or, some sort of gambit to try and get Uber et al covered by fare/flag pick-up regulations like Taxis---so it is at least notionally codified into law that these services can and do operate.

Re:Illegal (2)

mi (197448) | about 3 months ago | (#47761153)

Except what will happen is Uber will come out and say that after an internal investigation, they found a few rogue employees had the program up on their own time, and Uber has now put a stop to it, etc..

This only works for government agencies, who are "investigated" by legislatures with all of the concomitant political theater — not private companies, who have to work with courts.

One more good illustration, why government should be responsible for as little as at all possible, BTW.

Re:Illegal (1)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 3 months ago | (#47761599)

If their employees did it they are responsible for it.

I'd be surprised at this point if Lyft doesn't sue them and use this story as an excuse to get discovery on their entire email system and website.

Not Sharing (4, Insightful)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 3 months ago | (#47760571)

The so-called sharing economy seems just as cutthroat

If more money than the partial cost of gas changes hands it is no longer sharing.

Re:Not Sharing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47760615)

If more money than the partial cost of gas changes hands it is no longer sharing.

Shouldn't this be: "percentage of the IRS standard mileage rate"?

Re:Not Sharing (1)

msauve (701917) | about 3 months ago | (#47760671)

Because there are no automobile costs associated with depreciation, storage, maintenance, insurance, registration, etc?

Come to think of it, that sounds like that new carless driver Google's been working on.

Re:Not Sharing (4, Insightful)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 3 months ago | (#47760757)

How about this. If you are making a profit from taking someone where they want to go it is no longer sharing it is working.

Re:Not Sharing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47760827)

If you are making a profit from taking someone where they want to go it is no longer sharing it is working.

Exactly, and working is evil. The government should make them stop.

Re:Not Sharing (2)

mark-t (151149) | about 3 months ago | (#47761231)

There's nothing wrong with working.... as long as you are paying all the appropriate amounts of income tax.

Re:Not Sharing (1)

eepok (545733) | about 3 months ago | (#47761145)

This is correct. It's only carpooling or "sharing the ride" if it's non-profit. That's why taxi-riding is not a valid form of "rideshare". The only REAL carpool/rideshare app I've seen is called Carma (https://carmacarpool.com/). Reimbursements are automatic per GPS and specific to the IRS mileage reimbursement. More people in the car? Cool -- it splits the cost automagically.

Re:Not Sharing (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about 3 months ago | (#47761763)

It's only carpooling or "sharing the ride" if it's non-profit.

That's one possible definition. Let me suggest another: It's only sharing if the driver would drive to the same (or very nearby) location without the other people in the car.

uh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47760583)

sounds not-so-legal. i would imagine lyft just needs to add something to their TOS, and all uber employees can by put death for this practice. well, maybe not death, but they can at least be sent to reeducation camps, right?

It seems to me (2)

xevioso (598654) | about 3 months ago | (#47760613)

that Uber is really opening itself up to legal risk by doing this. This is essentially organized fraud. It's one thing to intend to purchase a lift and then cancel it at the last second, but by actually organizing mass cancellations when you really have no intention of purchasing a ride, you are really going down a path of massive fraud. I

Re:It seems to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47760873)

Not just that but you are potentially defrauding the contractor's time and money while they try and get to the destination to pick up their fare. Lyft won't compensate for that.

Re:It seems to me (2)

crbowman (7970) | about 3 months ago | (#47761155)

And when they conspired with others to commit a crime did it also become a RICO crime? (I must admit I don't know what the hurdle is to make something RICO)

Re:It seems to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47761303)

(I must admit I don't know what the hurdle is to make something RICO)

If the D.A. can't get away with beating the shit out of his wife today and wants to take his rage out on someone else, that's the hurdle.

Same as it ever was (3, Insightful)

c0d3g33k (102699) | about 3 months ago | (#47760629)

or

"Meet the new boss, same as the old boss"

I think the the Talking Heads and The Who said it all.

My view: If you catch the crest of the wave of the various "sharing economy" services that are popping up, like AirBnB or Uber, you will likely have a good experience. But as they grow and other pressures come to the fore, thus poisoning the well, it's time to get out and move on.

Re:Same as it ever was (1)

msauve (701917) | about 3 months ago | (#47760921)

"And you may ask yourself
Where is that large automobile? "

Re:Same as it ever was (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47761529)

Letting the gays go by!
Pink mustaches on their cars...

How is this not conspiracy to commit fraud? (4, Insightful)

Assmasher (456699) | about 3 months ago | (#47760631)

...or am I missing something?

Re:How is this not conspiracy to commit fraud? (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 3 months ago | (#47761089)

Nobody is directly profiting from these actions. I think proving a fraud charge would be pretty tough.

And it's not theft of services because they're not actually getting any service.

And as much as we wish it was, "being a dick" is not illegal.

Re:How is this not conspiracy to commit fraud? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47761175)

Profiting directly, per say, is not the litmus test of criminal behavior.

If it can be proven there is an organized attempt to defraud Lyft and/or their subcontractors (time is money), the organized crime statutes come into play.

And that's a felony.

Preserving mods here. RM

Re:How is this not conspiracy to commit fraud? (3, Insightful)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | about 3 months ago | (#47761257)

Probably can't get them for criminal fraud, but civil fraud [wikipedia.org] or tortious interference [wikipedia.org] would probably apply.

Being a dick may not be a crime, but sometimes it's a tort.

Re:How is this not conspiracy to commit fraud? (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 3 months ago | (#47761553)

The root post was about criminal charges.

I'm sure a civil case is in the works. I don't envy any of the lawyers involved. It will be a tough case.

Is it printed, like physically? Get a copy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47760635)

Bring it to court. Boom, judgment.

The sharing economy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47760639)

The sharing economy is all about sharing the risk - less about sharing the profit.

Sounds like unfair competition to me ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47760643)

which is a cause of action in Illinois and most of the other states I know of. Using fraud to injure an opponents business by forcing them to waste resources starting and stopping trips is stupidly bad.

Then again, its a bunch of gypsy cabs. WTF did you expect?

No rules (2)

drolli (522659) | about 3 months ago | (#47760661)

I always thought that rules are for cowards (if you belied the Uber etc. lobbyists). The good thing about bein a taxi is that the situation in this case would be pretty clear, i guess.

Now that's what I call (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47760673)

Now that's what I call competition.

Clearly I'm a pedant, but (2)

tylikcat (1578365) | about 3 months ago | (#47760677)

'"What’s simply untrue is that not only does Uber know about this, they’re actively encouraging these actions day-to-day and, in doing so, are flat-out lying both to their customers, the media, and their investors," the contractor said.'

Okay, so it's implied that was is untrue is that Uberdoesn't know about this, but that's certainly not what was said...

(Which is not to dispute facts, mostly because I don't have facts to dispute. Though I would like them - I've enjoyed using Uber, but this would certainly encourage me to steer clear.)

ToS violation? (3, Insightful)

MoFoQ (584566) | about 3 months ago | (#47760681)

As much as I hate to see it used, a Terms of Service (ToS) violation and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) may still apply especially since they are using tactics to avoid detection (aka use of "burner phones" and credit card numbers)

It may also be a violation of the various credit card companies' ToS as well.

Re:ToS violation? (2)

mythosaz (572040) | about 3 months ago | (#47760753)

The use of burner phones and supplied credit cards simply seems to be an anti-detection tactic.

The documents posted on TheVerge seem to boil down to, "Book a ride on Lyft, and use that ride as an opportunity to preach switching to Uber while you have a captive audience."

The documents posted only mention having to cancel if you get the same driver responding to you after you've attempted to proselytize them already -- and suggest you should use Uber to move about town so that happens infrequently.

Doesn't seem much worse than giving a Jehovah's Witness a ride. :/

Re:ToS violation? (1)

MoFoQ (584566) | about 3 months ago | (#47761037)

From https://www.lyft.com/terms [lyft.com]

You further agree that Your Information and Your interactions on the Lyft Platform shall not: be false, inaccurate or misleading (directly or by omission or failure to update information);

Re:ToS violation? (2)

mythosaz (572040) | about 3 months ago | (#47761053)

As long as I'm getting a ride and paying for it, I'm imagine I'm also free to try to proselytize.

But I can certainly see the other side of it.

Sharing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47760691)

What is sharing about any of this? NONE of this is "ride sharing" or even remotely close to anything resembling ride-sharing and they surely are not sharing customers or territory. That can NEVER happen when money is involved, if money or other incentive is involved, then someone ALWAYS wants more and that means enticing, begging, borrowing, and stealing customers and area.

Uber and the whole lot are NOTHING more than a new spin on taxis. They are all soon going to come under heavy regulation.

Re:Sharing? (1)

FuegoFuerte (247200) | about 3 months ago | (#47761425)

I wouldn't really call them a new spin on taxis. They're more like the remises in Argentina, and unlicensed (and technically illegal) taxis in many other countries. Basically, you have the licensed and regulated taxis, where you have a relatively strong assurance that you'll get where you want to go for a controlled/metered rate, in a reasonably safe and well maintained vehicle, and if you have a problem you can write down the cab number and make a complaint to a regulator. You also pay a fairly hefty fee for all this.

If you're willing to take a bit more risk, you can flag down a remis, pay a couple pesos per person, and they'll take you from where you are to downtown, or from downtown back out to the residential area you live in. The drivers make these trips all day, fill the car as full of people as it can possibly be filled (they pick up additional people along the way until the car is completely full and then some). They run on the cheapest fuel possible (in Argentina, typically LPG), and are not necessarily well-maintained. So there's risk. And, while you typically get where you want to be OK, there's plenty of opportunity for an unscrupulous person to take advantage of individual riders (or even groups if they're organized well and coordinating with someone else). So again... it's a risk.

There's a reason taxi cabs are regulated as heavily as they are, and in general it's probably a good thing for public safety even though they're freakishly expensive.

Uber cannot compete with Lyft (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47760693)

Lyft is the better of the two services by far. Lyft is by and for humans. Uber is for the bourgeousie. Full stop. They cannot compete with the humanness of Lyft.

Re:Uber cannot compete with Lyft (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 3 months ago | (#47761107)

Although it is fun to ride on humans, If I need to get from A to B, I'll choose a car.

Who was the retard that wrote the sumamry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47760695)

Of course it's not legal you fucking idiot.

Re:Who was the retard that wrote the sumamry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47761259)

I told your mom to put sumamry in my face.

Re:Who was the retard that wrote the sumamry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47761653)

That's.... interesting. Whats a sumamry?

refreshing (0)

onepoint (301486) | about 3 months ago | (#47760709)

I find it refreshing that "dirty tricks" are still used in this day an age.
I don't welcome it, but it's good to know that this is still used, Now you ask why? Simple really, what they are doing (which I don't think is illegal, but I wish it was), is abusing the competitions, making them waste resources (time and gas). Right now the only person suffering is the driver. I would think that if this game was played on taxi companies, someone would be visiting with a bat.

It's fun and games until someone figures out how to counter, then the consumer will get screwed.

I kinda see this as a weird form of a DOSS attack, but seems viable.

Rinse, Repeat (5, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 3 months ago | (#47760751)

Hilarious. No, not the shady tactics - the fact that companies like Uber and Lyft whine about being regulated as taxi services, arguing that they are not taxi services, then getting into the same sort of idiotic, self-harming feuds that forced the government to start regulating taxi services.

History, on a loop!

Re:Rinse, Repeat (1)

desdinova 216 (2000908) | about 3 months ago | (#47760913)

those who can not remember the past are doomed to repeat it. so true.

Re:Rinse, Repeat (1)

Quirkz (1206400) | about 3 months ago | (#47760949)

Those who cannot remember the aphorism are doomed to, er, how does that go again?

Re:Rinse, Repeat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47761309)

See other side for more information

Re:Rinse, Repeat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47761429)

those who can not remember their pants are doomed to orange jumpsuits.

Unregulated Assholes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47760789)

Let a bunch of unregulated assholes act like unregulated assholes, and they're going to act like unregulated assholes.

Outstanding.

Water is wet and cheaters cheat (1)

alphazulu0 (3675815) | about 3 months ago | (#47760795)

1. Gain an advantage over legal competitors by ignoring regulations in your industry.
2. Gain an advantage over fellow illegal competitors with dirty tricks.
3. PROFIT!!!!

az0

Re:Water is wet and cheaters cheat (1)

DrXym (126579) | about 3 months ago | (#47760851)

Ah but you see they're disruptive innovators which makes it perfectly okay to ignore rules and regulations put in place to ensure cars are safe, and driven safely by knowledgeable non-rapists.

the Fluffer (0)

Bodhammer (559311) | about 3 months ago | (#47760807)

Wow, already adopting the Fluffer's vicious campaign tactics! Well I guess if you can't compete on value, you might as well cheat! The Fluffer is going to do for Uber what Obama's done for the country - too bad...

ordering without intent is called fraud (3, Insightful)

bugnuts (94678) | about 3 months ago | (#47760833)

That is almost certainly illegal. If nothing else, it'd be tortuous interference, clearly designed to harm. Using burner phones is contributory evidence to fraud by showing mal intent.

screw both of them, call a taxi. (3, Insightful)

xeno (2667) | about 3 months ago | (#47760837)

I hate hipsters, assholes, and golddiggers. And I hate people that try to get ahead by stepping on other people's heads.
Watching the fight between Uber and Lyft, it feels like the appropriate way to do a little bit of social good is simply calling Yellow Cab.

Re:screw both of them, call a taxi. (0)

c0d3g33k (102699) | about 3 months ago | (#47761001)

I tried that experiment this spring, because an event I was attending offered an Uber discount. Took a Yellow Cab to the event, took an Uber ride back to Grand Central.

The Uber experience was better, cheaper and faster. At this moment in time, which is the crucial factor. Uber needs to be consistently and universally better than the yellow cab experience, otherwise they are fucked. In the mean time, they beat the pants off of yellow cab - I used the Uber app on my smart phone to catch a ride and caught that ride with no friction whatsoever. Best experience in my life for quick, on demand public transport ever. Ever. Ever.

It will not always be this way, but right now, Uber was better, and I was skeptical that this would be the case. But they came through.

Re:screw both of them, call a taxi. (1)

OhPlz (168413) | about 3 months ago | (#47761389)

Yea, the owner of the medallion needs his fortune for doing no work what-so-ever, meanwhile the poor immigrant driving the cab earns too little to live on. There's some social good for you.

Re:screw both of them, call a taxi. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47761487)

Depending on the sanction of the state for the success of your business has historically been an iffy proposition. The weeping and wailing about the unfairness of it all is a common refrain among those who get so burned.

Work around the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47760855)

If cancellations are so detrimental to the business, then why not require that customers sign up using their credit card, and every cancellation they make on a reservation costs $5, $10, $20 - whatever amount is necessary to make it cost a fortune to undermine the company's business?

Uber hired Obama campaign man Plouffe (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47760861)

With David Plouffe [uber.com] onboard at Uber, a blizzard of blatant shameless dishonesty as part of a win-at-all-costs campaign is a certainty. Remember those "if you like your doctor..." and "if you like your health insurance..." Obama lies? (and YES, they WERE lies becuase the documents came out that show team Obama knew they were false claims at the time they made them). Plouffe was on THAT team. The guy is as filthy and dishonest as Karl Rove.

This isn't a sharing economy. (4, Informative)

westlake (615356) | about 3 months ago | (#47760893)

The so-called sharing economy seems just as cutthroat --- if not more so --- than any other industry out there.

The geek's definition of "sharing" has always been --- flexible.

Taxi services were cutthroat in the old days. Fleecing their customers and constantly at war with each other. That is why they came under regulation.

Didn't anyone bother to actually read the article? (2)

jcochran (309950) | about 3 months ago | (#47760897)

The summary here is about as deceptive as I could possibly imagine. What Uber is attempting to do isn't to initiate a lot of bogus trips and then cancel. They're attempting to recruit drivers from other companies and have them become drivers for Uber. The use of burner phones and credit cards are to prevent the easy detection of recruiters. Not to make fake trip requests.

Personally, I believe that such tactics are legal, but morally suspect (if the tactics were illegal, it would also be illegal for a company to attempt to recruit employees from other companies. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H... [wikipedia.org] )

Re:Didn't anyone bother to actually read the artic (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | about 3 months ago | (#47761377)

there is nothing immoral about offering a worker a better job. if uber does not want to lose their drivers to the competition they can pay better

Re:Didn't anyone bother to actually read the artic (1)

dunkindave (1801608) | about 3 months ago | (#47761633)

there is nothing immoral about offering a worker a better job. if uber does not want to lose their drivers to the competition they can pay better

Except the story is about Uber trying to poach Lyft drivers, not Lyft trying to steal Uber drivers.

Strange choice of enemy (4, Insightful)

Ion Berkley (35404) | about 3 months ago | (#47760907)

You would think that Lyft was the last people that Uber has to worry about with all the entrenched taxi monopolies and the regulators after their blood.

Libertarianism in Action - (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47760923)

Of course, you could also successfully argue that government just codifies cheating, in which case we're damned if we do and damned if we don't. Fair play is always an afterthought.

It's a civil offense... (1)

barfy (256323) | about 3 months ago | (#47760937)

It would seem to be pretty easy to prove, and cost Uber money... The point under test is Tortious interference...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T... [wikipedia.org]

Regulation (3, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | about 3 months ago | (#47760959)

It's almost like, if you don't regulate taxis, then they do all kinds of nasty stuff you wouldn't want them doing!

Re:Regulation (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 3 months ago | (#47761071)

Exactly. People who profess a desire for a free market, have never actually seen one.

owner (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47761017)

Yeah, it has been apparent for some time now that Uber is run by scumbags.

It's called fraud (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 months ago | (#47761025)

Since they have no intention of actual using the service, then it's fraud.

Re:It's called fraud (2)

mythosaz (572040) | about 3 months ago | (#47761101)

Except, it's clear they have an intention of using the service.

They want to use their bought-and-paid-for ride as an opportunity to proselytize a captive audience.

1 - Book ride,
2 - During ride to follow script for conversion of driver from Lyft to Uber.
3 - If in a busy taxi market, wait a few minutes before booking a new ride to avoid getting the same driver.
4 - Else use Uber to get a ride to a new part of town.
5 - Repeat.

Burner phones are required if the driver in step 2 rats them out as "bad passengers."

Both Uber and Lyft do this to each other (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 3 months ago | (#47761055)

Evil knows no limits.

Those who profess Good in actions, rarely practice it, unless jailed repeatedly for high financial crimes and assets liquidated and given away to the poor.

Do you really need to ask? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47761103)

...

Antitrust (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47761125)

If two companies (such as Uber and one or more "contractors") conspire to prevent another company (Lyft) from doing business with yet another party (the passengers), this could potentially be a violation of antitrust laws.

Taxi business (1)

Tailhook (98486) | about 3 months ago | (#47761143)

The taxi business has always been cut-throat. Taxi, "car for hire," ridesharing — call it what you will — at the end of the day it's gypsy cab operators squabbling over fares.

So glad (1)

MitchDev (2526834) | about 3 months ago | (#47761177)

I don't use Uber, as they are a bunch of fucking scumbags.

Have no use for Lyft either, but hopefully some law firm crushes those assholes at Uber.

Ripe for abuse (1)

pla (258480) | about 3 months ago | (#47761183)

So what stops me from just picking up one of these "burner" phones and (presumably prepaid) credit cards to actually use for legitimate purposes?

Hell, even if they just send me a bottom-of-the-barrel tracphone, hey, free $30 flip-phone to keep in the car for emergencies (911 will work on any activated US cell phone, regardless of its in-service status)!

Re:Ripe for abuse (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 3 months ago | (#47761395)

Well, for starters, you'd need to be a temp contractor working for TargetCW, and then you'd have to run away with the phone and credit card your employer provided you with for doing your job. :/

I drove cabs and limousines... (4, Interesting)

Roblimo (357) | about 3 months ago | (#47761215)

I know the cab and limo business pretty well (check my /. user name), and I give Uber and Lyft another two years before they start fading. Drivers will get tired of paying high commissions, having all their income reported to the IRS, and beating up their cars like crazy. I survived and did well in the limo biz largely because I could do most of my own repairs and knew low-cost shops that could handle the rest. If I wanted to go back to driving for money (no need - between SS and the "side" freelance work I do, I'm fine) I'd probably work work with Uber until I built up my own "book" of business, that is, personal customers. Then I'd say "sayonara" to Uber, just as I did to the cab company as soon as I had enough personal business to tell them to go screw themselves and a threatened RICO suit against the Baltimore cab companies and the MD Public Service Commission opened the business to anyone with an inspected car, good commercial insurance, and a clean criminal record.

My little group of owner/drivers competed successfully with Boston Coach, Carey, and other national companies. I have no doubt that I could compete successfully with Uber, too. Lyft? A low-rent gypsy cab service. I could beat them, too, but why bother? I did a little gypsy cab work many years ago, but didn't love it.

Denial of Service Atack (1)

jd (1658) | about 3 months ago | (#47761273)

False Representation
Denial of Service
Fraudulant Use/Misuse of Computer Resources
Malicious Bypass of Security Protocols

Illegal? Yes.
Hanging offence? It should be.
Grist for the London cab companies for unfair competition? Ohhhhhh, I hope they've been informed. That could be so fun to watch.

Hardly surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47761277)

We're running into a new time of pothead business decisions, where young drug addicts who have flaunted the law now apply the same mindset they had toward drug use to business. They think they can bend and break the law as long as it results in personal gain, and they don't care who gets hurt.

It will be interesting to see how society responds to these selfish, greedy, pot-smoking businessmen who will literally break any law to make a buck.

Fraud (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47761339)

Fraudulently entering into a contract. Conspiracy to commit fraud. Tortious interference of a contract (asking someone to enter then dissolve a contract). More?
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