13 Instances Where Uber Screwed Up (A Brief Throwback)


Uber Screwed Up

Uber CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick resigned this week under the pressure from the major investors. Though he will be on the board of directors, his departure throws in some serious questions at the company.

Uber had earlier been accused of a toxic workplace culture, bringing on cut-throat business tactics and lastly the never-ending public embarrassments. The world’s largest cab aggregator service at present has stagnated to a point of crisis and battling to protect the company’s image.


A Brief Throwback to the embarrassments

Uber Drivers Class-Action – August 2013

On August 16, some Uber drivers filed a class-action lawsuit in the federal court for which they had been misclassified earlier as the independent contractors. The case got dragged for over three years and Uber finally agreed to a $100 million settlement, but the court declined.

Uber Runs over a toddler – December 2013

On the New Year’s Eve, an Uber ran over a 6-year-old girl killing her and seriously injuring her mother and brother. When the family sued Uber, they fought back claiming the driver wasn’t working for Uber at that time, as the Uber app was open but no ride was booked and no passenger was in the car. So technically he wasn’t working for Uber at that moment. It threw in some serious questions about how Uber would be held liable for such damages.

Kalanick’s sexist comments – February 2014

With the success of Uber, in a GQ profile of Kalanick published in February 2014, a reporter suggested that CEO Kalanick might be finding a lot of success with women as his company is doing so well. To which, Kalanick’s responded with, “Yeah, we call that Boob-er.”

Convoluted Tactics against competitors – January 2014

In January, Techcrunch confirmed that Uber employees are routinely and deliberately ordering thousands of rides from the competitors Gett and Lyft, and cancel them later, so that they can mess up with their operations.

Surge Pricing Multiples – July 2014

Uber attracted a lot of criticism for bringing in the surge pricing, which increases the Uber fare drastically when the rider demand is high. Uber was heavily criticised for the using high surge pricing during the emergency of Hurricane Sandy incident.

Uber’s Operation SLOG – August 2014

Verge reported, how Uber is carrying on a secret internal project called Operation SLOG, which aims to lure away the drivers away from Lyft and gather the intelligence plans, on how Lyft operates.

Stocking Users  -October 2014

Forbes reported, that Uber stalked its users. They have a GPS trick with which they can track any of the user’s location when they are on the go. This led to a massive outcry from the public, and finally Uber agreed to pay a $20,000 fine after an investigation was carried out by the New York’s attorney general.

Personal Attacks on people who criticised Uber November 2014

Uber’s senior VP Emil Michael suggested at a private dinner, that the company will soon hire a team of the opposition researchers and journalists, so they can dig into the personal lives of people who criticise Uber. The company has continuously targeted the journalists who write negative pieces about Uber. Michael was later forced to apologise.

Uber Delhi Rape case – December 2014

Uber was banned in Delhi after a Uber driver raped a female passenger. This threw in some serious questions, on how Uber checks the driver’s background, and are they strict enough.

Poaching scientists May 2015

Uber hired some dozens of Carnegie Mellon University scientists so that they can bolster their self-driving-car thing, which reportedly led to the crisis of one of the world’s biggest robotics institutions.

Killer Uber Driver – February 2016

 Uber driver was accused of killing six people in a Kalamazoo, Michigan. This again rose some serious questions, on how Uber carries out its driver’s background check process.

Falsifying Numbers – June 2016

BuzzFeed published a report, of how much an Uber driver makes. They figures didn’t even match to what Uber claims.

2017 saw complications piling up on one another, which finally led to the resignation of CEO Travis Kalanick

  • February 19 – Google’s own driving spinoff Waymo files a lawsuit against Uber, claiming that they stole Waymo’s trade secrets.
  • February 28 – Senior Executive Amit Singhal leaves Uber after he failed to disclose the sexual harassment allegation filed against him at his ex-company Google.
  • June 7 – Uber fired the executive who allegedly obtained the private medical records of the Delhi rape victim of 2014 illegally.
  • June 12 – Senior VP Emil Michael leaves Uber.
  • June 20 – The company launches an “180 days of change” PR campaign, which aims to rehabilitate the image of the company and introduced the option of tipping drivers on their platform.
  • June 21 – Travis Kalanick finally resigns as the CEO.

Uber, one of the biggest startup success stories have dug a hole for themselves and only time will tell how they come out of this!

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