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  • Geebo 9:05 am on July 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Uber, vomit fraud   

    Uber drivers accused of using sick scam to fleece riders 

    Uber drivers accused of using sick scam to fleece riders

    Ride-sharing service Uber is no stranger to controversy. From its former CEO having to step down amid accusations of harassment against female employees to a driver who was recently live streaming his passengers without their permission, Uber has been a PR nightmare for the past couple of years. Now, a report out of Miami says some drivers are committing a scam that leaves customers sick to their stomachs.

    According to the Miami Herald, some drivers are committing what’s been dubbed ‘vomit fraud’. An Uber driver can claim that a passenger was physically ill in the driver’s car and add a hefty cleaning fee to the passenger’s bill. Driver’s try to get away with this by sending photos of the ‘evidence’ to Uber who add the charge to the customer’s fee. Often these pictures are fake and customers who try to dispute the fee find themselves entangled in a customer service nightmare trying to get the charges taken off as Uber usually sides with their drivers.

    Mashable takes the Herald’s report even a little further by reporting on Uber drivers who claim to have committed the fraud on an anonymous Reddit board for Uber Drivers. While some drivers are said to do it just for the money, others say they do it out of spite to rude customers.

    So if you want to avoid fraudulent charges like this if you use Uber, keep a close eye on your debit or credit card statements and don’t be afraid to wage an uphill battle with Uber’s customer service. If that doesn’t work you can always dispute the charge with your credit card company or bank.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on May 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Uber   

    DOJ launches criminal investigation into Uber 

    DOJ launches criminal investigation into Uber

    If you haven’t been following the plethora of problems that have plagued ride sharing service Uber, they got into a bit of hot water not too long ago for allegedly using a program called Greyball. Investigators with the city of Portland, Oregon, accused Uber of using Greyball to try to identify city inspectors and obfuscate their findings. Uber defended Greyball saying they were using it to protect themselves against user and driver fraud but still vowed to discontinue the program. Apparently, that apology was not enough for some people, as the Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation into Uber’s alleged use of Greyball.

    While Uber has not yet been charged with any criminal activity, they have been subpoenaed by a Northern California grand jury. No details have been made available regarding the subpoena, however, many tech news outlets are speculating Uber may have violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act by using Greyball. Neither the US Attorney’s Office nor Uber is commenting on the pending investigation.

    So far, Uber appears to be coated in teflon when it comes to any controversy sticking to them. People continue to use the platform by the millions despite all the accusations of anti-competitiveness and their alleged culture that has fostered sexual harassment. What would it actually take for people to stop using Uber to the point where the company would no longer financially viable to exist? Probably not a criminal fraud conviction.

  • Geebo 8:59 am on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: flying cars, Uber   

    Is Uber’s flying car announcement a case of wagging the dog? 

    Is Uber's flying car announcement a case of wagging the dog?

    Say that your multi-billion dollar transportation company has been embroiled in some recent controversies ranging from dubious immigration policy decisions to a an alleged culture of sexual harassment and misogyny. What should be your next step in trying to get the public back on your side? Announcing a fleet of flying cars of course. The much embattled Uber recently announced a plan to have a fleet of flying vehicles in both Dallas and Dubai by 2020.

    While Uber has had this announcement in the works for some time now, the timing of this announcement seems to have the added benefit of distracting the pubic from the real problems plaguing Uber’s corporate culture. That’s not even mentioning that the flying cars are not cars at all but flying vehicles called VTOLs, which is short for Vertical Take Off and Landing. Most of these VTOLs are still in the testing phase and could be more than three years from being commercially viable.

    This service could be a hit in Dubai as their citizens tend to enjoy an extravagant lifestyle, however, there’s a major hurdle that Uber needs to clear for this to be a viable program in the US. The Federal Aviation Administration,aka the FAA, has never had a favorable view of these types of vehicles. In the past they have claimed the vehicles could interfere with commercial air traffic that could cause a catastrophic event if the pilots are not careful. As awash with capital as Uber is, it’s doubtful that the FAA under any administration will ever allow these vehicles to be used as a form of mass transit in the US.

  • Geebo 8:59 am on April 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Tim Cook, Travis Kalanick, Uber   

    If you wanted another reason to delete Uber this may be it, as long as you don’t have an iPhone 

    If you wanted another reason to delete Uber this may be it, as long as you don't have an iPhone

    The problem with being the CEO of a controversial multi-billion dollar Silicon Valley startup is once controversy darkens your door it inevitably seems their business-related skeletons come crashing out of the closet, or boardroom as it may be. The New York Times has reported that Apple CEO Tim Cook accused Uber CEO Travis Kalanick of tracking iPhone users even after the Uber app was deleted from the device. In 2015, Cook was said to be so annoyed over the matter that he threatened to drop Uber from the Apple app store if they didn’t comply.

    This is just one more black eye to the company that was once heralded as being on the edge of ingenuity. From multiple sexual harassment accusations to lawsuits from Google over alleged stolen technology to the company allegedly taking advantage of their drivers. Uber has vehemently denied Apple’s accusation saying it wasn’t tracking iPhone users but were protecting themselves from people who would use stolen phones to try to get out of paying for expensive rides. Uber specifically has said this is mostly a problem in China.

    While Uber may seem like a morally ambiguous company at best, are any of these scandals really hurting their business? Do the everyday users of Uber know of the company’s many PR woes and if they do has it discouraged anyone from continuing to use the ride sharing app? So far competitors have failed to capitalize on Uber’s supposed downfall. Competing services like Lyft have started to make moves into formerly exclusive Uber markets but is Uber’s cache so great that their brand will be like the Xerox of their industry? Only time will tell.

  • Geebo 10:01 am on March 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: self driving cars, , Uber   

    Uber having more PR issues over the weekend 

    Uber having more PR issues over the weekend

    It feels like that Uber has become the new Yahoo by having anew controversy on almost a weekly basis. The first problem that Uber encountered this weekend is that one of its self-driving cars crashed in Arizona.

    Even though the crash was he fault of another driver, what most consumers hear is that a self-driving Uber car crashed, just like many consumers seem to think that Teslas are dangerous because one of their driver assisted cars crashed even though that was due to driver error. In the future you might see the Arizona Uber crash being used by detractors of either Uber or self driving cars in general as a reason not to have either one.

    The second controversy that broke over the weekend may have more damaging effects than a minor car crash. It’s being reported that in 2014, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, allegedly visited a karaoke-escort bar in the South Korean capital of Seoul with five Uber Managers. Four of the managers were male and the fifth was female. In these types of bars, a customer selects a woman by the number she’s wearing to sing karaoke with and she’s expected to keep the customer company while at the bar. While no criminal activity reportedly took place, these types of bars have a long history with the sex trafficking trade.

    The female manager claims that she felt very uncomfortable seeing these women called out by number and reported it to Uber human resources a year later. It’s come to light recently due to Uber management allegedly being skittish about the story being discovered in light of the recent accusations of sexual harassment.

    The question still remains, that even with all its recent controversies will any of this have a significant impact on Uber’s bottom line as their customers continue to flock to the ride sharing app.

  • Geebo 9:58 am on March 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Jeff Jones, Uber   

    Is Uber’s facade starting to crack as top executive quits? 

    Is Uber's facade starting to crack as top executive quits?

    Over the weekend, Uber’s President, Jeff Jones, announced that he was leaving the company only six months after taking the position. His resignation is said to be directly caused by the recent controversies Uber has been embroiled in including the culture of sexual harassment that Uber has been accused of fostering.

    In a statement that Jones himself sent to the media he says that Uber’s practices are in direct conflict with his beliefs and approach to leadership. This comes shortly after Uber CEO Travis Kalanick announced he was searching for a new COO stating that he needed to ‘grow up’ after getting into a shouting match with an Uber driver that went viral.

    Is this the beginning of the end for the ride sharing service that once stood atop the mountain? Not only are competitors like Lyft looking to swoop in on Uber’s claim to the top but other companies such as Waze are also looking to fill the gap left by Uber since so many of its users are deleting the app out of protest. Is there anything Uber can do to pull themselves out of this seemingly downward spiral? As the old business school clichĂ© goes, it can take years to build great customer service, but only a moment to lose it.

  • Geebo 12:07 pm on March 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , sxsw, Uber   

    Did Austin miss Uber and Lyft during SXSW? 

    Did Austin miss Uber and Lyft during SXSW?

    This past weekend the infamous tech and entertainment festival known as South by Southwest (SXSW) took place in the Southwest’s capital of cool, Austin, Texas. During the festival on Saturday night, the skies opened up, and rain descended upon ATX. Many of the revelers wanted to get a ride back to their hotels, but their requests for ride shares went unheeded.

    In a lot of hip cities like Austin, you can get a ride from ride sharing apps Uber or Lyft. Last May, both of those services left Austin due to new regulations the city imposed on ride sharing services. The city wanted Uber and Lyft to do fingerprint background checks on their drivers much to the protests of the two leading ride sharing companies. Rather than fingerprint their drivers, Uber and Lyft preferred to leave town leaving Austin with no ride sharing services.

    Much like nature, commerce abhors a vacuum, and it didn’t take long for new services to take the place of Uber and Lyft that were willing to play ball with the city. Those services are Ride Austin and Fasten. The problem with these new services is they didn’t seem to have the capabilities of scale that their predecessors had when the rains started to fall.

    Due to the massive traffic to the respective apps, the apps crashed hard and left both riders and drivers stranded. Both companies were said to have server issues and claim that the issues were resolved by Sunday.

    Both tourists and locals lamented the absence of both Lyft and Uber, but will that situation ever be resolved? Is the city being too protective of the city’s taxi services, or are Uber and Lyft being unreasonable by not fingerprinting their drivers?

  • Geebo 10:56 am on March 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Uber   

    Uber to stop using Greyball, sort of 

    Uber to stop using Greyball, sort of

    After it was revealed that ride sharing app Uber was using a program called Greyball, to fluster anti-Uber investigators, Uber now claims that they will stop using Greyball, to an extent.

    Uber says that they will stop using Greyball to deceive authorities but will keep the program in effect to test new features, use in marketing promotions, prevent fraud, and to protect their drivers.

    Can Uber actually be trusted to keep their word though? Uber has been embroiled in scandal after scandal after scandal, from something innocuous as defying a taxi protest in New York to unsettling claims of sexual harassment among executives. Uber has not really made a good faith gesture toward its users or employees to try to garner any positive PR. Uber has not appeared to acted genuine in any way, shape or form, since these controversies have started and have even admitted that their drivers are working in areas where they’ve been banned by law. Yet there has yet to be any major consumer backlash against this company that appears to be engaging in bad business practices.

    What will it take for Uber to either ingratiate themselves back in the good graces of the tech world or for them to fall from atop their industry dominance?

  • Geebo 11:32 am on March 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Uber   

    Uber embroiled in another scandal for allegedly using cop blocking app 

    Uber embroiled in another scandal for allegedly using cop blocking app

    Rode sharing app Uber has found itself in the headlines again, and once again it’s not for any good reason. Previously, Uber has been in the news for picking up fares at New York City airports during protests against President Trump’s proposed immigration ban. Then they found themselves dealing with allegations of a culture that allegedly promoted sexual harassment among corporate executives. This isn’t even mentioning Uber’s CEO getting into a shouting match with one of Uber’s drivers over working conditions. Now, Uber is being accused of using a program called Greyball that they would use to track investigators who were looking into Uber’s business practices.

    Greyball is said to not only help identify potential investigators and those acting on behalf of these investigators but would also put fake cars called ‘ghost cars’ on their app in order to fool investigators on where local Uber cars are.

    Instead of issuing a mea culpa, Uber is actually defending the use of Greyball by claiming that they’re protecting their drivers from physical harm and protecting Uber itself from its competitors. They even admit that they’re trying to disrupt users who are in collusion with investigators.

    When a company is admittedly active trying to obfuscate its business practices from investigators, it tends to mean that there’s something behind investigator’s allegations. Backpage is a perfect example of this kind of behavior. The question is will Uber’s userbase delete the app over questionable acts, or will they continue to use Uber over a matter of simple convenience?

  • Geebo 11:08 am on February 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Uber, Waze Carpool   

    Is this the final deletion for Uber? 

    Is this the final deletion for Uber?

    Ride sharing app Uber was already seeing a downturn in popularity when the company said thy would be picking up fares at New York City airports during protests against President Trump’s proposed immigration ban back in January. After that a ‘Delete Uber’ boycott started asking people to delete the app from their devices. Now, the delete Uber movement has picked up a massive head of steam after sexual harassment claims were made against one of its top executives. Not only are there allegations of harassment but there has been allegations of an alleged cover up as well.

    Uber has hired former US Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the matter, but is it too little too late?

    Currently, Uber is already being sued by Google’s self-driving car division stating that proprietary technology was stolen and used by Uber’s own self-driving car program. Uber competitor Lyft just announced that they were now launching in 50 new cities. Google’s Waze Carpool is also looking to expand into more markets on the heels of Uber’s latest PR nightmare.

    Even if Uber was found to have done no wrongdoing, which seems to be unlikely at this point, have they already worn out their good graces with the public? Could this be the beginning of the end for Uber? With competitors already swooping in to fill any void left by Uber, it sure seems that way.

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