Uber rival counts 5,560 canceled rides

By Erica Fink

(CNN MONEY) -- New data provided by Lyft, a competitor, shows that Uber employees have ordered and canceled more than 5,000 Lyft rides since last October. The data was provided to CNNMoney per a request made when reporting another story on the competition between the top companies.

It's the taxi app version of ding-dong ditch.

And it's not just a rogue employee or two: Lyft claims 177 Uber employees around the country have booked and canceled rides in that time frame.

Bogus requests decrease Lyft drivers' availability, which could send users to Uber instead. But it's not just the company that suffers. Canceled rides jeopardize income that Lyft drivers depend on -- plus they spend time and gas money en route to passengers who have no intention of taking a ride.

And even when Uber employees don't cancel, Lyft drivers complain to headquarters that they take short, low-profit rides largely devoted to luring them to work for Uber.

Lyft claims to have cross-referenced the phone numbers associated with known Uber recruiters with those attached to accounts that have canceled rides. They found, all told, 5,560 phantom requests since October 3, 2013.

There was nothing to suggest that Uber's corporate office commissioned the canceled rides or even that they were aware of them.

One Lyft passenger, identified by seven different Lyft drivers as an Uber recruiter, canceled 300 rides from May 26 to June 10. That user's phone number was tied to 21 other accounts, for a total of 1,524 canceled rides.

Another Uber recruiter created 14 different accounts responsible for 680 cancellations.

A single account from a Los Angeles-based Uber representative canceled 49 rides from October through mid-April.

According to Lyft drivers, identifiable by trademark pink mustaches on the hood of their cars, some Uber recruiters may be trying to conceal their identity (which would be consistent with creating dozens of accounts linked to the same phone number). An Uber employee whose phone number was tied to 102 cancellations was reported as using a different name on his account than the one he used in the car.

GET THE REST OF THE STORY: http://money.cnn.com/2014/08/11/technology/uber-fake-ride-requests-lyft/index.html?hpt=hp_t2


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