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Businesses Transportation

Uber Has a Playbook For Sabotaging Lyft, Says Report 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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Uber Has a Playbook For Sabotaging Lyft, Says Report

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  • Illegal (Score:2, Informative)

    by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @05:28PM (#47760563) Homepage
    If their contracts are reasonably well written, I bet they are guilty of at least a misdemeanor.
  • Re:Illegal (Score:5, Informative)

    by belmolis ( 702863 ) <billposer.alum@mit@edu> on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @05:32PM (#47760609) Homepage
    A misdemeanor is a criminal offence. Breach of contract is not a criminal offence.
  • Re:Illegal (Score:5, Informative)

    by MerlynEmrys67 ( 583469 ) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @06:10PM (#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)

  • by westlake ( 615356 ) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @06:18PM (#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.

  • Re:Illegal (Score:5, Informative)

    by bloodhawk ( 813939 ) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @06:48PM (#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 (Score:5, Informative)

    by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @06:49PM (#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 (Score:4, Informative)

    by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @07:43PM (#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 (Score:3, Informative)

    by triclipse ( 702209 ) <slashdot AT combslaw DOT cc> on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @02:41AM (#47763085) Homepage

    Well, if they are torturing people and engaged in tortuous interference, they should certainly be prosecuted. However, if they are merely interfering with business relations and involved in tortious interference then a criminal case may not be warranted.

    (What, thy spell checker hath not the finesse?)

  • Re:Illegal (Score:5, Informative)

    by dandelionblue ( 2757475 ) on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @10:58AM (#47765105)

    People don't realise how costly monopolies are. I work for a UK hospital, and have worked in the department that's responsible for purchasing all of the medicines the hospital uses. We have an online system that tells us for any given drug that generic A is the cheapest at £0.50 per box, generic B is £0.60, generic C is £1.00 per box and generic D is £5.00 per box. If every hospital buys generic A's levothyroxine, then generics B, C and D will just stop producing this medicine, because there's no market for it - and then if generic A wants to charge £20.00 per box, they can, because they have no competition to bring the prices down and the hospitals need to buy levothyroxine.

    So instead, the hospitals are grouped into purchasing regions, and one region will buy generic A's levothyroxine, one will buy generic B, and one will buy generic C. (Generic D doesn't get a look-in because its prices are considered unreasonably high). The hospitals that were made to buy the more expensive levothyroxine will then be told to purchase the cheapest simvastatin, and the middling-cheapest flucloxacillin (while the people who bought the cheap levothyroxine will buy the more expensive flucloxacillin), so no region is out-of-pocket overall.

    And yet, when I've mentioned this to people, they seem to think this is unnecessary, and all the hospitals should just buy the cheapest version of every medication. Here's what happens when a company is given a monopoly and decides not to play nicely with its customers:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/hea... [telegraph.co.uk]

"I'm not afraid of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens." -- Woody Allen