Key to Uber’s continued success has been reliability, and that means always getting more drivers on the road. The e-hailing startup has used several tactics to achieve this, including its controversial surge-price policy during periods of high demand, preferential car financing rates for qualified drivers, and according to one on-demand black car rival, the disruption of competitor services to poach drivers.
Gett CEO Jing Herman said its service was inundated with more than 100 orders and cancellations by more than a dozen Uber employees over three days last week. Placing these orders revealed the cell phone numbers of Gett drivers and, in an attempt to recruit the drivers, Uber employees sent them text messages with offers of more money. Sneaky.
Responding to the news, Uber issued a statement Friday, noting that its "local teams can be pretty determined when spreading the word about Uber and how [its] platform opens up new economic opportunities for drivers." The company admitted ordering and canceling Gett’s cars, saying it "was likely too aggressive a sales tactic and we regret the team’s approach." Subsequently, city teams have been told to "curtail activities that seek lead generation by requesting transportation services." An Uber spokesman told Fast Company that the startup has recruitment guidelines in place, but they vary city to city.
Uber insists that the Gett cars were cancelled immediately upon request and that the company paid the cancellation charges, but Herman said there were instances where cars were canceled after showing up.