Earlier this week, Uber published a video ad on Facebook profiling a driver who jumped ship from Lyft. Only problem was: He never drove for Lyft.
The video, pulled Thursday afternoon, featured a driver named Sean K., who talked about his decision to become an UberX driver because he valued his time and Uber’s platform helped him earn more money. “I think what Uber offers that Lyft doesn’t is complete assurance that when I drive I’m going to get business,” he said in the ad.
Before the video was taken down, Lyft’s spokeswoman Paige Thelen told Fast Company the ridesharing startup was exploring legal actions for false advertising. Thelen said Sean K. had applied to be a Lyft driver but didn’t pass its screening process. For privacy reasons, the company wasn’t able to disclose why, but reasons “could include an invalid driver’s license, background check, or driving check,” she noted. Lyft said the first name, last initial, and driver’s license photo matched the man featured in the ad.
The video disappeared from Uber’s Facebook page two hours after Fast Company contacted the startup about the ad. “It’s unclear why this driver didn’t pass a competitor’s screenings–perhaps his fist bumps were sub-par–but he did pass Uber’s multi-step screening and background checks, and has a perfect 5.0 rating,” Uber spokesman Lane Kasselman said. “We removed the video upon learning that the driver hadn’t previously driven for another ridesharing service and apologize for the error.”
Both ridesharing services have been aggressively recruiting drivers from competitors’ platforms by running ad campaigns and offering incentives, such as cash bonuses and free commission for a limited time.