Uber is suing its ride-hail rival Ola, claiming the Indian company created fake accounts to book, and then cancel thousands of rides.
In a petition filed in the Delhi High Court, Uber accused Ola of resorting to a range of machinations, including making false bookings on its platform by setting up “fake rider accounts” and misleading its drivers through “fake calls” impersonating Uber which Uber claims was a move to frustrate its drivers.
Uber alleged that Ola created 90,000 fake Uber accounts using falsified phone numbers, which it used to book over 400,000 rides. The rides were ultimately canceled.
It is claiming loss of Rs 50 crore because of the alleged fraudulence and asking the court for a “perpetual injunction” against Ola as well as unspecified damages.
In a statement, Ola described the allegations as frivolous and false, adding, “it is not beyond our imagination that this is an effort to divert attention from the current realities of the market where Uber has faced major setbacks including the recent incidents of Uber vehicles being seized by the government authorities.”
Last week, Uber’s Head of Business, Asia said his company would overtake Ola within a month. The Indian company, which counts Japan’s SoftBank as its biggest investor, responded by claiming that its newly-launched service called ‘Micro’ alone would overtake Uber, which is estimated to be valued at $62.5 billion, within a month.
Uber may have been able to recognize of doing the same with the San Francisco-based ride-sharing giant, Lyft. In 2014, Lyft claimed that Uber booked and then canceled over 5,000 rides with Lyft using hundreds of fake accounts that were traced to Uber recruiters.
Furthermore, Uber claimed these actions were taken after Lyft’s investors urged Uber to buy the company. And then Uber accused Lyft of the same “shady tactics,” alleging that Lyft drivers and employees, including a co-founder, had canceled nearly 13,000 trips on Uber.
Also, earlier that year, a black car service called Gett that competes against Uber in New York accused Uber of systematically hailing and canceling rides in what it called a “DDoS-style attack.”
On the other hand, Uber isn’t the only company to accuse Ola of unethical business practices. Jugnoo, an auto rickshaw aggregator, claims that Ola was behind a surge of fake bookings, an accusation that Ola denies.
The main difference remains that Jugnoo has not taken its complaint against Ola to the courts.
The case between Uber and Ola is scheduled to be heard in September of this year.
I read. I write. A threat to humor, if one liners could kill. Twitter: @profylayush
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