Lyft, the car-sharing app, is accusing its biggest rival, Uber, of ordering thousands of rides and then cancelling them, according to a CNN Money report.
According to data provided to CNN Money from Lyft, 177 Uber drivers from around the country booked and then canceled more than 5,000 rides since October.
There’s no indication of whether this was sanctioned by Uber or whether the company even knew about it at all.
Lyft found the information by cross-referencing phone numbers of known Uber recruiters with the phone numbers attached to accounts that canceled rides, CNN Money and Lyft say.
In some instances, the Uber employees had their phone numbers tied to more than one account, resulting in hundreds of canceled rides.
In a statement to CNN Money, Uber said that the people doing this may not have been Uber recruiters and may have just been regular passengers. “We even recently ran a program where thousands of riders recruited drivers from many platforms, earning hundreds of dollars in Uber credits for each driver who tries Uber,” Uber told CNN Money.
But that doesn’t explain why they would order then cancel rides.
The implications of this aren’t just lost wages for the Lyft drivers, but also longer wait times for Lyft passengers, which could cause customers to call an Uber car instead.
But this isn’t the first time that Uber has used questionable tactics against some of its rivals. In January, taxi service Gett accused Uber of hiring and cancelling 100 of Gett’s cars when it launched in New York. Uber said at the time that it was likely “too aggressive a sales tactic.”
And just last week, Uber scooped the competition by announcing its version of carpooling among Uber passengers, called UberPool, the night before Lyft and a similar app, called Sidecar, announced the same thing.
“It’s unfortunate for affected community members that they have used these tactics, as it wastes a driver’s time and impacts the next passenger waiting for that driver,” a Lyft spokesperson told Business Insider. “We remain focused on growing the business faster than any competitor through better customer experience and innovation.”
In a statement to Business Insider, Uber called Lyft’s report “patently false.”
The statement went on to say:
Both riders and drivers help recruit new drivers to the Uber platform, where the economic opportunity is unmatched in the industry. We recently ran a program where thousands of riders recruited drivers from other platforms, earning hundreds of dollars in Uber credits for each driver who tries Uber. Even Lyft drivers have participated in a successful campaign recruiting thousands of other Lyft drivers to Uber, where drivers make a better living than on any other platform.
Taking the ride and meeting the driver is essential to successful recruitment.
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