Uber has been bombarding its drivers, customers, and even drivers’ friends with texts, Vice’s Motherboard reports.
Motherboard obtained Federal Trade Commission complaints through a Freedom of Information Act Request.
Of the 53 complaints filed against Uber with the FTC, 14 were for “unsolicited text messages and calls.”
While the FTC told Motherboard the complaints hadn’t been verified, the volume of those complaints — as well as posts on Uber forums, like these on UberPeople — seem to indicate this is an issue for at least some people.
Here are what a few of the complaints say:
“Uber has been texting me for the past month. They texted me on Christmas eve at 1:44am and 4:10am. I returned texts saying STOP. I wrote them an email asking them to remove my number from their lists. And I’m still getting text messages.”
“I was interested at one time in the UBER position but I needed to have a car that I no longer have access to. It is with my soon to be ex wife. I explained this and told them that I was no longer interested. Yet daily, I get a text from them to submit the documents to continue the process and I have sent back numerous texts that I was no longer interested. I have tried to call them and there is no answer or reply. This has been going on for several months and I have lost patience with these folks and I need help to stop this. It is as if they are harassing me for not following through with them.”
“This company has sent me unwanted text messages 42 times in two weeks. I have told them to stop over a dozen times and they still send them almost daily.”
In November, in a story for The Verge, Avi Asher-Schapiro spoke with a military veteran who attended a job fair in Boston and talked to a recruiter from Uber. The man, Malik, later ended up telling Uber he wasn’t interested in driving for the company. However, according to Schapiro, even though Mailk never signed up to drive for the company, “Uber still texts him every other day, prodding him to sign up.”
Some drivers also say Uber sends texts to people in the drivers’ contact lists after they used Uber on their personal phones, according to Motherboard.
An UberSUV driver in Miami named Daniel posted on a forum for Uber drivers:
This is disturbing, my girl just text [sic] me saying she received a text message from uber saying I invited her to become a driver.
“UberMSG: Congratulations! Your friend Daniel wants you to be an Uber partner. Both of you can make money when you APPLY HERE: t.uber.com/cashec”
1. How did they get her phone number?
2. That’s not even my referral promo code
Do they have access to our contact list in our phones?
According to Uber, these texts are not necessarily coming from the company, but from friends who drive for Uber and are trying to promote it.
An Uber spokesperson told Motherboard that the company “does not ask for or have access to drivers’ contacts stored on their personal phones.”
“Like others in our industry, we also have a referral program for drivers to invite their friends to drive using Uber, and those individuals may also receive text messages,” the spokesperson said. “Drivers can only refer people who they attest have agreed to be contacted, and drivers must agree to this policy each time they refer someone.”
Uber’s spokesperson also explained that people can receive texts from Uber for a variety of reasons.
“Riders may get texts when their Uber arrives. Drivers may also receive text messages — for example, to let them know that demand is particularly high. People who sign up to drive using Uber may receive text messages reminding them to complete the sign-up process.”
While Uber faces regulatory battles in US cities and rape allegations against one of its drivers abroad, this is far from being the company’s biggest problem. However, it’s one the company should address, especially since people have been taking their complaints to the FTC.