A & # 39; Special Investigation Unit & # 39; at Uber responsible for following up customer reports of driver issues, including sexual misconduct, is coached to first act in the best interest of the company, a former agent in the group said.
For example, & # 39; n 80 agents who work for Uber with no more than a phone and GPS ride data are trained to make a first decision about a customer complaint to make suggestions and take actions that favor the company, said the agent, Lillie Flores, who was also a trainer with the Phoenix, Arizona-based unit.
& # 39; Researchers are there to protect Uber and then to protect the customer & # 39 ;, Flores says Washington Post, which published a report on the unit on Wednesday.
A & # 39; Special Investigation Unit & # 39; at Uber responsible for following up customer reports of driver issues, including sexual misconduct, is coached to first act in the best interest of the company, a former agent in the group said. A contracted Uber car is shown above
Even when Uber is going to deactivate a driver & # 39; & # 39; – a term used to prohibit a driver from using the company's mobile app – information about suspected misconduct or potential illegal activity is not passed on to the police, researchers said.
& # 39; It is our job to keep the tone of our conversations with customers and drivers, so that Uber cannot be held liable. & # 39;
Even when Uber is going to deactivate a driver & # 39; & # 39; – a term used to prohibit a driver from using the mobile app used by the company – information about suspected misconduct or possible illegal activity is not passed on to the police, other ride-sharing companies or background checking companies, researchers said.
The revelations describe the shortcomings in Uber's investigation into customer complaints, according to people who worked at the startup and spoke to the Post.
Neither does it help the research unit's efforts that Uber insists that its drivers are contractors and that it is shielded from the liabilities of their actions, since the launch of a mobile app is a technology platform and not an employer.
A company spokeswoman, then reached by DailyMail.com, disputed the allegations about the unit.
& # 39; Characterizing this team as something other than providing support to people after a difficult experience is simply wrong & # 39 ;, said Jodi Page in a written email statement.
Page offered that the unit, established in 2017, was set up to offer & # 39; specialized customer support to drivers and drivers dealing with very serious real-life situations & # 39 ;.
& # 39; Employees on this team receive more focused training based on years of guidance from experts in the field, and we believe that customers can offer a better experience in their time of need. & # 39;
The spokeswoman added that Uber & # 39; the team has continued to improve by actively hiring experienced specialists from different backgrounds.
The backgrounds, she said, include social services, crisis management and law enforcement, & # 39; who can manage reports of more serious security incidents and have received training on how to deal with difficult issues. & # 39;
Uber drivers get & # 39; three stroke & # 39; of agents investigating customer reports, more than 20 current and former investigators told the Post.
However, exceptions have been made by managers who have kept drivers on the road, the agents said.
In one example, an unnamed supervisor rejected an agent who three times accused an investigation into a New York Uber driver of making sexual progress with clients. The driver, after being allowed to continue driving, was involved in a fourth incident that accused him of rape.
There have been several reports of alleged sexual misconduct against Uber and its competitor Lyft, which have emerged in court cases and sometimes in reports of charges against drivers.
A Uber driver from New York was charged last month for picking up a 15-year-old girl at a Sweet 16 party and allegedly trying to kidnap her and sexually attack her, instead of dropping her home.
Sean Williams, 32, from Brooklyn, (pictured above) was charged last month for picking up a 15-year-old girl at a Sweet 16 party and allegedly trying to kidnap her and sexually attack her, instead of leaving her home to put. He has argued not guilty of the allegations
Sean Williams, 32, from Brooklyn, pleaded not guilty of allegations of felony kidnapping and felony child threats and unlawful imprisonment during his trial at the Nassau County Court of New York on August 20, Newsday reported.
The case remains pending.
Uber's current and former agents said the company's research process leaves bad drivers behind the wheel and provided examples.
A cop remembered a driver from San Francisco who allegedly found his way to the back seat and put his hand on a passenger's blouse before she wrestled herself loose. Another cop responded to riders who said a driver threatened them with a hammer that he kept under his seat.
Both were allowed to stay on the road.
Flores added that during her time at Uber, the Post reports a third of the cases dealt with by investigators regarding sexual misconduct, including rape or unwanted flirtation or advances.
Victims are often left in the dark after complaining about a company director, not knowing if there was a follow-up.
Sara Alfageeh, 23, from Boston, (above) complained that a driver who would not stop chatting took a 15-minute journey from an amusement park across the border from South Carolina to North Carolina in 45 minutes without her permission
Sara Alfageeh, 23, from Boston, complained that a driver who would not stop chatting took a 15-minute journey from an amusement park across the border from South Carolina to North Carolina in 45 minutes without her permission.
Alfageeh was in town for a comic book congress, HeroesCon, when she and a friend decided to visit Carowinds near the South Carolina line, reports the Charlotte observer.
She said the ride back to Charlotte later that evening with the driver, who is a & # 39; very enthusiastic conversation partner & # 39; was, pierced her with questions about her career as an illustrator and that he asked if she could help him professionally.
The driver even asked for her e-mail address, the observer reports.
Alfageeh replied with information about local sources, she said, but his tone changed when he announced: & # 39; Let me take this turn, don't worry about the extra costs. & # 39;
After she reported the nerve-racking ride to an Uber investigator, she said it was her ride and she was promised she would not be picked up by the same driver.
In the end, we are not the judge and the jury to determine whether a crime has taken place, said Tracey Breeden, said Uber & # 39; s global head of women's security (pictured above)
& # 39; There is no way to know if he is doing this with other riders, & # 39; Alfageeh said to the Post.
Uber confirmed her conversation with the investigator and that her money was returned.
& # 39; In the end, we are not the judge and jury to determine whether a crime has taken place & # 39 ;, Tracey Breeden, Uber & # 39; s head of women's safety told the Post.
& # 39; We are here to collect information, make a business decision. We are not law enforcement officers. & # 39;
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