Never mind marketing, Uber says, take a ride but you're on your own
Uber makes a big deal on its website about how safe its rides are on the road. But it turns out that there's nothing in Uber's terms of service that would prevented an incident like this from happening.india Updated: Dec 08, 2014 13:22 IST
Uber makes a big deal on its website about how safe its rides are on the road. It's one of the reasons why many of us paid the premium for its services over our neighbourhood taxiwallah. Friday's incident, where a young woman was raped by an Uber driver in New Delhi cleared that smokescreen.
But it turns out that there's nothing in Uber's terms of service that would prevented an incident like this from happening.
You can drill down into the legalese here, but here is the relevant bit:
UBER DOES NOT GUARANTEE THE SUITABILITY, SAFETY OR ABILITY OF THIRD PARTY PROVIDERS. IT IS SOLELY YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO DETERMINE IF A THIRD PARTY PROVIDER WILL MEET YOUR NEEDS AND EXPECTATIONS. UBER WILL NOT PARTICIPATE IN DISPUTES BETWEEN YOU AND A THIRD PARTY PROVIDER. BY USING THE SERVICES, YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOU MAY BE EXPOSED TO SITUATIONS INVOLVING THIRD PARTY PROVIDERS THAT ARE POTENTIALLY UNSAFE, OFFENSIVE, HARMFUL TO MINORS, OR OTHERWISE OBJECTIONABLE, AND THAT USE OF THIRD PARTY PROVIDERS ARRANGED OR SCHEDULED USING THE SERVICES IS AT YOUR OWN RISK AND JUDGMENT. UBER SHALL NOT HAVE ANY LIABILITY ARISING FROM OR IN ANY WAY RELATED TO YOUR TRANSACTIONS OR RELATIONSHIP WITH THIRD PARTY PROVIDERS.
In other words, if you take an Uber, you're on your own. The company takes no responsibility for what happens to you - it's between you and your driver to sort things out.
Uber has said that it is cooperating with the Delhi Police, but it's not clear what its defense would be. These terms of service reinforce the stand that Uber has always maintained: that it is NOT a radio taxi service, it is a technology company with an app that simply connects drivers and passengers.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick issued the following statement:
"What happened over the weekend in New Delhi is horrific. Our entire team's hearts go out to the victim of this despicable crime. We will do everything, I repeat, everything to help bring this perpetrator to justice and to support the victim and her family in her recovery.
"We will work with the government to establish clear background checks currently absent in their commercial transportation licensing programs. We will also partner closely with the groups who are leading the way on women’s safety here in New Delhi and around the country and invest in technology advances to help make New Delhi a safer city for women."