SAN FRANCISCO — In a statement released to the press Tuesday, taxi and ridesharing company Uber responded to recent criticism of its business practices in a decidedly combative tone, arguing that its customers should not complain about high prices or unsatisfactory service as they are lucky to be alive.
“Every time you safely arrive somewhere vaguely near your intended destination, thank your lucky stars,” wrote CEO Travis Kalanick.
“You give us your credit card information and then climb into an unmarked vehicle with a complete stranger,” Kalanick added. “We could just fucking kill you.”
Over the past year, Uber has faced criticism for its dealings with taxi organizations in multiple cities and for hiring incompetent drivers, many of whom don’t know the city well enough to drive efficiently or safely. Uber has also been accused of shady business practices, including ordering and canceling rides from an upstart East Coast competitor Gett. Furthermore, their highly controversial “surge pricing” feature, where Uber charges a multiplier rate during inclement weather or high-traffic events, has been called high-tech gouging and a danger to public safety by major media outlets.
“Yes many of our drivers don’t know their way around your city,” Kalanick frankly admitted. “Yes we want to destroy all taxi companies and competitors by any means necessary. Yes we’re a sleazy VC-funded startup hell-bent on profit. Yes we are those things.”
“Just be glad that all we do is charge you 8.5 times the normal taxi rate,” he warned. “Think of our ‘surge pricing’ as an Us Not Killing You fee. Because we could. And we want to.”
This release marks the first time a major Silicon Valley company has threatened violence on its customers since the infamous AskJeeves.com incident in 1999.
Cole Moser was driven to a field and left for dead on New Year’s Eve.
Image by Jon Snyder/Wired.