By Eliza Carter
July 21, 2022 at 5:00 am ET
This month, former Uber Technologies Inc. executive Mark MacGann leaked more than 124,000 confidential company documents to The Guardian, revealing evidence of aggressive tactics used by the ride-hailing giant during its 2013-2017 period of international expansion. Those tactics included allegedly manipulating police, skirting laws, capitalizing on violence against drivers and coordinating influence campaigns on politicians.
Fortunately for Uber, that news doesn’t appear likely to tarnish the company’s brand in a permanent way. Despite weeks of thorough coverage of the leaks in major news outlets, Morning Consult data shows that Uber’s user base hasn’t heard much about the scandal. And even if they had, they say that cost and speed are much larger factors in deciding which ride-hail app to use than are the company’s reputation or allegations of improprieties.
Uber’s response to the leak has largely been to insist it has moved past the misbehavior exposed by the documents, saying it was regrettable but took place under different leadership. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi took over the role from founder Travis Kalanick in 2017. The company also noted that MacGann sued Uber for a bonus check prior to blowing the whistle.
Morning Consult’s data shows the company’s efforts to consign the episode to the past may be effective, so long as prices stay reasonable and passengers get to their destinations quickly. Lately, though, Uber ride costs have been rising throughout the country. That may prove to be a bigger scandal for the brand than leaked documents ever could be.
Uber and Lyft did not respond to requests for comment.
The July 16-17, 2022, survey was conducted among a representative sample of 2,210 U.S. adults, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. The survey also included 341 self-identified Uber users and 259 self-identified Lyft users, with unweighted margins of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points and plus or minus 6 percentage points, respectively.