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Uber will face legal action after alleged passenger rape in India

Uber

The flak just keeps stacking up against Uber. Alleged repeated offender and Uber driver Shiv Kumar Yadav has been charged with rape in New Delhi, India.

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According to Reuters, Madhur Verma, deputy commissioner with the Delhi police said that legal action against Uber will be taken for lack of adequately vetting the accused driver. “Every violation by Uber will be evaluated and we will go for legal recourse,” said Verma.

However, as TechCrunch points out, according to Uber’s Terms of Services, the “technology company” is not really liable for what “third parties” do.

Written in all caps, it goes:

Uber shall not be liable to you for indirect, incidental, special, exemplary, punitive, or consequential damages, including lost profits, lost data, personal injury, or property damage.

One of the key features that gives Uber the edge over competitors is the fact that passengers can see the name and profile picture of their prospective drivers, who are meant to undergo a “thorough background check”. As stated on Uber’s website: “Every ridesharing and livery driver is thoroughly screened through a rigorous process we’ve developed using constantly improving standards.”

This includes a three-step screening process that entails Uber running their names against a National Sex Offender Registry, a Multi-State Criminal Database going back 7 years, Federal courthouse records going back 7 years and so forth.

Of course, it states that in order for an Uber driver to pass the background check, he or she should have a clean history of no sexual offences. According to reports, the 32-year-old accused cabbie had a rape charge filed against him in 2011. This has yet to be verified.

If the background check was thorough and proper enough, this incident (and many others) may have been avoided.

This is not the first case of reported driver misconduct and certainly not the first controversy the US$40-billion car service has on its portfolio. This blog post titled The Ten Worst Uber Horror Stories will give you an idea.

Read more: Uber shrugs off controversy, is today worth $40-billion

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said in a statement:

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.

No company goes without growth pains. Especially when it manages to scale with incredible speed such as Uber’s model. Within the last year, the behemoth scaled from operating in 60 cities across the globe to 250. That’s more than one city per day and thousands of drivers.

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