Uber Technologies may have a new fraud problem on its hands after The Wall Street Journal reported news that Uber managers in Singapore leased the Honda Vezel to Uber drivers after the vehicle was recalled by Honda Motor Co. for safety reasons.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, citing interviews with people familiar with the carsharing company’s operations in Singapore and internal documents, managers leased the car to one Uber driver and shortly after, the driver, Koh Seng Tian, dropped off a passenger, flames came out of the dashboard creating a huge hole in the windshield. That resulted in panic among managers in Singapore, given they knew about the recall but still rented the driver and other drivers the vehicles.
The ridesharing company, according to the Wall Street Journal, had purchased 1,000 of the unsafe Vezels and leased them to its drivers without making the necessary repairs. Three days after the incident, the WSJ reported executives in Uber’s headquarters in San Francisco were told of a response plan in which the company would turn off the faulty devices that caused the fire and leave the unsafe cars operating while they awaited replacement parts. The plan also included getting approval from authorities in the region and advice from experts in the auto repairs field, noted the report.
In a statement to the paper, Uber said the managers sought to add more safety measures and that after the fire it “took swift action to fix the problem, in close coordination with Singapore’s Land Transport Authority as well as technical experts. But we acknowledge we could have done more — and we have done so.”
While Uber said it was working with authorities, the report noted the carsharing company has been known to engage in fraudulent activities to try to get around local laws in an effort to grow. For example, the paper pointed out it was found in violation of transportation rules in South Korea and France, and in the U.S. the ridesharing company ignored regulators in California by putting self-driving cars on the streets in San Francisco without the required permits.