'Buyer Beware': Uber Sued in US by New Delhi Passenger Alleging Rape

Jan 30, 2015 04:00 PM EST | Jordan Ecarma

The female customer who was allegedly raped by an Uber driver in New Delhi has sued the ride-sharing service in United States federal court, terming the company the "modern-day equivalent of electronic hitchhiking," Reuters reported.

After the incident last month, the driver accused of rape was arrested and Uber was banned in New Delhi; however, Uber started running again as of last week. The company has said that it will not take commission from its drivers until confusion is cleared up about how New Delhi operations should run.

"Buyer beware--we all know how those horror movies end," the lawsuit against Uber stated.

Reporting in early December that she had been beaten and raped, the woman has called for updates to Uber's safety procedures that include 24-hour customer support centers in each local market and in-vehicle cameras. She is also seeking unspecified damages and is being represented by high-profile attorney Douglas Wigdor.

Uber has not directly commented on the lawsuit but said it is working with authorities to ensure that justice is done.

"Our deepest sympathies remain with the victim of this horrific crime," Uber said in a statement quoted by Reuters.

The New Delhi case doesn't stand alone; several other passengers in markets around the world have accused drivers of assault, including one in Chicago earlier this month. The alleged rape in India inspired protests and discussion over safety in relation to Uber's operations model.

The company, which started in San Francisco and still counts California as its largest market, was valued at $40 billion last month and has operations in 54 countries. Last week, Uber said it planned to introduce new safety standards such as more stringent checks before hiring drivers and an emergency button within the Uber app.

Uber has said that drivers in India were not required to undergo background checks, a procedure that may have helped in this particular incident since the driver involved was on bail for sexual assault, according to Reuters.

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