Uber Files $40 Million Lawsuit Against Fetch Media for Alleged Ad Fraud

Mobile ads firm then accused the rides app of not paying bills

The brand accused the media buyer of wrongfully taking credit for downloads. Instagram: @Uber
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Uber is suing Fetch Media for at least $40 million, accusing the mobile ad company of improper billing for fraudulent ads and falsely taking credit for app downloads.

The ride-sharing app filed a lawsuit on Monday in United States District Court in its hometown of San Francisco, after recently discovering the alleged activities when canceling a campaign running on conservative website Breitbart.

“With Fetch, we learned the age-old lesson ‘buyer beware’ the hard way,” the company said in a statement. “Fetch was running a wild west of online advertising fraud.”

Fetch is part of the world’s fourth-largest advertising company, Dentsu, which was not named in the lawsuit.

James Connelly, Fetch founder and CEO, fired back this morning about the allegations, calling them “unsubstantiated, completely without merit, and purposefully inflammatory so as to draw attention away from Uber’s unprofessional behaviour and failure to pay suppliers.”

He continued, explaining further his allegation that Uber wasn’t paying its bills.

“Following months of non-payment, Uber eventually raised unsubstantiated claims relating to ad fraud as a reason not to pay its invoices, but there is no basis to these claims,” Connelly said. “Fetch not only delivered Uber’s strategic goals, helping it acquire over 37 million new users since 2014, but also achieved an outstanding rating from the client throughout the two-year relationship. In the same period Fetch advised Uber on tactics to reduce ad fraud in mobile advertising.”

The ad industry has suffered from digital fraud and other billing issues in recent years, and this development could be the latest example. Adloox, an ad verification company, estimated that ad fraud will cost brands $16.4 billion globally this year.

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.