James Connelly, the chief executive of Fetch Media, has struck back at Uber's lawsuit by claiming the agency had already terminated its relationship with the ride-sharing company due to non-payment.
"We are shocked by Uber’s allegations which are unsubstantiated, completely without merit, and purposefully inflammatory so as to draw attention away from Uber’s unprofessional behaviour and failure to pay suppliers," Connelly said.
Yesterday Uber filed a lawsuit against Fetch Media in San Francisco alleging breach of contract, fraud and negligence.
Connelly told Campaign that Fetch had terminated its deal with Uber months ago after it stopped paying invoices for services provided by more than 50 small business suppliers engaged by Fetch to place Uber's mobile advertising.
"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.
The CEO asserted that Fetch had helped Uber acquire more than 37 million new users since 2014. The agency had also advised Uber on tactics to reduce ad fraud in mobile advertising.
"Fetch takes ad fraud extremely seriously and has been working with clients and suppliers to minimise its impact within ad networks. It is unfortunate that Uber would misconstrue facts and use an industry-wide issue as a means of avoiding its contractual obligations," Connelly concluded.
Uber has yet to respond to Fetch's accusations of non-payment.
In response to questions about the lawsuit, an Uber spokesman reiterated that Fetch had allowed Uber ads on websites the brand had no wish to appear on, and was "fraudulently claiming credit for app downloads that happened without a customer ever clicking on an ad".
A source close to Uber provided the following extract from the lawsuit filed:
Fetch allowed networks and publishers to steal credit for organic installs of the Uber App, and Uber App installs that were attributable to other sources. While Fetch sat idly by, millions of Uber’s dollars were squandered on nonexistent, nonviewable, and/or fraudulent advertising.
The source explained that when Uber became aware of the previously stated issues, it suspended the campaign in March 2017 and began withholding payments to Fetch.