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Scuzzy Cuban-backed ridesharing car loan company Breeze is suspending operations

By Paul Bradley Carr , written on July 21, 2016

From The Sharing Economy Desk

Back in November, I wrote about scammy ridesharing loans company, Breeze.

The Mark Cuban-backed company was creating fake ridesharing job ads in order to snare world-be drivers into signing up for car loans so they could (maybe) drive for Uber or Lyft.

A brand new ridesharing company offering a guaranteed $20 an hour and -- get this! -- a free Prius! All you have to do is register online, confirm you’re not bankrupt and don’t have any major driving convictions, and you’re all set to start earning.

Guess what! It was too good to be true.

In fact, “Ridesharing Taxi Co” turns out to be an entirely fake company, designed to fool people into signing up for financing on a leased Prius. There’s no ridesharing job at the end of it, just a half-assed suggestion that you might use your shiny new Prius to drive on Uber or Lyft.

While reporting the piece I registered a burner cell number and dummy email address to see how Breeze communicated with its marks users. I opted out of all communications as soon as the story went live but, no matter, for months after -- sometimes several times a day -- I received an email or text from the company trying to sell me one of their scammy loans or even inviting me to a "presentation" on how I could get my very own Breeze-funded Prius. 

They really were the worst. 

Yes, were. Because Breeze just announced they are suspending their scammy operations. 

Due to recent business developments and broader market trends, we at Breeze have made the difficult decision to suspend our car leasing program. This means we will no longer be accepting applications for new members. Current members will remain unaffected and can continue to login to their accounts here.

If you've already paid a membership fee but have not yet gotten into a car, we will be processing your refund shortly.

It's never nice when a company goes out of business and people lose their jobs (although there's no confirmation that anyone has been laid off yet see update below) but when your entire business is built on scamming people into signing up for car loans, its hard not to feel like a small cosmic wrong has been righted here. 

Good riddance, Breeze.

Update: A Breeze spokesperson emailed to say that the company isn't going out of business but is simply suspending their operations while they figure out a new model. She also confirmed the company would be laying off employees, but would not say how many.