Search queries for terms like "rape" and "sexual assault" conducted by a former Uber customer service representative on Uber’s Zendesk customer support platform returned a staggeringly high volume of results. Those were shared with BuzzFeed and subsequently disputed by Uber in a response.

According to screenshots of the search queries, 6,160 customer service ride tickets included the term "sexual assault" within the search period of December 2012 through August 2015. 5,827 tickets included the term “rape” over the same period.

In their response, Uber questioned the reliability of those search results in several ways. "Riders routinely misspell “rate” (as in the fare) as “rape”" the company argues, "or use the word “rape” in another context. For example, “you raped my wallet.'" Further, they conclude, "Any email address or rider/driver last name that contains the letters R, A, P, E consecutively (for example, Don Draper) are included. After analyzing the data, we found more than 11,000 rider names and 17,500 rider emails with the letters 'rape'."

Uber claims instead that just five tickets alleging rape were lodged during the December 2012 to August 2015 window. 170 tickets with a "legitimate claim" of sexual assault were also lodged, the company reveals.

Update: Uber replied again to BuzzFeed to say they were remiss to cite an "imperfect and fictitious" previous example.

Zendesk, one of our customer support platforms, contacted us to say that their search tool would not return a name such as “Don Draper” when searching for the word “rape.” However, such a search would (and did) return names that start with the letters R,A,P,E — even if the ticket itself had nothing to do with a claim of rape. We apologize to Zendesk for using an imperfect (and fictitious) example that doesn’t accurately represent their search functionality. This does not impact our analysis of the overall numbers, which was based on a manual review of these tickets rather than a simple keyword search.

Meanwhile, Uber appears to be searching for the Customer Service Representative who used Zendesk to perform the search.

Screenshots also reveal an internal severity rating system, Level 1 to Level 4, for accusations of misconduct against drivers. Nonconsensual sexual contact or attempts to commit it are Level 3, prompting investigation. If that investigation is inconclusive, a driver may continue to drive with a "Final Warning." Two inconclusive strikes result in deactivation for drivers.

Related: Last Night, My Uber Driver Said He Was Going To Rape And Kill Me