Uber screwed us again!
According to a proposed class action lawsuit in California, Uber is responsible for skimming “the difference charged to the User and the fare reported to the driver, in addition to the service fee and booking fee disclosed to drivers,”. Uber allegedly fixed the system to charge users more, and pay riders less, by adjusting the route after users had locked into the new “Upfront Pricing” feature.
This comes as no surprise to many drivers who have been scratching their heads at Upfront Pricing since it was introduced. Stories have piled up online. Users have been paying what amounts to surge pricing while drivers receive only a fraction of what they should.
When Upfront Pricing was introduced, Uber said “No math, no surprises”. It was a Utopian vision for a pricing model. The fact is, we all went along with it. It is hard to envision a time without knowing the price before ordering your ride. But maybe this wasn’t such a great vision for a pricing strategy in the share economy.
“No Math” — This feature created a trade-off between pricing transparency and the user experience. Did we choose right or wrong? No one outside of Uber is likely to see its pricing algorithm for the Upfront feature. But, it is possible to find out with enough data. As of now, the responsibility is on the users and drivers of Uber to preserve fairness by continuing to monitor our fares.
“No Surprises” –Those numbers on your phone (that were calculated by a profit hungry, billion-dollar multi-national) don’t get formulated for your benefit. Uber is not a peer2peer network, it is a $13-Billion-dollar investment that needs to stop losing money. How are we surprised by the news they were manipulating us for profit?
I think it’s fair to say that Uber has kept its word, but maybe we should add this was not the right vision to begin with. A better vision would be: “All the math, One big surprise”.
“All the math” — Don’t worry Uber, we can handle the numbers. You don’t have to send them to each of us personally, but we would like to have a look from time to time.
“One big surprise” — Please Uber, please, please, please surprise us with your pricing strategy. Surprise us by not screwing us. We know you need to make money, but don’t be another douche multinational.
Surprise us bigly with some integrity.