Uber has a lot of spring cleaning to do, considering the many distinct scandals it has to deal with. And things aren’t looking up for the “taxi” company, as a new lawsuit brings up an astonishing new claim. Apparently, Uber uses a “sophisticated” software that allows it to cheat on both the driver and the passenger.
According to the new class action suit found by Ars Technica, Uber’s software manipulates navigation data used to determine the “upfront” fare price, showing the customer a higher price than the rider.
This way, Uber can charge the rider more for a fare, while the rider gets paid from the cheaper, faster route.
What allegedly happens is that the customers are shown certain routes when hailing an Uber. But that route is slower and longer than what the rider sees.
“The manipulation of prices between the amount charged to Users and the amount reported to drivers is clever and sophisticated,” the suit alleges.
“The software utilized in determining the upfront price is specifically designed to provide a route distance and time estimate based on traffic conditions and other variables but not to determine the shortest/quickest reasonable route based on those conditions.”
However, the software apparently comes up with a better route the driver gets to see.
“Meanwhile, the software utilized in the driver’s application, which navigates the drivers to the User’s destination, utilizes traffic conditions and other variables to provide the driver with a more efficient, shorter, or quicker route to the User’s destination, resulting in a lower fare payout to the driver.”
A second benefit would be that the driver would get to pick a new fare faster with such a feature in place.
Uber’s “upfront” pricing scheme was introduced in September. At the time, the company informed drivers that the algorithm takes into account distance and time to calculate a fare.
The suit further claims that the driver is paid the lower rate and Uber gets to keep “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.”
If any of this is true, the implications are enormous, and could further escalate conflicts between drivers and the company. Not to mention that Uber clients won’t be too happy to learn the company has been cheating on them for a while now.