Monday, April 2, 2018

Uber Is Ripping Off Frequent Riders

Will Preston (Hacker News):

Uber appears to have the opposite of a rewards program. That is, it appears the more you use Uber as a passenger, the more they’re going to charge you per mile. We know Uber said they were going to experiment on charging different customers different rate, based on a variety of unpublished factors. My current belief is the more you use the service in a way that suggests you can afford more, the more they will charge you.


I’m not talking about surge pricing, part of which would get passed on to a driver. I’m talking about raising a passenger’s “upfront” fare 10-30% higher than they would pay if they were paying their market’s time and distance rates for the same ride.


The AI program figured out I’m a business traveler and started jacking up my prices. My upfront price to the airport started showing up around $70, and my ride home was close to $80. No surge. Just a much higher price for the same trip. Uber’s thoughts? Maybe ‘He’s on an expense account! He doesn’t care what he’s paying!’


The final data point is that I know that if a passenger changes their destination mid-ride to something completely different than the destination they were quoted for, their upfront price is discarded. Instead, they will be charged time and distance for that ride. This is how I will both prove that this is what is happening, as well as make sure I am not personally being ripped off.


That’s one thing I have noticed in general. I used to think that as a long time customer you are valued and get better deals. But this seems to have changed to the opposite. Long time customers are viewed as something a company doesn’t have to compete for anymore and instead more money can be extracted from them. See cell phones, TV cable, car insurance and others. Almost like employment where now the only way to get a raise is often to change jobs and not to stay.

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Charles Wise

I once moved out of an apartment complex because they had a big sign with a reduced rent for new renters. I asked them for the reduced rate and they said no. I threatened to leave and they said they didn't care. That was 20 years ago and it still burns me up.

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