A lawsuit filed against ridehailing app Uber alleges the company created a “clever and sophisticated” way to manipulate data within its app that results in drivers pocketing less than the expected amount for completed fares, according to a report from Ars Technica.
The class-action suit filed against Uber in the United States District Court for the Central District of California claims Uber has been deliberately tinkering with the navigation information that is used to determine the cost of a ride in order to short change drivers.
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According to the suit, when a rider hails a ride through the Uber app, the app shows the rider an estimated fare that is based on slower travels times and longer routes than the one given to the driver.
When the driver goes to pick up said passenger, they are given a shorter route that is often quicker than the one the rider sees. However the rider pays for the ride based on the higher fee while the driver gets a commission from the shorter and faster route, which nets the driver a smaller payment.
This would run counter to how Uber claims its fares are calculated. According to the company, it derives the estimated fares based on a per-mile and per-minute charge for the estimated time and distance of the ride.
If the lawsuit is correct in its charges, then Uber has been providing separate estimates to milk more from riders while giving less to drivers. Uber then pockets the difference between what is charged to the rider and the fare given to the driver, on top of the service fee and booking fee that it already takes—which can be upward of 30 percent of a total fare.
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The lawsuit claims—which was brought by an Uber driver on behalf of others who have worked as Uber Black, Uber Pool, Uber SUV and UberX drivers in California—this supposed practice of route manipulation by Uber is a breach of contract, unjust enrichment, fraud and unfair competition.
The plaintiffs of the case seek to get back pay from Uber for the skimmed fees, plus have the ridehailing service cover the legal fees of the case and end its "unlawful, deceptive, fraudulent, and unfair business practices."
Uber is yet to comment on the suit.
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By Chris Smith, BGR April 7, 2017 | 2:36pm