Have I still not convinced you to stop using the customer-gouging, driver-screwing, society-disintegrating
ride-sharing outlaw taxi service Uber? If the fact that the company comprises an unethical skeleton skinned with a business model that’s an affront to progressives everywhere and wrapped in a demonic cloak of pure greed isn’t enough to make you delete its app, keep in mind that if you criticize your Uber driver’s route he will cave your skull in with a hammer.
Or more likely he’ll just give you a low score in the secret rating that Uber has given to you and all of its customers. If a driver scores you lower than three out of five stars — because you accidentally gave him wrong directions, smelled like onions, or asked him not to cave your skull in with a hammer — you’re automatically blocked from his system and will never be picked up by him again. Drivers regularly use these secret customer ratings 1You can uncover yours with this hack. to decide which passengers to pick up and which to leave standing in the rain. If, after a night of one too many, you accidentally piss off one driver enough to give you a low score 2Or, as Jordan Weissman at Slate speculates, be of the wrong race or economic class. and all local Uber cars might steer clear of you in perpetuity.
That could turn you into one of the weekend drunks reportedly plaguing Brooklyn and Silicon Valley who have taken into climbing into the cars of passing strangers, thinking they’re Uber. I grew up believing that entering a stranger’s car is one step short of storming into their house, and when it’s accompanied by the demand “Can you just be [Uber], can we go?” it approaches full-on carjacking. This increasing phenomenon paired with the spreading legalization of concealed weapons will lead to more spilled blood than Ebola.
Ate least people in Berlin won’t have to worry about it. The city banned Uber in August for completely circumventing licensing laws and safety regulations. Uber kept operating as it took to the courts, but last month a judge upheld the ban and ordered the company to comply. Uber did so, in the utterly slimiest way possible. Rather than ceasing business — or Gott verbieten buying licenses and insurance and actually employing their “independent contractor” drivers — Uber cut their rates to 35 cents per kilometer, assuring that it’ll be running below cost, thus technically exempting itself from regulation. It’s a desperate attempt to stay in business as the service lobbies to change the law and/or searches for profitable means to circumvent it.
All of the above helps explains why last week Uber discovered that its grade from the Better Business Bureau is a lovely, bold, sans-serif F. As in, “For Frequently and Ferociously Fucking over Faultless Folks” who used Uber during a snowstorm, a sporting event, or any other time the company feels like exponentially raising rates as part of its “surge pricing” plan that I’ve previously derided. The BBB reports:
Some consumers claim that they were told the final cost of the transportation service the company provided (through Uber Technologies’ phone app, the driver, and the consumer’s receipt), only to be subsequently charged a substantially larger amount.
The BBB received 82 complaints about Uber in the past 12 months. That’s over 1.5 complaints a week in the US alone, for a company that’s estimated to have fewer than a million active customers worldwide. The reports I read mostly play out thusly:
1) Customer is overcharged in any number of creative ways. (My personal favorite being an after-the-fact charge of $75 because a driver falsely claimed that the customer urinated in his car.)
2) Customer tries to complain to Uber, discovers that Uber has taken all possible steps to limit customers’ ability to do so.
3) Uber manages to slips through Uber’s wall in a laundry basket and request a refund.
4) Uber ignores customer.
5) Customer repeats request.
6) Uber refuses to refund customer’s money, requests customer fuck off and die.
7) Customer files complaint with BBB.
8) Uber lies to BBB about customer’s complaint.
9) Uber quietly pays up.
The BBB page for Uber is a scorched hellscape of victims charged truly, truly, truly outrageous 3 rates for short rides. I’ve collected some of them below. If you’re an Uber customer who refuses to quit the service despite its avarice, wanton criminality, disregard for public safety, and refusal to pay employees working one of America’s most dangerous jobs, maybe fear of being added to this list will be enough to encourage you to do the right thing.
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