As you might know by now, Uber has for some time been using fixed fares on all their rides.

This measure, which now aligns Uber’s service with rival Grab’s, ensures that a passenger is clear with how much he or she will have to pay before getting into the car and beginning a journey.

Unfortunately, some passengers have discovered that some of the app’s existing help functions — in particular, the chance to claim that a driver took a longer-than-usual route, could be exploited to their advantage:

Screenshots from Uber app

Here’s how it works:

Because fares are fixed, a passenger could board the car and ask the driver to take a specific route, which may possibly be longer than what the driver’s GPS recommends.

Almost certainly, the driver will take the suggested route based on the passenger’s request, consequently arriving at the destination at a later time than previously estimated.

After alighting, the passenger then files a report in the app to accuse the driver of taking a longer route. Next thing the driver knows, he receives an email informing him or her that his or her fare (and corresponding payout) has been “adjusted” — downwards — because they allegedly took a “poor or inefficient” route.

Spate of complaints

Which led to a recent post by an irate Uber driver:

Screenshot from Facebook

It happened as described above — a rider heading to Changi Business Park got in at Siglap, and directed the driver on a longer, but allegedly faster, route.

When he got off, the rider promptly filed a complaint alleging the driver took an inefficient route, and to the driver’s surprise, secured himself a fare adjustment downward.

And as it turns out, this driver wasn’t alone. Here’s a comment from another driver in response to his post:

Screenshot from Facebook group

Here are the screenshots this driver shared for his personal case:

Screenshots from Facebook group

As you can see, this driver’s fare was almost halved by this complaint. We don’t know the specifics of this case, but the driver says he managed to claw back the adjustment that was initially made in response to the passenger’s complaint.

Amounts adjusted start from as little as under $2

It can be quite pathetic, really:

Screenshot from Facebook group

But it can also be quite affecting for drivers. Take this guy, for instance, whose fare was cut by more than half even though he dropped his passengers off at two different destinations within the same ride:

Screenshot from Facebook group

Thankfully, his fare was restored to the original amount after he reported it. Also, the customer service officer assured him he would not receive ride requests from the same passenger ever again:

Screenshot from Facebook group

Fares can be adjusted upward too

If you’re thinking of trying this approach, though, we’d advise you act with caution.

In the case of this driver, whose fare screenshots you can see after his post, his fare was initially adjusted downward by about $3, pre-Uber fee:

Screenshot from Facebook group
Screenshot from Facebook group

After pointing out that culpability for the misdirection lies squarely with the passenger, Uber actually pushed the fare up to $26.29:

Screenshot from Facebook group

Not bad.

The moral of this story? Don’t pull this stunt on your Uber drivers, guys — apart from getting your original fare pushed up, they can also change their ratings of you to one star.

 

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Top photo: Screenshot from Facebook group

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