Uber’s latest partnership and driver status scams promise free education while defrauding customers and drivers.

One of Uber’s first partnership scams was a fraudulent lending sceme promoted by the ‘Uber Military’ program which defrauded 1100 US military personnel.

The enlisted men and women were not allowed to deploy on active duty and retain their auto lending policies as Uber’s Lending company in the program would not honor the policies when soldiers were deployed.

Uber’s lending partner in the program Santander Consumer USA was ordered to pay over $9.35 million dollars in settlement.

Since 2015 both Uber and Lyft have removed ‘Safe Rides’ fees after a series of legal actions forced Uber to pay $32.5 Million dollars in settlements.

These settlements and the legal precedent set by them forced the Rideshare giants to no longer claim they are “safe” or “insured” compared to other forms of commercial transportation.

THIS July Uber was ordered by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) to pay over $20 million dollars in settlements with it’s own drivers because of financial damages driver suffered because of Uber’s falsified earnings and bonus claims.  Many driver had also been defrauded by more auto lenders who are still offering car loans from Uber’s website.

 

THIS WEEK Uber announced (in a limited ‘Test’ release) a free education program for it’s drivers through ASU (Arizona State University) 

The program promises free tuition on a limited number of courses through ASU.

Drivers in the program must have already done 3000 rides with Uber while also maintaining Uber’s lofty ‘Platinum’ and ‘Diamond’ level driver ratings on their ‘Uber Pro’ program.

Uber pro was announced at the very same time as the ASU educational program.  Ths article in The Verge touches on more of it’s fraudulent aspects concerning driver status and the priviledges granted.

The Platinum and Diamond status levels on the Uber Pro program require drivers to perform at a 4.85 (far above average) or higher star rating with less than 1% cancellations in each three month period and completing at least 3000 rides in each period.

The functions withheld on the Uber app for not attaining these lofty status levels are significant and would quickly segregate Uber drivers into very different classes while forcing drivers wanting to attain these higher levels to perform in a very desperate and shrinking market.

 

When considering the math involved in maintaining these levels of performance to attain and keep a ‘Platinum’ or ‘Diamond’ level Uber Pro status, the fraud and cruelty of the system becomes more clear.

The highest number of fares a rideshare can run on average in an hour is 4.

Since rideshares do selective service and their return service is not arranged before driving all the way back to preferred pickup areas, that number actually drops to 3 more often.On an 8 hour shift that gives you 32 rides max. On a 30 day month that leaves you with a maximum of 960 rides, if you have driven each day or compacted more hours of driving into fewer days.

This means in order to qualify for Platinum or Diamond levels, uber would be your full time job, and then some.

At 40 hours of operation weekly over a month at that rate, your gas and vehicle service costs become significant.

The minimum number of miles you are adding to your mileage over an 8 hour shift is 320.

That means you will hit 3000 miles within just 10 days of driving.

Any vehicle driving at this frequency in a commercial capacity will need a full oil change at and sometimes before 3000 miles.

It does not matter how new the car is or if you use the most advanced synthetic oil with the most amazing oil additives on the market.

The oil and oil filter will need a complete change or you will begin doing long term damage to the vehicle.

You will also need a full tire change and rotation within six months, a new air filter every six months, gas filter each year and a break pad change each year. One or more bearings may need a change within this time as well.

Not to mention various other issues like engine gaskets, component issues like engine pumps and the amount of professional detailing you will need to keep the car clean and presentable.

Taxis are not even driven as much because taxi companies rotate their fleets to let them rest and not over spend on constant service.

On the Uber pro and Education programs, you would be literally slave driven in your own vehicle until It is ruined with very little time to ever study for any continued education while driving to maintain the Platinum or Diamond levels.

The effect on customers will be just as damaging.

While Uber drivers begin desperately manipulating the market just to maintain these status levels, the pool of drivers will change significantly to disregard service at certain times to avoid potential cancellations or low ratings.

This will effect an already low rate of availability in poorer areas and a virtual lack of any service during traditionally slow times of day.

During day time hours on early week days and week ender very early in the morning after bar and club closing times Uber drivers are virtually unavailable or offer wait times LONGER than their taxi counterparts.

Longer wait times can always lead to poorer star ratings.  Naturally drivers would want to avoid those chances entirely and only drive when they are assured of instant business and higher ratings.

The areas where rideshares pick up will also shrink to exclude hard to reach areas.  These are typically low income, industrial and outer rural areas of each city.

Drivers will also be incentivized to cheat the system more in order to stay ahead while those who do not want to participate will also be forced to compete more for a smaller market.

This creates a more desperate, fraudulent and dangerous situation not just for Uber drivers but their customers as well.

 

Additional Sources:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/hidden-costs-driving-uber-john-mcdermott/

https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2018/04/09/26018858/275-or-25-per-hour-how-much-are-uber-drivers-really-making

http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr08-09/english/hc/sub_leg/sc01/papers/sc011106cb1-157-3-e.pdf

https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/1/18047746/uber-driver-high-performing-earnings-free-college-tuition-pro

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/ridesharing-future-transportation-lessons-learned-from-samir-goel/

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