Is Uber Stealing Tips?


Since Uber launched tipping, we’ve gotten a number of e-mails and reviews from drivers claiming that Uber is stealing ideas.  Some drivers emailed me saying their app glitched and the tip disappeared, some advised me their passengers tipped them via the app however the driver by no means acquired it, and a few simply don’t belief Uber.

They’re all legitimate questions and considerations although, so we requested senior RSG contributor Will Preston to try whether or not or not Uber is stealing ideas from drivers.

Drive with Uber 1

There are a number of tales within the Uber boards of drivers that really feel that Uber is “stealing” their ideas. While something is feasible, I made a decision to do an experiment to actually check and see if Uber is definitely stealing ideas. If true, I might catch Uber within the act virtually instantly – or not. Here’s what I did and the way it turned out.

Is Uber actually stealing tips from drivers? RSG investigates.

The Sting

I drove for 2 nights, and so long as I received an honest feeling from a rider, I requested them if they might take part in some analysis I’m doing on the in-app tipping system. I provided to offer them $1 in money in trade for watching them tip me $1 within the app. Almost everybody who I provided this experiment to agreed to take part.

Most passengers tipped me at the very least $1, and most passengers truly stated I might maintain the $1, or they put it in my tip field once we have been finished. I did this for about 20 rides, and all the ideas I anticipated to point out up confirmed up.

There was one near-exception, however there was a aspect concern with that one. So my “sting” resulted in no proof that Uber is doing something untoward with the in-app ideas, nevertheless it did reveal quite a lot of different issues.

I do know that some will say that this isn’t statistically vital, and that might be right. But truthfully it was a variety of work remembering to do that each time, then inconveniencing the passenger by asking them to remain an additional minute to tip me whereas I watch them. I will even say that I checked out all of the threads about this on uberpeople.internet, and I noticed nobody with precise proof of something aside from a tip being delayed. For some purpose, it might take a day or two for a tip to point out up.

The One Exception

Even although I used to be sitting there with a greenback in my hand that they might have for tipping me $1, many had a humorous look on their face once I requested them to tip me. I guarantee you, passenger, I’m not doing something bizarre right here.

They have been most weirded out by the truth that I wanted to observe them do it. I did this as a result of I wanted to make certain they really adopted the method to its conclusion. I wasn’t going to simply accept any “sure, we’ll tip you” statements, as I do know they’re principally bogus.

Actually, I’ve discovered that the extra noise individuals make about how they’re going to tip you within the app, the much less probably it’s they really do it.

Which leads me to my “exception.”  One of the passengers agreed to the experiment however had already stepped out of the automotive went I discussed that I wanted to see the display as he did it. I might see he rated me, and it appeared like he tipped me, however I by no means noticed the “completed” display. Then that tip by no means confirmed up. Since all the opposite ideas confirmed up, I’m considering he by no means pressed the Done button, then closed his app.  Bye, bye tip. And he took my $1, too!

Uber Support Does Not Help

The “missing tip” gave me a chance to see how Uber help would assist on this state of affairs.  Two days later I created a ticket for that fare, and chosen “I had another issue with my fare.”  I defined that I noticed the passenger tip me $1, nevertheless it by no means confirmed up. Like I stated, I noticed him press the $1 button. Uber replied with this completely ineffective message, displaying they by no means truly learn my ticket.

“Any cash gratuity offered by a rider is voluntary and up to the discretion of the rider. If a rider wishes to tip you, please feel free to accept. Where available, you may choose to opt in to accept in-app tips from your riders. Uber doesn’t take a service fee from tips, so the total tip amount will be added to your earnings.”

I replied with the assertion that they clearly by no means learn my ticket.  They replied with the very same message. As of this writing, I replied in all caps that they despatched me the identical reply twice that exhibits they by no means learn my ticket. No response but.

I nonetheless don’t assume that is proof that Uber is “stealing” something. The passenger in query appeared a bit clueless, and doubtless by no means pressed Done. I guess I didn’t even get his 5 star score.

Most People Don’t Know How to Tip

I do know it is going to come as no nice shock to different drivers, however most passengers had no concept learn how to tip within the app. Once they agreed to the experiment, the subsequent query was “how do I tip you in the app?” As mentioned within the earlier article, it’s because Uber hides its tipping system behind its score system.  Since most passengers don’t price you, they’ll by no means even see the tipping display. It’s arduous to study a function you by no means see.

Uber Makes it Difficult to Tip

In two out of the twenty rides, the display confirmed one thing aside from what you’d anticipate on the finish of a experience. In one journey, the “rate your driver” display nonetheless confirmed their driver from the earlier experience, they usually needed to fee her earlier than they might fee me — earlier than they might tip me.

I feel that is more likely than Uber stealing ideas. The display is sometimes simply not what you’d anticipate to see, and the client by no means even sees the power to fee your or tip you. Couple that with passengers saying they’re going to tip you once they haven’t any intention of doing so, and you’ve got the sensation that Uber is stealing ideas.

Uber’s Priority is Uber, Not You or Your Tip

This, I feel, is the crux of the difficulty. To see what I imply, let’s check out some display photographs from a Lyft experience I took when researching this text. As quickly because the journey is over, my telephone dings and I’m introduced a really huge display with the smiling face of my driver, proper subsequent to what would I wish to tip my driver.

The massive image humanizes and personalizes the driving force, and it makes me assume “I should tip this guy!” I imply, come on!  Who wouldn’t need to tip that smiling face! It fills the display and places the tip proper up entrance.


Then when you tip (or don’t) tip your driver, then you see the score display.


Compare this to how Uber does it.  First, my telephone doesn’t ding when the experience’s over. The first display I noticed after my experience was over was an advert for the Uber bank card, with the remainder of the display crammed with the way to request my subsequent Uber journey.


This is Uber’s precedence: make more cash for Uber. It’s to not get extra scores for you, and it positive isn’t to get extra ideas for you.  We need to ensure the passenger noticed an advert for the bank card, and we need to ensure that if even they don’t price you after which open the app, the most important a part of the display shall be how one can choose their subsequent Uber.  We wouldn’t need to confuse the passenger with a score or tip display earlier than they ask for his or her subsequent Uber journey.

The advert did go away after a couple of seconds, however this display didn’t look an excessive amount of totally different.  Notice that the score part of the display is somewhat tiny part on the backside. There is not any massive image of the driving force to assist humanize them, there’s a little tiny image that’s nearly unrecognizable.

Also, the score display is first, not second. Finally, the entire score dialogue field is small and unobtrusive, not proper in your face the best way Lyft’s tip display is.


Once you ignore the bank card advert and price your driver, then you definitely’re introduced with the tipping display. It’s nonetheless a tiny image they usually add the “compliment” nonsense.


Your tip is final on the Uber precedence totem pole. First precedence is getting one other Uber experience out of this buyer. Second is getting them to join a bank card. Third is ensuring you get graded. The last item they’ve constructed into the system is to get you a tip. No marvel I get twice as many recommendations on Lyft as I do on Uber!

Related: Who Tips Better: Uber or Lyft Passengers?

Not Theft, however Robbery Nonetheless

By having a complicated tipping system hidden behind an almost-hidden score system, Uber is definitely robbing you of cash you would in any other case be making. I can’t discover any proof that they’re taking any legitimate ideas that passengers made, however they definitely don’t appear to be prioritizing tipping within the app.

Readers, have you ever observed it’s troublesome for passengers to tip on the Uber app? Have passengers ever talked about this to you? And in the event you do have proof that Uber is stealing ideas, contact us and ship us screenshots or different proof.

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-Will @ RSG

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Will Preston is a part-time rideshare driver with over 1,500 rides underneath his belt. He drives within the San Diego market. Like lots of people, Preston has a day job and it is as an IT analyst specializing in backup and restoration.

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