A number of years in the past, we coated the top ten ways passengers were scamming drivers free of charge rides. Many of these scams are nonetheless related, so go check out that post should you haven’t already learn it. One rip-off that’s nonetheless sadly widespread is when passengers cancel their experience whereas the driving force is en route to their vacation spot.
Passengers that do that are hoping the driving force doesn’t see the cancelation, so the rider will get a free or principally free experience and the driving force will get little to nothing. Today, senior RSG contributor John Ince covers how the rip-off occurred to him, Uber’s response, and how one can shield your self sooner or later. What are your ideas?
For a number of weeks now I’ve been getting this new type of incentive called a Streak Bonus. It’s a reasonably artistic means for Uber or Lyft to lock in a driver to their platform and get them out on the street throughout rush hour.
The approach it really works is you might have to get your first journey began between 7-9 a.m. or 5-7 p.m. after which you’ve gotten to full three rides earlier than going offline, with 100 % acceptance and no cancellations. The bonus is minimal – $10 or $12, which principally interprets right into a driver complement of $three to $four/journey – comparable (and as well as) to different bonuses. So I determine to give it a attempt.
It was Monday night time and pretty quiet. About 6:30 p.m. I get ping – it’s a brief journey on the town, which is nice for getting the streak bonus. I full it with out incident after which shortly get one other ping for a pickup on downtown Mill Valley.
The pickup is clean and uneventful. A younger woman wants a experience to the customer middle at Golden Gate Bridge about 10 miles south, the place I presume she is going to catch a bus to her last vacation spot. Should be a fast $15 bucks I feel.
The younger lady is a freshman at San Francisco State, initially from southern California. After some perfunctory chatter concerning the northern California vs southern California factor, I attain into my conversational bag and pull out certainly one of my inventory questions, “Do you also use Lyft?”
“No,” she says, “Because I exploit the flat charge.”
I hadn’t heard of that so inquired additional, “How does that work?”
“I pay $12 a month up front and get all my rides at a flat fee of $3.75 on UberPOOL.”
It struck me as virtually a giveaway from Uber to passengers. Basically, the flat charge is a gorgeous choice for the fee acutely aware, and clearly sponsored by Uber.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t sufficiently conscious simply how value acutely aware this younger woman was till I found the lengths she would go to to save a couple of bucks extra on the bridge toll.
Beware Passengers Who Try to Scam You
As we drove down Highway 101 south into San Francisco, she casually requested me how tolls are dealt with.
I defined, “My Fastrak is automatically charged $6.75. Uber reimburses me and then adds the toll to the passenger fare.”
After my rationalization she turns silent, and I let the silence reign as we’re coming by way of the Robin Williams Tunnel towards the Golden Gate Bridge. Somehow it seems like a clumsy silence although – which is instantly interrupted by a collection of notifications on my smartphone.
First a brand new rider is added – after which seconds later that rider cancels. Moments later I get one other Rider Cancels notification.
Strange I assumed, this time I didn’t even see the passenger added …
After all of the warnings on this website about passenger scams, I ought to have been extra conscious. However, like many drivers – I’m on a busy freeway and may’t precisely pull over to work out what’s happening.
We cross bridge and exit on the toll plaza. I loop round underneath bridge as I’ve carried out 100 occasions earlier than and drop her off. As far as I’m involved, it was a reasonably routine experience, and even earlier than the drop off I get a ping for an additional passenger pickup proper on the customer middle. Great, I feel, I’ll get the streak bonus and $30 in fares with lower than an hour’s work. $40 an hour ain’t dangerous.
My consideration is now on welcoming the subsequent passenger and it doesn’t register to me that I didn’t get to price the earlier passenger. By now, I’m deep into dialog with two vacationers with a heavy Irish brogue who’ve simply flown in from Las Vegas the place that they had gone to a live performance. It was typical vacationer chatter.
Will Uber Help Me Out?
After I conclude giving rides, I verify my earnings – $17.53. Seems low. I discover that the toll has not been added to my earnings.
Only $6.75 + is at stake, and I think about simply letting it move. But I’m curious – so I exploit the Uber app to navigate via the layers of the assistance part – lastly discovering the My Toll or Parking Fee Wasn’t Included In My Fare tab.
I reply that I crossed the bridge, however a toll wasn’t added. The reply comes remarkably quick – inside 30 minutes. “Uber’s getting higher at this … I feel till I get the reply.
I’m considering, They didn’t even look into it. I simply received an automatic reply – typical Uber help.
Angrily, I reply, “I did complete the ride.”
In 20 minutes I get a response, and it’s one other automated reply. It’s clear Uber isn’t even bothering to pay attention to me.
I verify my app and lo and behold – she canceled the experience! No marvel Uber despatched me generic responses. From their perspective, there was no toll to be reimbursed as a result of I didn’t take a passenger over the toll street.
I began to replay the experience in my head, and all of the sudden I remembered that second cancelation. At the time, I had dismissed the discover as a glitch. Then I remembered the sequence: the second cancellation occurred simply after passenger had requested me about how they deal with bridge tolls.
I began to piece it collectively. I went to the app once more and ship one other message to Uber:
“Share Details: I believe my passenger is trying to scam Uber and me out of a fare / toll. She apparently canceled in mid ride so that she would not have to pay the full fare and the Bridge toll. I took her all the way to her original destination which was the Visitor Centre at the Golden Gate Bridge. But I did not receive a bridge toll or the full fare for the ride.”
Within 15 minutes I get a reply from Uber …
Look at that – Uber helped me out and reimbursed me for the toll! I didn’t anticipate to obtain assist from Uber, however this was a special, and constructive, expertise completely. Within minutes my app confirmed the recalculated fare in my earnings – with toll included. Uber was actually on prime of this example.
Warning to Drivers: Be Alert
Now had I actually been on prime of the state of affairs, I may need realized en route what had occurred. But what might I’ve accomplished? Should I’ve stopped in the midst of freeway and insisted she get out of the automotive, since she had cancelled the journey?
I don’t assume so. It would serve nobody’s curiosity to put the passenger in hurt’s means and greater than doubtless she would have reported me to Uber.
Related: Reasons Why Drivers Need a Dashcam
In retrospect, had I found the rip-off proper on the spot, I feel I might have carried out precisely what I did – dropped her off after which let Uber find out about it – and let Uber deal with the miscreant nevertheless they want.
A couple of minutes after Uber cleared the toll situation up for me, I noticed I wouldn’t get the streak bonus – as a result of it was solely two accomplished rides.
I pointed this out to Uber not likely anticipating something …. and I obtained precisely what I anticipated. Here’s their reply.
Oh nicely, you possibly can’t win all of them. It’s solely $10, so I let it go.
Readers, has this occurred to you? Have passengers cancelled when you have been driving them? Let us know what occurred, and what you probably did, within the feedback.
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-John @ RSG
John Ince is a former Fortune reporter and Wall Street banker. He has about 1,000 rides beneath his belt driving half time for Uber and Lyft. He’s writing a e-book about his experiences entitled: Travels With Vanessa: A Rideshare Driver Tries To Make Sense of It all – For a sneak peak go to the hyperlink above.