“Because Uber overestimates its initial fee, drivers are paid less than they are contractually entitled to,” the complaint states. Paul Maslo, a lawyer representing Dulberg, said Uber’s response is due April 24.
Uber last year debuted “upfront pricing,” a new system in which customers agree to their fare before booking a ride. The model was touted for being more transparent than Uber’s previous fare system, which only let riders view an estimate of their final price. But upfront pricing isn’t always so upfront.
Around the time Uber switched to upfront pricing, several drivers told Quartz they began noticing a delay between when they completed a trip and when the summary of the ride became available. Before that, drivers said these details, which include their earnings after Uber’s commission and other adjustments, used to appear instantly.
“It started around the time they instituted upfront pricing, which just made upfront pricing even more shady in my opinion,” said Harry Campbell, founder of The Rideshare Guy. “I don’t know why there would be a delay other than so that the driver and passenger can’t compare fares.”
Uber said the upfront fares that riders agree to are a “best guess” of what a trip will cost based on time, distance, traffic, and demand, among other factors. Drivers are paid based on the actual length of a trip. Uber said this sometimes results in drivers being paid out of a higher fare than what the passenger is charged upfront. The company declined to provide details on whether these discrepancies net out in Uber’s favor. Ride-hailing is a high-volume, low-margin business, so coming out even a little ahead on these fare variations could have a meaningful impact on Uber’s bottom line.
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