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Uber has just confirmed drivers are not independent contractors

Discussion in 'Melbourne | Uber Drivers Forum' started by Uberx zoom, May 12, 2018.

  1. Uberx zoom

    Uberx zoom Well known member (founder)

    In an email to all drivers in Victoria Uber informed of a new “Upfront fares” system. The email dated 27 March reads as follows:

    “...Starting today, upfront fares are live in Melbourne. In cities where upfront fares have been introduced, data shows that riders tend to request more because they have more certainty about the price. More overall requests can mean more trips for driver-partners.

    How do upfront fares work? With upfront fares, instead of an estimated price range, an upfront fare provides an exact price to the rider before they request a trip. The amount the rider pays is the amount the driver receives, minus Uber’s service fee and any charges. If the trip changes significantly, such as with heavy traffic or multiple extra stops, the fare will automatically be adjusted to use the actual time and distance travelled using the rates that currently exist in your city...

    This new system may sound sensible on its face value. However, drivers, (claimed by Uber to be “independent contractors”) are kept in the dark and are not being told what the actual “upfront fare” price is until the trip ends, often underpaying drivers for the actual trip’s time and kilometers traveled (by up to 25% in many cases). This is a major change of conditions, effectively forcing many drivers into an unannounced pay cut and causing them even more profit loss in an already very tight margins industry.

    RSDU have been receiving hundreds of letters from angry drivers since this new system was introduced. Drivers who tried to contact Uber to query the obvious “errors” in calculation of trip gross fares often received from Uber an unhelpful automated reply insisting the “upfront fare” calculated for the trip was done properly, when it was clearly not according to drivers/Uber trip meter. Uber's automated replies to upfront price driver queries often read as follows:

    “...We have checked this trip and can confirm that the calculation of the fare has been carried out correctly. The fares are calculated at the time of the request according to the destination and taking into account time and distance, as well as traffic and demand. In this case, the alternate route taken did not exceed the upfront fare therefore the fare was not adjusted....”

    Drivers have a meter. Completed trips have a trip duration and number of kilometers traveled clearly noted. Looking at that information it is quite easy for a driver to see that he/she was short changed, often by up to 25%! And on too many trips.

    RSDU have seen numerous cases of “system” intentional miscalculation, cases of drivers being stuck in traffic for extended periods of time due to an accident or a road closure or driving to the destination according to different passenger instructions yet not being compensated for the very obvious “significant changes” to the trip, as originally claimed by Uber.

    Furthermore, we have evidence of an Uber support employee admitting the system DOES NOT really compensate drivers for significant trip changes like uber originally promised. Heavy unexpected traffic conditions, a common occurrence on Melbourne roads are not being compensated!

    One of Uber’s replies of an upfront price query reads as follow:

    “...After reviewing the details of this trip, I went ahead and adjusted the fare to $48.67 to reflect the accurate time and distance of the trip.

    While upfront fares should take into account all the factors that typically affect the price of a trip, they do not currently account for unexpected changes to the estimated time of a trip, such as wait time or heavy traffic...”

    The above evidence was obtained by a driver after numerous support queries, constantly being given the run around and presented with automated replies fraudulently claiming that the queried trip was ‘checked’ when it obviously wasn’t even meant to be looked at.

    The question anyone must ask themselves is: if upfront prices are so “upfront”, then why are drivers the last to know what they are? Often unable to do anything once the trip has ended, only to discover they’ve been short changed and are being paid (for many trips) considerably less to what the meter reads.

    Uber drivers are kept in the dark when it comes to the trip destination, knowing what it is only after the trip start, risking deactivation if they cancel. In addition, drivers are now kept in the dark when it comes to the actual cost of the trip, often to discover a nasty surprise in the form of underpayment at the end of it, forced into a frustrating and endless argument with an automated email Uber “support” agent programmed to brush them off!

    Read the full article here:

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