back to article Let down by a lousy UberX driver? They probably skipped the 'optional $65 customer service training course'

Amid complaints about some badly behaving drivers, you may not be surprised to hear that Uber's training course for cabbies is not only optional – it costs them $65 each to sit through it, apparently. A Forbes blog post claims the taxi app maker's bargain-basement UberX service charges drivers to take a class on providing good …

  1. Sebastian A

    What's that expression?

    Pay peanuts; get monkeys?

  2. Lars Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    No thanks

    The Forbes story is worth reading.

    "“Uber’s more concerned with flooding a market with a supply of drivers than they are with the quality of the product and the safety of their passengers.”

    "Its terms of service, like those of Lyft, Sidecar, and similar sharing-economy startups like Airbnb, make it clear over and over again that they are not liable under any circumstances for bad things that might happen when you use the service."

    “YOU EXPRESSLY WAIVE AND RELEASE THE COMPANY FROM ANY AND ALL ANY LIABILITY, CLAIMS OR DAMAGES ARISING FROM OR IN ANY WAY RELATED TO THE THIRD PARTY TRANSPORTATION PROVIDER,” Uber’s terms of service say."

    No thanks

    1. dan1980

      Re: No thanks

      @Lars

      Can you actually even legally waive those rights in those countries?

      In Australia, we have - thankfully - quite strong consumer protection laws that include provision of services and provide rights that cannot be waived or disclaimed, regardless of what you read or agree (explicitly or implicitly) to or sign.

      1. Lars Silver badge

        Re: No thanks

        @san1980, I don't know how it works in different countries and having to go to court to find out is not funny. It seems to me that those companies want to take the money but will avoid any responsibility. And what about insurance, any at all. I know there are shit drivers and poor systems as it is, too. But mending shit with more shit might not be the solution. So for me, no thanks, for now.

        1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

          @Lars Re: No thanks

          First, you can put pretty much anything in to a contract. Your lawyer would have to argue that you can't sign your rights away so easily otherwise you just did exactly that.

          In terms of insurance... its a bit murky.

          On the one hand... if you have a chauffeur's license and have the proper insurance for the car to carry passengers (commercial), you will be covered.

          If you have a normal drivers license and you have regular car insurance, your insurance company my refuse to pay for the accident.

          This is why Uber carries additional insurance and charges passengers per ride a $1.00 fee.

          What hasn't been made clear is if the additional insurance will actually pay out. In the past, the clause from Uber is that it pays out after your personal insurance carrier does. If your insurance company says no way... then Uber's insurance won't pay out either and the driver (you) are on the hook for everything.

    2. Stretch

      Re: No thanks

      That's great, as a totally invalid term like that voids the entire thing. So you don't have to pay for your service as you haven't agreed to anything.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: No thanks

        You clearly don't know contract law.

        There's a clause in almost every contract that states that if a paragraph is unenforceable, only that paragraph is invalidated and the rest of the contract stands.

  3. John Tserkezis

    For every story you hear about Uber, you can also apply it to the regular Taxi industry.

    Your milage may vary, as the saying goes, but stating a single user experience doesn't an industry standard make.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Regular taxi service problems? Not so much.

      It is much harder to find such poor behavior from registered and licensed taxi drivers as (a) they have much more to lose and (b) the registration process brings a certain level of accountability, the entire point of why the registration process was created.

      A quick perusal of Yelp proves how quickly this is true - Uber has already collected numerous complaints in the short time it has been operating and the complainers state that they never had problems with medallion cabs, which they state they will be going back to pronto.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "harder to find such poor behavior"

    Maybe where you live...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "harder to find such poor behavior"

      "Maybe where you live..."

      Yes, where I live. And since I live in the one of the 10 largest cities in the world I think the statistics of medallion taxi problems versus Uber problems is EXTREMELY valid.

      Let's check out how Uber is doing, rather that your condescending belief, no? Let's start with New York City:

      http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/09/uber-flunks-the-better-business-bureau-test/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

      "Uber, the smartphone-based hail-a-ride service, often claims it is cheaper than a ride in a taxi. It looks as if some Uber customers do not agree.

      The company received an “F” rating from the Better Business Bureau on Thursday, the lowest possible rating given by the organization."

      http://www.yelp.com/biz/uber-new-jersey?hrid=kE_BFVx55dX2w0bQWxHosQ

      Long Island City, 2.5 stars, 223 reviews in

      http://www.yelp.com/biz/uber-new-jersey

      Jersey City, 2.5 stars, 232 reviews in

      The taxis aren't perfect, but if a taxi double-charges you it would be their license. Uber? Not so much, and there's frequent complaints of that on the Yelp board.

      You'd better read those Yelp reviews - Uber's problem goes way beyond the issue of rudeness. Between the criminal charges against violent drivers AND the semi-frequent claims of overcharging concentrating on the blind "surge pricing", the high demand-period surcharge that many drivers do NOT fully quote prior to the start of your ride, your trip on Uber can go sour or cost you triple what you thought / what an equivalent taxi ride would have cost you.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "harder to find such poor behavior"

        Wow!

        Steady on Barry.

        I wasn't having a go.

        I was just lamenting the dreadful quality of drivers where I live....

      3. phil dude
        Coat

        Re: "harder to find such poor behavior"

        The thing is AC astroturfing is what happens to a lot of market upsets...

        I was recently in NYC with a buddy of mine who has the Uber app for many trips. The one time we got a yellow cab, the driver was extremely depending on your personal preference "rude" or "colourful". Not only did he not look where the cab was going (seriously), but when stopped at a light we cheerful starting a shouting match with the customer of another cab!!!

        However, we visited the Cloisters museum of NYC - trying get a cab up there...

        Uber etc may not be perfect, but the current system is clearly not for the benefit of the public...

        P.

      4. Raoul Miller

        Re: "harder to find such poor behavior"

        Agree completely.

        Those of us who have lived in NYC for a while know the "gypsy cab" operators that hang around outside the arrivals doors at LGA and JFK - that the city and port authority never seem to do anything about. Anyone who has ever used them knows that the $25 ride to Manhattan ends in a dodgy area at which the fare goes up 3 or 4X.

        UberX and Lyft are this very same scam (may well even be the same cars and drivers) except with an app to deliver you to them.

        Taxis are far from ideal in most of the US, UberX and Lyft are worse.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Just one question...

    why do we constantly compare Uber et al to Taxis?

    Surely they should be compared to minicabs, as you effectively have to "book" the service and not just get into one.

    Minicabs also have different laws / rules to Taxi's, for starters they can't be flagged down or park up waiting for a fare to get in.

    Or am I missing something?

    1. Edwin

      Re: Just one question...

      I suspect it's because the taxis vs. minicabs distinction does not exist in most countries - AFAIK, only the UK has this fine line.

      Coming back to an earlier question about waiving rights: no, in many countries, you can't. The famous 'the management of this establishment...' signs pertaining to e.g. wardrobes are a good example.

      If you make use of a service in good faith (call a cab, hang up your coat), you have a right to expect that the company you are dealing with (restaurant, Uber) has made reasonable efforts to ensure the service is as expected. I suspect 'a background check' and 'vehicle inspection' would be borderline acceptable in many countries, and look forward to the first civil cases in Europe.

    2. Lars Silver badge
      Go

      Re: Just one question...

      "Or am I missing something?" Perhaps not, but I think you are writing about London and I belive there is no similar system anywhere else. Or perhaps I am missing something.

      1. Pan_Handle

        Re: Just one question...

        The distinction between hackney carriages (which can pick up passengers from anywhere in their licenced area) and private hire vehicles ('minicabs', which can only carry pre-booked passengers) is UK-wide. A hackney has clearly stated information about how to complain etc - which I have exercised.

        In my experience, the difference between UK and USA taxi systems can't be over-emphasised. I would treat Uber like a minicab - i.e. I wouldn't trust or touch them.

  6. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Uber isn't the same everywhere

    UK Uber drivers have to be licensed to carry fare-paying passengers. That comes with its own background checks.

    Whilst some might sing the praises of black cabs, 1: they're expensive, 2: many of the drivers are utter wankers when it comes to consideration for other road users and 3: Even though it's illegal to refuse a fare, it's not hard to find that "going south of the river" late at night is a no-go.

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