back to article Uber coughs up $20m after 'lying about how much its drivers make'

Cab app Uber has agreed to pay $20m to settle charges that it exaggerated how much drivers using its software can earn and downplayed the cost of financing cars through the company. "Many consumers sign up to drive for Uber, but they shouldn't be taken for a ride about their earnings potential or the cost of financing a car …

  1. Pliny the Whiner

    This vehicle brakes for blondes

    As long as you use the word "disruptive" in, like, every third sentence that comes out of you mouth, you can bypass all laws, regulations, and licensure that apply to everyone else who does what you do. So, the next time you're pulled over for drunk driving, just tell the nice officer that you're being "disruptive." Odds are, s/he'll agree with you as s/he slaps on the handcuffs. WARNING: This one weird trick works only for the monied interests and the self-important. Like, say, Uber.

    And what's the deal with the [sic] in the last sentence of the article?

    1. Michael Nelson

      Re: This vehicle brakes for blondes

      "And what's the deal with the [sic] in the last sentence of the article?"

      The Latin word 'sic' -- 'thus' (short for 'sic erat scriptum/dictum'), and is there to indicate that the error was in the original source which was quoted.

      "[...]for anyone looking to earn money on their [sic] own schedule."

      If you want to know what the error was -- "anyone" is singular, "their" is plural.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Re: "anyone" is singular

        That may be the case, but saying "for anyone looking to earn money on anyone's own schedule" does not imply the same thing.

        This is a failure of English to assign a proper word for this grammatical case. As for me, I don't think there is an error in the original sentence and I understood the meaning perfectly well.

        1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

          Re: "anyone" is singular

          Their is often used in the singular for non-gender-specific cases, and it doesn't warrant a [sic] IMHO.

          Which word would you use in its place?

          1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: "anyone" is singular

            "Which word would you use in its place?"

            I'd used its; it's the only other gender neutral pronoun in English.

            My coat? Yup, that's him.

          2. Michael Nelson

            Re: "anyone" is singular

            According to traditional grammar: "his". Similarly, it is generally accepted that the word "mankind" does not just refer to males. A related example is the French word for "they" -- "ils" for men, "elles" for women, or "ils" for a mixed group.

            To avoid being "gender-specific", I would say "his or her". To me, that sounds less clumsy than "their", because the grammar is not broken. Some people would choose to say "her". That's also fine, as far as I am concerned.

            Many people would say "they" in this context. I don't go around correcting them, and I am sure that it is passing into normal usage. I just find it sounds a little bit wrong.

            1. Ralph B

              Re: "anyone" is singular

              Indeed. Even Oxford Dictionaries accept this usage. I quote: "Some people object to the use of plural pronouns in this type of situation on the grounds that it’s ungrammatical. In fact, the use of plural pronouns to refer back to a singular subject isn’t new: it represents a revival of a practice dating from the 16th century. It’s increasingly common in current English and is now widely accepted both in speech and in writing."

  2. Youngone Silver badge

    Judge Fail?

    The dissenting option seems odd, considering the problem seems to be Uber claiming median* incomes were so much when they weren't.

    The Commisioner carping on about possible incomes being whatever number sounds beside the point to me.

    * I'll bet they didn't use median, I'll bet they used average.

    1. dan1980

      Re: Judge Fail?

      Yeah, that's what I thought too - Uber claimed X was Y when in fact it was 0.7Y but one judge argued that X wasn't a very good choice in the first place.

      Great, but that's still Uber's problem. If the choice of measurement is misleading, that's hardly a mitigating factor for Uber - it makes it worse.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Judge Fail?

        My understanding there was that Uber correctly said that X = Y, but someone came up and said that actually X' was a more informative statistic and X' = 0.7 Y. In this case, X would be the median income, and X' being the median standardised into a 40 hour week, whatever that means.

        I think it's a step too far if people and organisations can't publish whatever statistics they want to ( and have the rights for ). If Uber want to publish stats on the mean temperature in South Sudan, that should be their perogative. It would be our role as the audience for that advert to determine for ourselves that the heat in South Sudan isn't relevant to driving an uber in the US.

    2. william flipflops

      * I'll bet they didn't use median, I'll bet they used average.

      median is a form of average

      so is arithmetic mean

      so is geometric mean

      and others ...

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Average

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: * I'll bet they didn't use median, I'll bet they used average.

        But if I was to serve you a mean chilli you wouldnt use 'average' to describe it.

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: * I'll bet they didn't use median, I'll bet they used average.

        I think that they used "Median" in the place of "We pulled these figures out of our bum".

  3. julian.smith

    Uber lied

    They've got form

    They make it up as they go along

  4. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    FAIL

    Nice idea

    When Uber arrived I really thought that it was a good thing, but they have continually acted badly. I won't be using their services

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And what's the deal with all the spam I've been getting?

      "Do you want to make extra money? Drive with Uber" or similar crap. Never opened that to see if it is really a phishing attempt or an attempt to get more victims.

  5. Paul Kinsler

    "those with the grit and gumption to work 160 hours per week might ..."

    ... not be in a fit state to drive?

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: "those with the grit and gumption to work 160 hours per week might ..."

      Be breaking laws even in post brexit britain.

  6. Rich 11 Silver badge

    Trump target

    "Uber has publicized high annual and hourly earnings to entice consumers to become Uber drivers," the FTC complaint states. "However, once drivers have begun to receive their paychecks, drivers have discovered their actual earnings were substantially less than Uber has claimed."

    Doesn't the FTC realise that it is harming America by undermining good, capitalist instinct? I expect the incoming president will be only too happy to slash their funding to ensure that they can no longer disrupt the disruptive.

  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "slash their funding"

    And how would he do that ? Does Uber have some government funding we are not aware of ?

    Because the President of the US does not have the power to tell private individuals in a capitalist economy to not put money into something.

    But I acknowledge that it is typically American to expect the US President to wave a hand and do something about whatever it is that irks them at that specific point in time.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: "slash their funding"

      He can slash finding of the FTC though...

    2. HausWolf

      Re: "slash their funding"

      This particular president claims that he can wave his hands and fix things though.... and he is smarter than all the generals as well.

      The clown show should be enjoyable for the next couple of years if he lasts that long.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "slash their funding"

        "The clown show should be enjoyable for the next couple of years if he lasts that long."

        You think? It's not "reality" TV anymore.

        1. JK63

          Re: "slash their funding"

          Sadly, it will be reality TV without the quotes in the US.

      2. Swarthy Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: "slash their funding"

        Enjoyable, perhaps, for those watching from the outside. But spare a thought for those stuck inside the clown show, for whom the more appropriate adjective is "interesting" - as in times.

        Icon: Also, spare a thought for those who are on the outside, but within the wind-drift areas for the fallout.

  8. Chris G Silver badge

    Some clowns are not funny

    Judging by some of the Trumpster's cabinet appointments, while the appointees may not be carreer politician, most of what they are likely to do will be far from funny.

    We will have an ex general on board who makes Patton look as though he was weak willed and didn't try hard enoughbut if we manage to avoid WW III then watching corporations taking even more power and funneling more wealth to the one percent will be order of the day.

  9. ecofeco Silver badge

    I'm surprsied they make even that much

    I'm skeptical they make over 50k a year.

    And is the 50-60k before or after taxes? Because if that is before taxes, then take home net in the U.S. will be in the high 30s or mid 40s.

    Now add in car repairs and service.

    Ouch.

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