Why Can’t You Tip Your Uber Driver From Within The App?

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Uber’s goal is to make the process of hailing a cab seamless and easy, without requiring users to carry cash or even have any idea what street address they’re at. The company’s success shows how much people like this integrated pricing model, but as the company lowers fares, drivers earn less money. Yet asking for tips, even with a sign in the backseat, can get a driver in trouble.

In general, consumers don’t like when tips are an expected but unspoken part of a transaction: it makes things awkward and sometimes means having to actually talk to their driver. That’s why one Uber driver started an online petition to call attention to the issue, which received more than 13,000 signatures before being shut down.

Why don’t drivers just put up a sign or a tip jar? Drivers report that they get in trouble with the service for asking customers for tips. If someone wants to voluntarily offer one, that’s great, but they can’t ask.

Should a five-star rating be its own reward, or does making tipping more common on the service serve as an incentive?

Passengers may think that their fare includes a tip because they’re asked to provide a fixed tip amount when registering for when they hail an UberTAXI. That’s when the app lets people use their phone to hail a traditional licensed taxi, as opposed to a Town Car or regular car (UberX) that is driving for Uber. Passengers may think based on this that tips are included. They are not. If you actually read the service’s terms and conditions, Uber points out that all of their rhetoric about tips not being required doesn’t mean that tips are included.

. Any representation by Uber (on Uber’s website, in the Application, or in Uber’s marketing materials) to the effect that tipping is “voluntary,” “not required,” and/or “included” in the payments you make for services provided is not intended to suggest that Uber provides any additional amounts, beyond those described above, to the Third Party Provider. You understand and agree that, while you are free to provide additional payment as a gratuity to any Third Party Provider who provides you with services obtained through the Service, you are under no obligation to do so. Gratuities are voluntary. After you have received services obtained through the Service, you will have the opportunity to rate your experience and leave additional feedback about your Third Party Provider. In the event you feel unwelcome pressure to provide a gratuity, you may factor that experience into the rating or additional feedback you give.

All drivers want is for the app to prompt passengers to leave an optional tip: it’s not required.

To tip or not to tip drivers, that is Uber’s question [CNET]

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