Uber Drivers Are Quietly Rating & Blacklisting Passengers

uberappAnyone who’s hired an Uber car knows that you can give your experience a star rating when it’s done, but the thing you probably aren’t aware of is that Uber drivers are keeping tabs on passengers, and that supbar customers can end up being blacklisted.

“What we want is for people to respect the driver, and for drivers to respect the customer. We go above and beyond,” one veteran Uber driver explains to CBS Los Angeles. “They can give us a low rating. It can go both ways. That way, we can police each other.”

And this isn’t some informal system where drivers get together and say things like “Don’t pick up the Chris guy; he’s too handsome.” It’s a system where drivers can actually decide to not answer calls from passengers with low scores.

On Bay Area woman tells CBS that she found out she’d been blacklisted after having trouble getting an Uber to pick her up.

“I asked the driver what was going on. And he basically told me I had a really low Uber rating: under three out of five,” she explains. She believes her low score is unfair, claiming it likely resulted from her choosing to work on her phone during a ride than have a conversation with the driver. “I feel really judged for being blacklisted for not being really friendly.”

If you want to know your rating in the system, you can ask your driver. Uber says that a future version of the app will allow passengers to see what they have been rated by drivers so at least they won’t be standing outside their houses wondering why no one will pick them up.

Read Comments4

Edit Your Comment

  1. careycat says:

    Rating is fine but determining pickup based on this…isn’t that discrimination? It could eventually turn into discrimination.

    • RupturedDuck says:

      It’s called public accommodation. It won’t be long before Uber gets hit with a public accommodation/discrimination lawsuit. And it will not matter what the outcome of the suit will be because if Uber drivers are not real “employees,” but independent contractors, a driver will not have the money to pay for their own legal defense. So drivers will abandon Uber en-mass just to avoid getting sued. Unless, of course, Uber pulls its head out of its ass and really understands it has to act like a real public accommodation service under existing bus/taxi regulations where they operate.

  2. LibrariGeek says:

    This is exactly why these “ride sharing” social apps NEED to be under the same kinds of licensing regulations are taxi companies. In cities like NYC, there are laws preventing taxi companies from discriminating. The laws were created because they were necessary in the face of proven, undeniable discrimination. Uber, Lyft and co. can pretend that they’re something other than a dispatcher for unlicensed cabbies, but they’re not. And the same problems that led cities to regulate taxis didn’t go away just because someone wrote an iPhone app. Uber and Lyft are just taxi companies hoping to avoid the consumer protections that taxi companies are subject to.

  3. webalias says:

    Drivers are allowed to “discriminate” — and other public accommodations can too — as long as the discrimination isn’t based on race, gender, color, creed, disability, national origin or another characteristic that is specifically protected under state, federal or local laws. Or as long as some other law or regulation isn’t being violated. It seems like there could be some potential for a lawsuit based on defamation, though. If a Uber driver is making false statements about passengers he or she doesn’t happen to like, the passenger could well have grounds to sue. In any case, blacklisting customers seems like a risky practice, one Uber ought to discourage. But then, avoiding legal troubles and respecting the rights of others do not seem high on Uber’s list of priorities.

    That said, it would be interesting to know if those passengers who are blacklisted are disproportionately of one race, or one gender. There could be some discrimination going on, even if not deliberate or conscious, and that could spell trouble for Uber.