Uber Driver Claims Company Keeps More Money Than It’s Supposed To

When you hail an Uber car, the driver of that vehicle is supposed to get a set percentage of the total fare you pay. However, one driver claims that Uber is breaking its agreement with drivers by basing their cut on an amount that is lower than what the passenger is charged.

According to a lawsuit [PDF] filed earlier this week with a federal court in San Francisco, UberX drivers are currently supposed to be making 80% of the passenger’s total fare, minus the Booking Fee.

The plaintiff driver, a man from North Carolina, contends that Uber is actually paying drivers lower than that 80% whenever a ride is not as long as Uber had expected it would be.

He gives some examples where Uber allegedly shortchanged him, like one ride where the passenger was charged $15.38 based on the pre-ride estimate calculated by the Uber app. After deducting the local booking fee (they vary by market) of $1.80, the plaintiff says that he should have been paid 80% of $13.58 (which comes out to $10.86) for that ride.

Instead, he says that Uber only paid him $9.91, nearly a dollar less, basing his rate on 80% of the actual distance and time driven — even though the passenger paid for more than that.

“This creates a discrepancy between the Fare charged to passengers and the amount that Uber improperly uses as a basis for paying drivers, a discrepancy that Uber conceals from drivers like Plaintiff,” reads the lawsuit, which contends that the Uber’s agreement with its drivers “clearly indicates that the Fare charged to passengers should be the same Fare used for the Fare Calculation. Drivers are to be paid based upon the amounts customers are paying.”

The driver in this case seeks to represent all other Uber drivers in a class action. However, he may face an uphill battle. The company now includes a forced arbitration clause in its contracts with drivers, requiring that they give up their right to bring a case through the legal system or join together in a class action. Last year, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals — the same circuit that includes the court where this lawsuit is pending — ruled that Uber drivers had indeed signed away their rights to a day in court.

We’ve reached out to Uber for comment but have not yet heard back. The company previously told Ars Technica it was reviewing the complaint.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.