It’s no secret that I love the ease and convenience of Uber and have been using the app for years. What I like most about Uber is that it’s a cashless service. I love the convenience of getting in and out of the car and not having to deal with digging for my wallet at the end of the ride. However, unlike Lyft, there is no way to add a tip at the end of the ride using the Uber app.
Despite all of the good things to say about the app, Uber has been receiving a lot of negative press recently, and I believe it’s rightfully so.
Last year, I blogged about the correlation between tipping and your Uber rating, and the comments section alone is definitely worth a read. Then I’ve discovered first-hand that more and more Uber drivers are calling ahead to ask for your destination to see if it’s “worth it” to pick you up.
I personally have been canceled on many times, especially rides from my home in New Jersey into NYC. Le Chic Geek recently blogged about her fishy experience, and Pizza in Motion further warns people to stop agreeing to cancel rides when drivers request to.
Now let’s talk about some new shadiness: Uber drivers aggressively hustling for a tip.
Let me tell you about my last 2 Uber rides.
Before I even sat down in the car, my Uber driver called my phone and asked for my destination (red flag). I told him it was against policy to do that and if he was planning on canceling my ride, he should do that now so I don’t have to waste any more time. I still told him where I was going and he decided it was “convenient” for him, so he picked me up.
I kid you not, as soon as I sat down, he started aggressively demanding a tip. He tried to be sly with it at first by saying ,”Can I just give you my 2-second Uber spiel?”. He then proceeds to give me a sob story about how he used to work on Wall Street and how he thinks it’s BS that he gets paid so little from Uber, and that he prefers cash tips at the end of the ride, especially since he is “doing all he can” to make sure I arrive at my destination safely.
He went on for 15 minutes of the ride. At first I nodded and tried to keep quiet, but after he didn’t stop after I put my headset on and texted my mom asking her to call me so he would shut up, I finally said “look – instead of making your riders feel uncomfortable, why don’t stop driving for Uber all together and get a job that makes you a happier person”. He responded by saying, “you must work for Uber with that response”. I have never been happier to be home after that ride.
I recently requested a ride in Atlantic City to go from the Tropicana to The Golden Nugget. As soon as I was assigned a driver, I received this text:I give the driver an A for effort for cleverly for trying to “trick” people into thinking it was an automated message, but I very well know he typed it and sent it to me himself because it appeared under an older text thread between me and another Uber driver on a different ride.
It didn’t end there though. When my friend and I stepped into the car at 2 in the morning, we immediately noticed HUGE signs soliciting for tips that looked like it was Uber-branded marketing material. If those tactics weren’t obvious enough, he says, “hey ladies, I will turn on the light so you can take a minute to read the signs”.
While I understand drivers may want tips, it is so beyond awkward and ridiculous to make a rider feel like they are being exhorted for money at the end of the ride. One recent MarketWatch article states: “Drivers accept tips and, at least anecdotally, a growing number seem to be expecting them”
First the record, there have been many instances when I have tipped my Uber driver… especially when I am traveling with my kids and the bulky double stroller. I’ve also tipped on other random trips too when I’m feeling extra generous or if the driver truly does something spectacular. But I will be the first to say that I don’t usually tip at the end of my Uber rides. Mainly because I don’t carry cash, but I definitely won’t when I feel forced to.
A fair solution would be for Uber to install an in-app option to add a tip.
In general, still think the tipping culture in America is getting out of control. There’s nothing more frustrating than being in a taxi cab in Las Vegas, having an $8 ride, and being charged a $3 “convenience fee” for using your credit card… and then on top of that, a 25% tip “suggestion” automatically highlighted before you reach the final payment screen. Talk about a joke!
Have you noticed an upward trend in Uber drivers aggressively asking for a tip? Feel free to share your stories in the comments.