UberEats could be underpaying delivery drivers on 30% of trips, according to a programmer who reportedly built a tool that found the app was lowballing the miles that drivers traveled (UBER)
An Uber Eats driver claimed he collected data showing that the company has been consistently underpaying drivers, Salon reported Thursday.
The driver, who is also a computer programmer, built a tool for drivers to track their trips and determine if the company was paying them fairly, and found that Uber wasn't paying them for an average of 2.5 miles driven on 25-30% of trips, according to Salon.
Despite a surge in demand for food delivery during the pandemic, workers have seen their pay decline as out-of-work Americans flood the platforms, forcing earnings to be split between more of them.
Even before the pandemic, many ride-hail and delivery drivers reported earning less than minimum wage , and regulators have started cracking down, casting doubt on the sustainability of the gig economy business model.
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A programmer and Uber Eats driver built a tool that he claimed provides evidence that the food delivery service has consistently been underpaying drivers, Salon reported on Thursday.
Armin Samii, a computer scientist who has been working part-time for Uber Eats since losing his job during the pandemic, built a Chrome browser extension called "UberCheats" that helps drivers track their trips and pay, and said the initial data showed Uber shorting drivers on 25-30% of trips, according to Salon.
Uber Eats drivers, like most food delivery workers, are paid in part on a per-mile basis, and Samii told Salon that his tool found that, on average, Uber was not paying drivers for 2 1/2 miles per delivery — that is, paying them for a one-mile trip when in reality they drove 3.5 miles.
Samii told Salon that after multiple back-and-forths with Uber customer service, they admitted it was a bug and paid him the actual wage he was owed, but that based on data he collected via his browser tool: "this is pretty widespread and pretty egregious. And I don't think Uber has any plans to fix it."
Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Food delivery, grocery delivery, and ride-hail apps are notorious for using opaque and constantly evolving algorithms to determine drivers' pay, leading many drivers to claim that they're making below minimum wage and are heavily dependent on tips — even before the pandemic hit.
This also isn't the first time drivers have complained about Uber Eats' pay structure. Last fall, Uber introduced a change that drivers said resulted in a pay reduction by goading them into taking less profitable trips .
During the pandemic, some drivers say their wages have been compressed even further. As millions of out-of-work Americans turn to food delivery and grocery apps (Uber said its food delivery business outpaced ride-hailing for the first time and Instacart said it brought on 750,000 new shoppers ), the pie is being split among more people. At the same...