This Week in Rideshare: Scams, Gunfire, and Bait.
Delivery gets scammed, a horrific experience for a Lyft driver, and tip baiting returns. LegalRideshare breaks it down.
Your latest delivery may have been dropped off by a fake driver. MarketWatch explains:
A group of 19 alleged scam artists have been accused of running a nationwide scheme in which they stole thousands of identities to create fraudulent rideshare and food delivery drivers’ accounts, which were then leased to people who hadn’t passed any driver background checks.
In all, prosecutors say the group — all of whom are Brazilian nationals — stole the identities of more than 2,000 people.
Attorney Bryant Greening released two videos he said were taken by the driver’s dashboard camera early on Dec. 19. They show the driver speeding through traffic as he repeatedly tries to contact Lyft’s emergency team, then ducking along with the two backseat passengers as shots are fired from an SUV.
No one was hit by the gunfire, but the driver was later beaten by friends of the passengers when he dropped them off, according to the videos.
“Ride-share companies advertise that their services are safe and tout their purported safety features,” Greening said Tuesday. “Yet in this case, we see a driver begging for assistance and being left stranded and vulnerable.”
There was no immediate comment from Lyft.
Greening said he plans to file a lawsuit against the company “in the coming weeks.” For now, he said, the driver does not want to be publicly identified.
While thousands were trapped on I-95 on Wednesday, one Uber rider left the experience with a $600 bill. WTOP reported:
“I was coming in from San Francisco and didn’t really realize what was going on here,” Peters told WTOP, explaining that he hopped in an Uber bound for Richmond after landing at Dulles International Airport.
His Uber driver apparently did not realize the severity of the situation either, because the driver went on the highway and got stuck in the traffic disaster.
Peters made it home after nine hours and paid a $200 Uber bill. However, Peters said Uber then tacked on $400 in additional charges, raising his bill to $600 in total.
“I’m still trying to find somebody to talk to understand why they feel like they could charge me this,” said Peters.
It appears tip baiting has returned in full force. Yahoo! explains:
Recently, a DoorDash driver went viral after sharing the “secret” downside of delivering to apartment buildings. Before that, a driver explained how they mistakenly received an order request from over 700 miles away.
In @owenlindstrom1’s video, he describes “tip baiting” as one of the “worst things” a driver can encounter. Basically, the concept involves a customer including a large tip with their order, then changing the tip amount after their food arrives.
“Unfortunately there’s not really anything you can do to fight it,” @owenlindstrom1 adds. “Because the customer holds all the power.
That’s because, according to Uber Eats’ website, a tip can be edited up to an hour after the order arrives. The company adds that 100% of all tips go straight to the driver.
A small movement is underway at the Denver airport parking lot. CPR News reported:
“My goal is (for) everybody to know their rights and also to be able to negotiate with Uber, so we can make a better earning,” he explained.
Machar is a leader of Colorado Independent Drivers United. It’s not a traditional union — labor laws and Uber’s business model make that impossible. Instead, he was trying to convince drivers to join the group in its campaign to make the platforms more responsive and transparent in Colorado.
So far, he said, CIDU has signed up more than 400 drivers, who are asked to pay $25 a month in dues. As he toured the parking lot, it took Machar a few hours to recruit several more — all of them sharing their own complaints about the ride-sharing giants.
LegalRideshare is the first law firm in the United States to focus exclusively on Uber®, Lyft®, gig workers, delivery and e-scooter accidents and injuries.