Uber Starts Kicking Passengers Off the Platform for Low Ratings

There have been a lot of changes to Uber over the last couple of years, and many of them aren’t making things better for customers. For instance Uber’s surge pricing was better for you than you thought. Uber still engages in surge pricing they just don’t tell you they’re doing it and they don’t get criticized anymore. Uber wins because people like being tricked, but the old way was better.

Uber outlined new rules for riders detailing what would get you kicked off the platform. And they started letting you see your Uber rating in the app.

Uber ousted their controversial founder as CEO and brought in the head of Expedia, which alone should have told you consumers wouldn’t be better off.

He’s been on a mission of appeasement, apologizing to governments and drivers. Last year they started letting drivers leave feedback on customers.

Uber ratings were always important for drivers. Uber would enter a new city, recruit drivers, and then once they reached a critical mass of drivers they could push down driver pay and push drivers with low ratings off the platform. Gradually the ratings drivers needed to maintain might go up and up, to 4.6 even. Uber ratings never mattered much for customers, even though we all couldn’t help checking what ours was.

Now Uber is starting to ‘fire’ customers who maintain too low a rating. (HT: God Save the Points)

  • They started doing this in Brazil
  • They’re adding Australia and New Zealand effective September 19
  • Customers need at least a 4.0 rating
  • It’s not clear what country will be next

Copyright: think4photop / 123RF Stock Photo

To be sure it’s tough to get a rating of 4.0. Drivers used to rate you down if you didn’t tip, and I don’t keep cash to prepare for a cashless service, the lowest my rating ever went was 4.6 but it’s now 4.8. And I was did have a passenger in an Uber I called throw up during the ride. It was an employee of the House of Miles. He did not make a mess, and I gave the driver an extra $20 as an apology.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. There is no way to audit this, or to complain about what rating you were given, but yet Uber says that they are the new public transport. This shows again how we need to invest in public transportation, companies cannot be given the ability to decide if people can travel. Uber is a product, but not a utility.

  2. “To be sure it’s tough to get a rating of 4.0” -that is not true! – Try go to Colombia! There, drivers are actively giving the lowest score possible score when you don’t speak fluent Spanish. Hence, it is not difficult to have a 5.0 score to drop to 4.6 – it will only take a few trips during a week’s stay.
    And since the platform does not value the high scores as much as low scores – It requires several more drives in e.g. the US with a perfect scoring from the driver to cancel out the organised low scores you get in Colombia. (Personally I wonder how many other countries where they are allowing this)

  3. Queue the Black Mirror episode “Nose Dive” where everything in life is determined by an arbitrary score which determines what you can and can’t do/live/work etc.

  4. Awesome. Working in hospitality for 16 years I always thought there should be some sort of mechanism for this. There are some terrible customers out there but rather than banning them it should be a system where the driver can see you’re such a terrible customer prior to picking you up and has the option of simply not taking the ride.

  5. How about Uber paying its customers every time they do a bait-and-switch on promised driver arrival times? Every time I lock in a ride these days, it magically jumps 5-10 minutes the second I’ve committed. I can’t trust it for anything requiring a semblance of on-time arrival (meetings, flights, etc.).

    Honestly, Uber has gotten so bad that I’m back to using cabs for most work trips. Uber’s entry into markets caused a lot of the cab companies to get their act together and start taking CCs, plus cabbies actually know how to get around a city, not just stare at a GPS and make wrong turns.

  6. Yeah…that strategy is going to fail spectacularly, the customer is king…period. Just that policy alone is going to scare off hordes of potential customers from ever considering Uber. Tell Uber to talk to eBay about why they eliminated the ability for sellers to leave buyers negative feedback many moons ago. And ask yourselves whether you would ever buy from an eBay listing where the seller spends half of the description talking about how he is going to report scammers to the police and goes on an on about all of the vendetta he will unleash on a bad transaction. Retail means taking crap from customers. If you can’t deal, then it is better to close shop because the business is going to fail anyway.

  7. I’m a 2 year Uber and Lyft driver and customer. I have a 4.9+ driver score and 5.0 rider score on both apps. The US does not ban passagers from low score but actual complaints from drivers. Being loud or not tipping isn’t going to get you kicked off the platform. Making threats/fighting, damaging property, or breaking local or federal laws will get you kicked off the platform. Giving a score of 3 or less stars you will not be paired with that person again that’s for both driver and passenger. I’ve also given 4 or 5 stars to rides and sent messages to the company that I don’t want to be paired with the passagers again because of x or y reasons. So this is to just scare people. BTW customers are not always right, sometimes the app messes up and send drivers to the wrong location, and sometimes we can’t stop right where you want to be picked up we do try to get as close as possible. Experienced drivers know where and when they can park on the sides of the roads. Also don’t keep the driver waiting it’s not a limo service it’s an on demand ride service.

  8. @Paul. Sorry, but customers are always right. Unless they are doing something worthy of calling the police. “Scaring” people who patronize a business by choice isn’t going to make people smarter/compliant/better tippers/ less of a pain in the ass. It is going to make them call a different company that doesn’t ‘scare’ them.

  9. Would be more interesting if we knew the ratings distribution. If <4 ratings affect 1% of passengers and 1% of revenue then we could understand the effect.
    It is also begging a lawsuit due to lack of transparency and lack of appeals process.

  10. There’s no need to bribe drivers; they don’t see if a passenger bribed (“tipped”) them or not.

  11. @Hasse i just spent two weeks in Colombia and my uber score is 4.9 for colombia alone. I probably used uber about 15-20 times while there. Never had any issue.

  12. I have an Uber score of 4.56 and I’m darned if I can figure out why. I’m always ready and outside waiting for the car, I tip, I am courteous and polite, I never slam doors….so I’m at a loss. Can anyone shed light on this?

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