For Uber Drivers, Long Trips Have a Dark Side

Yesterday, I picked up a Canadian couple from where they were staying in Noosaville.

The app used one of its nifty new features to tell me it was a long ride (30 min +).

But it wasn't until I got there and started the trip that I found out how long.

They were headed for Eagle Farm, a northern suburb of Brisbane, near the airport. That meant a trip of around 140 km. They were picking up a rental to continue the next leg of their Australian adventure.

The trip to Eagle Farm was mostly on 100 km/hr and 110 km/hr motorways, so that was fine by me.

After I dropped them off and helped them unload their luggage, I completed the trip.

The fare came up at around $155. Even if I got nothing on the trip back, it was still worthwhile.

So I set the "Find trips toward a destination" option and headed back. (I did in fact pick up 3 shorter trips on the way back, so that was good too).

But I soon noticed that the $155 had disappeared!


In its place was a fare being calculated message. Whaaa?

I let it go overnight, but nothing had changed by morning. So I contacted Uber through the partner app's Help.

The first problem was that there was no way to get Help referencing that particular trip. So I selected the one after it and submitted my query.

Here's a record of the conversation:

ME: My issue is not with this trip but the one before it at 9:15. But there is no way of reporting an issue with that trip. It was a long trip and when I completed it the fare was shown at around $155. Shortly after this disappeared and the trip has been shown as calculating ever since. It's now nearly 24 hours! When will this be fixed?

UBER: Thanks for reaching out, Phillip.

Under certain conditions, when a fare is especially high, it will be flagged for manual review by Uber's team.

Manual review is used for security purposes. Once the payment is cleared by the Uber team, it will be eligible for payment.

Please allow 1 - 2 business days for review. If you do not see payment for this trip on your next weekly statement, please reach out again.

Hope this information is helpful.

ME: This delay in processing a perfectly straightforward trip is totally unacceptable. Please expedite.

UBER: Thank you for keeping in touch, Phillip.

Please note that for higher fares, manual review is needed for security purposes.

We appreciate your patience.

ME: I'm not arguing with manual review. The length of time taken is unacceptable. Surely all you have to do is confirm that the route taken was optimal.

UBER: Thank you for getting in touch, Phillip.

I understand how important this is for you.

Please allow 1 - 2 business days for your fare to be reviewed. If after that time you do not see payment for this trip, please reach out again.

Thank you for your patience while our team reviews the trip fare.

ME: Thanks but this is a boilerplate response. Please answer my question. Why does this take so long? What checks do you have to do? I could look at a map and take 30 seconds to determine that the correct route was taken.

UBER: Hi Phillip,

Thanks for letting us know. The reason you are not seeing this trip in your statement is because large fares must be given special approval before it can be processed. This is for security purposes so rest assured that you will be paid once it clears the approval process.

Sorry to hear about the delay, however, once this fare has been approved, it will be on your next (or the following) week's statement.

If you do not see it after two payment statements, please let me know and I will immediately look into it.

Drive safely and have a great day!

ME: Thanks but you just keep telling me the same thing without answering my question. What checks are done and why does it take so long?

UBER: Thanks for keeping in touch with us, Phillip.

I understand how important it is to be paid on time as an exchange of all your hard works and effort so let me assist you. This may take a few business days for the approval this will need an special approval from our local team to make sure that the fare is accurate. This is for security purposes so you will be paid once it clears the approval process.

Hope this helps.

ME: So please clarify. You're just not going to answer my questions. Is that it?

There was no response from Uber.

Then this evening I was sitting at my computer (using a real keyboard!) so decided to submit a further query through Help on the Uber website.

ME: I have had several text exchanges on this matter via the partner app's help, but cannot seem to get an answer. This ride was from Noosaville to Eagle Farm and I took the optimal route. The fare appeared on my phone at around $155. Then disappeared. I understand that because it's a large fare, it has to be checked. What I can't understand is why this takes so long. It's now a day and a half and still no sign of it. My questions are simple. What exactly are the checks that need to be done? Do you have to contact the rider or do you just look at a map to check that the route was optimal. And above all, why does it take so long. Please answer these questions. Don't just tell me that the payment will appear in my account eventually.

UBER: Thanks for reaching out, Phillip.

Uber flags high fare trips for manual review by a special team in order to protect Uber from paying out very large fares for unauthorized trips and to protect cardholders from credit card fraud.

We appreciate your understanding and patience, have a great day.

ME: You are ignoring my questions. If you don’t know the answers, please just say so.

I wonder if anyone in Uber understands how frustrating a conversation like this is.

It makes a mockery of the term "Help".

Boilerplate text saying the same thing over and over again without answering the actual questions being asked.

And did you notice that the delay blew out from 1 -2 business days to a few business days to next week's statement or the following week's statement to let me know if you don't see it after two payment statements.

And personally I could do without all the "thanks for reaching out" and similar. Just answer the question would be great.

I'll be tempted to cancel the next long trip and tell the passenger why.


Phil Lancaster

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