Belgian newspaper Dernière Heure alleges that the ride-hailing app Uber is modifying prices according to customers’ smartphone battery levels. A small study investigating this claim found discrepancies for similar trips:
Dernière Heure conducted a test using two smartphones, one with 84% battery and the other with 12%, to request a ride from their office in Brussels to Tour & Taxis in the centre.
The result showed a significant price difference, with the phone at 12% battery being charged €17.56 and the phone at 84% battery being charged €16.6 for the same service.
Uber rejected the small study by the Belgian newspaper. When contacted about the results, a spokesperson said:
“Uber does not take into account the phone’s battery level to calculate the price of a trip. The dynamic pricing applied to trips booked via Uber is determined by the existing demand for rides and the supply of drivers who can respond to it. During peak hours, when there are many ride requests and few available drivers in a certain geographical area, this may impact the price of the trip.”
“Uber’s explanation does not clarify why two users requesting the same ride at the same time would pay different fares. In any case, the price discrepancy may encourage users to compare offers on their respective phones when booking rides together,” The Brussels Times
… and this isn’t the first time Uber has been accused of taking advantage of its users’ battery life.
A broader study might be needed.
Thu, 04/13/2023 – 22:00