A new investigation claims Uber could be charging users more if their phone battery is critically low. In its latest report, Belgian newspaper Dernier Heuer accused the ride-hailing app-based service of determining a customer’s phone battery to decide cab fares.
The study by the newspaper looked at how Uber changes cab fares for users in the capital city of Brussels based on their phone’s battery level. It mentions a probe (Via Brussels Times) where two identical ride requests were placed on two different phones. For the same destination, the Uber app on a phone with 12 percent battery showed a price 6 percent higher than its counterpart on a phone with 84 percent battery.
Uber has dismissed the claims, saying that the app cannot determine the battery level of a user’s phone. The newspaper quoted Uber as saying, “Uber does not take into account the battery level of the phone to calculate the price of the ride.” The San Francisco-headquartered company said dynamic pricing is applied based on current demand for rides and the availability of drivers who accept ride requests.
But this isn’t the first time Uber has been hit with such allegations. Back in 2016, Uber’s former head of economic research, Keith Chan, told NPR in an interview that the company knew that users with low battery levels were more willing to pay increased prices for their rides. While he denied that Uber was using this data to intentionally inflate cab fares, people were skeptical as to why the company was checking users’ phone battery levels.
Meanwhile, Uber as well as other ride-hailing apps pay Goods and Services Tax, otherwise known as GST, to the government for bookings made for an auto-rickshaw or any other non-air-conditioned vehicle. Have to do The earlier order by the Delhi High Court, which was challenged by Uber India Systems through a petition, was upheld on Thursday.
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