December 5 2022 1:57 AM E-paper Subscribe Sign in My Account Sign out

Riders bear brunt of Uber’s cancellation policy, tech loopholes

Riders have reported receiving more than three cancellation notices prior to completing an Uber ride in Jordan. (Photo: Pixabay)
AMMAN — The days of hailing a cab in the middle of the street as seen in old movies are almost gone.

The banality of raising one's arm to signal for a commute has been replaced by the click of a button on any one of the many ride-share apps that are used around the world today.اضافة اعلان

Ordering an Uber around the teeming streets of the Kingdom is relatively easy, but if you regularly face cancellations from drivers on your app, using apps like Uber becomes an arduous setback.

Uber is one of the most recognized ride-sharing applications globally, and according to BusinessWire, by the end of 2020, it amassed a global net revenue of $11.1bn, carrying out more than 500 billion rides.

The corporation has a strict cancellation policy for both riders and drivers, but according to the experiences of several customers, the policy is tipped in favor of the driver.

If a rider cancels a trip after they have been matched with a driver, they are charged a cancellation fee for the inconvenience. However, the same fee is not imposed on the driver if they decide to cancel.

On Uber's website, some cancellation behaviors by drivers are considered to be in breach of the Services Agreement, including "refusing to complete a trip for a rider based on their intended destination," and "refusing to complete a trip for your rider for any reason that would be in breach of relevant discrimination laws and the conditions set out in your Private Hire Driver license."

Additionally, evasion of certain neighborhoods and peak hours violates Uber's rules. Nevertheless, it continues to happen.

A common issue with Uber, according to complaints from some users, has been the cancellation of rides by drivers.

This normally happens when a driver picks up a trip on the application, gets close to the pickup spot, and then suddenly, and without warning, cancels.

"When you wait 10 minutes for an Uber, then he cancels, then it happens three more times, that's a half-hour you waited," said Ali Ali, a channel sales software manager from New York, in an interview with Jordan News.

This daily obstacle has become part of Ali's hackneyed morning routine.

The ex-pat has been living in Amman on and off for roughly six years and depending on the day, he is forced to "wake up and leave earlier for work just in case I have to deal with this in the morning," said Ali.

Ali presumes that the method of payment has something to do with the constant cancellations and the drivers' unpredictability.

He believes drivers prefer cash because it's easier and upfront compared to the complicated nature of visa cards, particularly because only half of Jordan's households hold bank accounts, according to numbers from the Department of Statistics from a 2017/2018 survey.

The retrieval of payments by card could prove to be an additional hassle for drivers without bank accounts, which Ali believes is the reason why most drivers avoid the inconvenience.

"Sometimes I get three or five cancellations before a driver finally picks me up," said Ali Ali.

Jade Lauren Beakhouse, another foreigner living in the Kingdom, shares Ali’s sentiment. "They always say I wasn't wearing a face mask, which has never been the case," said Beakhouse in an interview with Jordan News.

She describes how drivers cancel moments before arriving without a pretense of an apology.

"It's a manipulation from drivers," said Jordanian business owner Abdallah M. Adwan in an interview with Jordan News. Abdullah used Uber for a short period after he sold his car and was looking for a new one.

"Once when I ordered an Uber, the driver showed up at the pickup point but without waiting a single minute. He just left and I had to pay a fee."
Uber holds a monopoly on ride-share applications in the region.

In early 2020 , the ride-hail giant acquired Careem, a company like Uber that originated and predominantly operates in the MENA region, for $3.1Bn. The acquisition has created a platform conglomerate of super apps that can service anything from a ride to a courier to food delivery.

An employee at Layaali Amman hotel disclosed to Jordan News under condition of anonymity that they waited "20 minutes, and when I entered the car, he told me ‘Credit card no.

I am not going. Go out of the car.' Then he reported me that I was not wearing a mask.”

Jordan News attempted to look further into how likely it would be to order a ride with a card and have it canceled.

At 6:38pm on the August 10, a car was ordered. The method: Card. At some point between the acceptance of a trip and meeting the rider at their intended pickup point, the driver receives details of the trip.

The arrival time is estimated at five minutes. At 6:44, the car shows. It is 490m from the pickup point, and by 6:45 the ride was canceled.

Shortly after, a second driver picks up the run. By 6:48, when the car is a mere 80m away and seen to be approaching, a message pops up reading, "Your driver canceled, but you'll be connected with another one shortly."
Two cancellations later, a car accepts and sees out the ride to its end for the intended destination.

A few minutes later, Uber messages to say that the reason for the cancellations was solely due to the rider not wearing a mask.

We received the same justification as Beakhouse did, but the question lingers as to how the drivers could have known whether the riders are wearing masks if they cancel before stopping.

With all these similar individual accounts of cancellations, an attempt to reach out to Uber was made, which proved to be yet another challenge to add to the list.

Any initial complaints to or about Uber must be made through the application itself. The phone number listed online for the Amman office has an automated message that reads, "Upon the customer's request, all calls to the mobile number you dialed are currently barred."

An additional attempt to contact the London office was made with the representative referring us to the app for complaints.

The complaints were directed to the app. After explaining the nature of the issue, a representative responded with a message reading, "Rest assured that we take this matter seriously, and we'll follow up appropriately.

" A final attempt for accountability was made with a call to the Ministry of Transport, which subsequently had no affiliation with Uber or their regulations and referred us to The Road Transport Regulatory Authority. The authority disclosed to Jordan News that they have been receiving complaints about Uber and that they were looking into the issues.

While Uber and Careem are the more popular methods of transportation around congested roads, the fault in the system and the loophole for the drivers means lower quality for Uber users in Jordan and an almost anticipated inconvenience.

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