Uber driver's video shows how to manipulate prices

An Uber spokeswoman said manipulating the app to simulate surge pricing conditions is against the ride-sharing company's policy.
By Ben Hooper Contact the Author   |  May 19, 2015 at 9:35 AM
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LOS ANGELES, May 19 (UPI) -- A Los Angeles-area Uber driver raised controversy online with a YouTube video showing colleagues how to trick the system into raising fares.

The video, titled "Driving for Surge," was shared on the online forum Uber People and purports to show drivers how to take advantage of surge pricing by tricking the system into thinking there is a high demand for Uber cars.

"It would be nice if we all got on the surge bus and rode to profits together. Here's a little how to, please follow and share," the poster wrote.

Uber's surge pricing causes fares to go up when demand for rides is high, but the video shows how the system can be tricked into thinking there is a higher demand by repeatedly canceling planned pickups and then putting them back into the system.

"Consistently canceling rides in an effort to manipulate the app or discriminate against riders is in violation of the contract that driver partners sign," Uber spokeswoman Taylor Patterson told NBC Los Angeles. "Driver partners who do this may be deactivated from the system."

Liz Price, a Los Angeles area resident who frequently uses Uber services, said she believes some anomalies she noticed with the Uber app may have been a result of someone using the technique to raise her fare.

"It'll show that the car is actually moving on the screen... but it just stops and then it'll go back to the main screen," Price said.

Uber's surge pricing system has proven controversial in the past -- the practice was criticized last year when Uber riders in Sydney complained of inflated fares while they were attempting to leave the area during a hostage situation.

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