Uber Replied To My Complaint And Mostly Missed The Point

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On Monday I wrote about my experience with Uber at London’s Heathrow Airport where, after requesting a ride via the Uber app, I had drivers calling me up to ask where I was going then cancelling my ride within minutes of me refusing to answer the question.

After pulling together the evidence of what had gone on I emailed Uber to report the drivers concerned and I’ve now had a reply.

As a recap (and for anyone who’s not familiar with how Uber works) here’s the important thing you need to bear in mind:

I deliberately would not let the Uber drivers know my destination before they picked me up because it’s against Uber rules for them to ask in the first place.

Uber specifically doesn’t let drivers know a customer’s destination before a pick-up has been confirmed to prevent drivers cherry-picking their jobs. This is to prevent issues such as drivers refusing short journeys or refusing journeys that they feel are inconvenient – it’s actually one of the better rules Uber has.

I wrote to Uber to report the drivers concerned and I pointed them to my blog post which has screenshots showing some of what went on and which drivers were involved.

a screenshot of a phone

Here’s the reply I received from Uber in full:

Hi Ziggy, thank you for your patience while we work with you to resolve this issue.

We never wish to inconvenience riders, so we are very sorry to hear that you had this experience. We’ve reviewed this trip and can confirm there were no cancellation charges associated with this trip request.

Pick ups at airports sometimes are not as straightforward as we would like them to be because of the affluence of people and also because of the restrictions set by the airport authorities as to where pick ups can be conducted. This could account for some of the difficulty encountered.

We also acknowledge cancellations can happen for any number of reasons and it is a problem we are working to address. We are aware it creates a poor experience for all involved when excessive cancellations occur. Please understand we do monitor cancellations closely and take necessary steps to ensure partner drivers who consistently exhibit this form of behaviour are addressed accordingly.

Thank you for sharing your experience. If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to reach out to us again. We will be happy to further assist.

I’m pleased that Uber responded in a reasonably timely manner but I’m a little annoyed that the reply appears to attempt to muddy the issue somewhat.

Point 1

Uber says that it has checked and that there were no cancellation charges involved – that’s nice but considering I wasn’t the one canceling the rides there shouldn’t have been any charges anyway….they’re not doing me any favors here.

Point 2

The Uber response is trying to suggest that the cancellation issues may have been due to large volumes of people and restrictions surrounding where pickups can be made.

The idea that the volume of people at an airport can cause a ride to be cancelled after it has been accepted is pure nonsense and, considering I requested the rides from the allotted and official Uber pickup point at Heathrow T3, the suggestion that the pickup point may have been an issue is nonsense too.

Point 3

At no point does the Uber message address the issue of drivers calling up to ask for a passenger’s destination despite the undeniable evidence I provided courtesy of my screenshots.

Uber’s customer support people can see the drivers’ names, they can see the exact timings, they can see the phone numbers that were calling me and they can see the drivers canceling the rides – how much more evidence does Uber need before it will admit that its drivers are actively breaking its rules?

Bottom Line

I won’t be using Uber from Heathrow again…I’d rather pay the extortionate fares the “black cabs” charge if I’m ever left in a position where I need a ride at the last minute.

My experience at Heathrow is just a tiny part of an ever-growing picture in which Uber drivers are openly breaking the ridesharing service’s own rules and Uber seemingly doing very little about it.

The message from Uber states that it “monitor[s] cancellations closely and take[s] necessary steps to ensure partner drivers who consistently exhibit this form of behaviour are addressed accordingly” but I struggle to believe that.

Considering the Uber reply appears to try to suggest that something other than the obvious may have been to blame for my ride cancellations, why would I believe that Uber is doing anything other than turning a blind eye?