Uber hacker comes forward

This week in rideshare shows a driver-led study that claims drivers in California post-Prop 22 are earning around $7 an hour. Also, Lyft customers are being charged for fake damage reported by drivers looking to make a quick buck. All this and more in this week’s roundup with senior RSG contributor Paula Lemar.

Uber and Lyft drivers net less than $7 an hour after California law passed, driver-led study finds (Market Watch)

Summary: Ride-hailing drivers in California are taking home about $6.20 an hour under a law that was approved by the state’s voters a couple of years ago, according to a report published Wednesday.

Proposition 22, which is in legal limbo after a court deemed it unconstitutional last year, among other things promised 120% of the state’s minimum wage to gig workers. But according to the report developed by the National Equity Atlas and Rideshare Drivers United, which the groups say is the first driver-led study using directly collected earnings data and working conditions to assess the impact of Prop. 22, the reality falls far short of that promise.

“The ride-hailing companies and DoorDash were throwing millions of dollars at it, but not at me,” said Dominique Smith, a driver for Uber and Lyft in the Bay Area, during a news conference Tuesday. “I definitely wasn’t a fan of Prop. 22 to begin with, and I’m definitely not a fan afterward.”

The effects of the California law backed by Uber Technologies Inc. UBER, -1.24%, Lyft Inc. LYFT, -3.37% and other gig companies like DoorDash Inc. DASH, -4.67% are important and potentially far-reaching as the companies try to expand Prop. 22 or something similar — what Uber has dubbed the “independent contractor-plus” model — to other states and countries. In addition, the report cites Bureau of Labor Statistics data that showed that in 2019, the number of U.S. adults who worked as taxi drivers or chauffeurs for their primary job had tripled over the past decade, coinciding with the rise of Uber and Lyft….

My Take: Any study that is driven by one of the parties being studied must be taken with a grain of salt. If Uber had conducted this study, I’m sure the results would be vastly different. Anytime you’re working with statistics, we must remember they can be bent to suit the argument trying to be made.

That being said, it would not surprise me if this were accurate. It all depends on what data you’re talking about. The study does say that “drivers’ median gross pay, including bonuses and tips, was $26.30 an hour”. However, gross and net are two very different things.

Of course, Uber and Lyft state the study is flawed and provided numbers from studies they backed—again, can’t trust any numbers that are driven by one of the parties in question.

The only way to really come to a firm conclusion would be to have an impartial third party perform the study with zero compensation from any of the parties involved.

Lyft customers being charged for fake damage, investigation finds (KTLA)

Summary: Consumers are getting incorrectly and unfairly charged by Lyft drivers for damages they didn’t leave behind, according to a NewsNation investigation.

The investigation found that the scam is quite common. A rider gets out of a Lyft and gets a notification that they are being charged for damages to the car that they didn’t cause. When they contest the charges, Lyft tells them it has investigated, and the rider is shown photos as proof.

On a recent trip to Miami, Emily Eliseo did what she’s done countless times before: She ordered a Lyft, and her ride was short and unmemorable — until she got home.

“I got a notification saying that I was charged for damages,” Emily Eliseo recalled. “The driver had sent in photos that I had damaged the car, and it’s Lyft’s policy to charge a fee depending on the damage, so they charged $150 for the alleged damage.”…

My Take: Shame on drivers who do this. This is despicable. And, don’t get me wrong, I know passengers claim things falsely as well to get a free ride. I’m not undermining that fact here. False accusations of any kind only hurt the people who are honest and trying to make a living out of being a rideshare driver. It’s hard to trust the next driver when the one you just had charged you $150 for something you didn’t do, that never happened in the first place.

This is just stupid and makes me sad that this is where we’re at in the world. People’s first thought is, I can make a few extra dollars from this person.

Uber says Lapsus$-linked hacker responsible for breach (Reuters

Summary: Uber Technologies Inc (UBER.N) said on Monday a hacker affiliated with the Lapsus$ hacking group was responsible for a cyber attack that forced the ride-hailing company to shut several internal communications temporarily last week.

Uber said the attacker had not accessed any user accounts and the databases that store sensitive user information such as credit card numbers, bank account or trip details.

“The attacker accessed several internal systems, and our investigation has focused on determining whether there was any material impact,” Uber said, adding that investigation was still ongoing.

The company said it was in close coordination with the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice on the matter….

My Take: Well, it’s good to hear that user accounts were not accessed and that I don’t have to keep a close eye on my bank account to make sure no one is charging Uber rides to my account.

Still doesn’t bode well that a hacker was able to get into their internal systems, but I’m hoping Uber will beef up their cybersecurity.

Also in the news…

Upside app provides cash back at the pump and at participating restaurants

Thoughts: You may not realize this, but the Upside app does more than just give you cashback when you put gas in your vehicle. It will also give you cashback when you eat at participating restaurants, saving you even more in your day-to-day life. You can expect that most participating restaurants offer 5% cashback, but some have huge promotions where they offer 20+% cashback! Be sure to check the app before you have lunch or dinner out.

DoorDash Unveils New Partnerships with Top Grocers and Retailers (DoorDash)

Thoughts: Seems like pretty soon you’ll be able to order almost anything on DoorDash to get it delivered to you quickly. What do you think of their new additions to their platform?

Do you use DoorDash for more than just restaurant delivery? Share your experience! 

-Paula @ RSG