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Commuters cry foul after being charged highly by Uber and Taxify driver who tinker with the apps’ GPS reading

by Felix Omondi
Uber taxify

Admittedly, the relationship between Uber and Taxify (the organization) and their drivers is strained. Each side feels the other side is taking too much commission out of their work arrangement. We have seen this play out in public multiple times whenever drivers go on strike.

The main complaints put forth by drivers is that Uber or Taxify is taking too much commission, does not increase prices as quickly when the cost of operation for the drivers increases; like when fuel prices go up. Among other issues.

Well, it would appear some drivers have decided to go rogue and employed some innovation to see them take more cash home than the distance they drove. They achieve this by fraudulently billing their customers, something that is raising concerns on the ability of both companies (Uber and Taxify) to protect customers.

Tinkering Apps to increase Distance Travelled and Inflate Bill

These rogue drivers are using apps that manipulate the actual GPS location used by the Uber and Taxify apps to bill customers. These apps create parallel travel paths that are longer and ultimately lead to the commuters’ paying more for less distance.

Hundreds of commuters complained to the two companies about being overcharged citing fraudulent billing on their receipts. Both companies have reacted by refunding the concerned customers that reported the matter, saying it is their (customers’) responsibility to evaluate the fare charged after every trip. So this is a strong reason why you should review the email receipts you get from Uber or Taxify after taking a ride.

The Business Daily cites a customer who took a ride on Taxify cab from the Nairobi CBD to Kitengela and was charged Ksh. 850 ($8.50) for the 32.5 kilometers (20.19 miles) ride. But on the return trip in a different Taxify cab, she was billed Ksh. 1,550 ($15.50), which is not in itself a strange thing as traffic jam could easily account for the hike. Except on the receipt, it was written she traveled 66.8 kilometers (41.51 miles).

This commuter’s story is repeated over and over hundreds of times. It has since been established that riders are using fake GPS apps that fools both Uber and Taxify app to not read the actual distance covered, thereby manipulating the trips.

Yes, we are aware and have managed to block some drivers who have made attempts to game the system. Such attempts are immediately flagged by the fraud team, the driver’s account is suspended and the rider compensated,” said Alex Mwaura, the Taxify country manager.

Please note that drivers cannot manipulate trip distances as this is calculated in real time as the vehicle moves. At the end of every trip, the passengers are able to confirm the fare directly from the app. A receipt is immediately sent on the email to validate how the trip was charged.”

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