One Uber Driver’s Story: How He Was Trapped by Auto-Loan Program

Richard Brunelle and his wife, Barbara Lynn, feel trapped by a car loan they got through Uber's financing program. (Sam Harnett/KQED)

Richard Brunelle says he feels trapped. He says he has to drive for Uber.

The San Leandro man needs to make money for car payments. His 48-month loan is costing him $1,000 a month and has a 22.75 percent interest rate. He says he got into this mess through a vehicle financing program Uber created for drivers with poor or nonexistent credit.

Since November 2013, Uber has been signing up drivers without cars or the credit to get one. The ride-service company connects drivers with car dealerships and a variety of lenders, some of which specialize in subprime auto loans. It promises to get them a car in less than a week.

The promotional video for the program says: “Everyone deserves to have a success story. Let Uber be part of yours.”

Uber says it created the financing program after hearing from potential drivers that they couldn’t get cars. It has not released data on exactly how many drivers have used the program, but Uber says thousands have signed up.

Here’s Uber’s pitch for why banks should give loans to people with no credit: Its drivers are a safe bet regardless of their credit scores because they have a steady source of income — the money they make driving. Economist William Black says that’s faulty logic.

Black is a former bank regulator who researches and writes on subprime auto loans. He says it’s risky to give these loans to people with poor credit. In the case of Uber drivers, Black says, all kinds of things could go wrong and prevent them from making the high-interest car payments.

For instance, driver income could change overnight if Uber decides to cut its rates, which it has done repeatedly. Drivers could get sick or injured. If they don’t have savings, which many people with poor credit do not, drivers won’t be able to make the payments and the car could get repossessed.

The “bottom line is, you need to underwrite these individuals,” Black says. In other words, the drivers should have co-signers for the loans. And they don’t.

Instead, Uber is working with lenders such as Santander Consumer USA, the American consumer finance unit of a Spanish banking group. The subsidiary has a history of regulatory problems. These lenders make subprime auto loans, charging high interest rates to people with no credit or bad credit.

Brunelle, 58, started driving for Uber last August. He thought it would be a nice retirement job after working in the Navy, in a prison, in construction and as a truck driver. But Brunelle didn’t have a car — he rode a motorcycle — and he says he had no credit because he’d always avoided credit cards. His wife told him about Uber’s financing program and he decided to give it a try.

Uber connected Brunelle to a dealership and lender. Things did not go smoothly from there.

Brunelle says the dealer sold him a car that didn’t qualify for the discount Uber promises as part of the financial package. He says the dealer also quoted him a different rate verbally than the rate on the paperwork he signed.

When Brunelle got home, he realized he had signed a loan with a 22.75 percent interest rate. That means he will end up paying  around $49,000 on a Kia Optima that normally retails for about $25,000.

“I tried to refinance this car last week and there’s just too much overhead on the car right now that I can’t get a re-fi on it,” Brunelle says.

The dealer won’t take the car back and Uber won’t help him try to sort this out, says Brunelle. Now the loan is “like a ball and chain,” he says.

He says the financing program is just a scheme to get more drivers on the road so that Uber can make more profits. He says, “I feel like Uber not only tossed us to these wolves, but they intentionally did it and they are making bank on it.”

Richard Brunelle says he has to work most of the week just to cover his 22.75 percent interest car loan and driving expenses.
Richard Brunelle says he has to work most of the week just to cover his 22.75 percent interest car loan and driving expenses. (Sam Harnett/KQED)

In a written statement, Uber says it is proud of the program, and that it helps people get cars who normally couldn’t.

Uber adds “that the agreement is between the driver and the lender — rates are determined by the lender and the purchaser must agree to the rates.”

In other words, drivers are on their own when it comes to finalizing the financial deal.

As far as Brunelle’s specific situation, Uber says: “We provide drivers with a list of specific cars where an Uber discount applies, and the Kia Optima is not on the list. However, drivers are free to choose whatever car they’d like.”

The company says drivers should be able to make the loan payments for these cars by working 10 hours a week. But Brunelle says that math doesn’t work out.

After Uber cut drivers’ rates again last fall, Brunelle says he’s working most of the week just to cover his loan payments and driving expenses. He’s working just to break even.

Now he is posting on forums, warning other drivers not to take the financing. Otherwise, he says, they could end up trapped like him.

One Uber Driver’s Story: How He Was Trapped by Auto-Loan Program 27 April,2015Sam Harnett

  • Tim Bracken

    Maybe if Uber didn’t categorize these employees as independent contractors–forcing them to pay for their own benefits and the Self-Employment Tax–they’d have an easier time paying off these onerous loans.

    • Sherpa

      I drive two months and realized Uber is a junk company. So I stop driving.

  • Greg

    I’m no fan of Uber and I take joy in reading the stories about their PR mishaps, but this story I would not pin on Uber. The man signed a 4 year loan at 22.75%?! And didn’t read it before he signed it? The dealer quoting him the wrong APR is irrelevant. Check the contract before you sign it! No wonder he has bad credit! Is Uber taking advantage of these people? Yea, definitely. But the guy is an adult and he should have read the contract.

    • Rich Brunelle

      E read the contract which half way through signing had to be re-written to add some warranty stuff. Where I failed was I didn’t re-reas the revised copy of the contract, which was much different than the first. I went into this trusting the Dealership working in cooperation with Uber. Nothing about this purchase was a normal auto purchase. We weren’t even shown to the sales lot, we were brought directly to a side lot to look at one model car as though this is what Uber wants you to have. We went where Uber sent us, talked to the people Uber told us to talk to, and got shafted all the way through. The Dealership said one thing Uber says another. The facts are that Uber is not trying to help anybody in any way, but Uber. Uber did approve my loan.

      • vinny

        Sucker!!!!

      • jk

        I’m sorry to hear about your situation, but — to borrow a cliche I hate — caveat emptor. The interest rate would’ve been on all copies of the documentation you received. If you figured out early on that “nothing about this purchase was a normal auto purchase,” and presumably understood that 23% is a completely astronomical interest rate for an auto loan when interest rates in general remain close to 0%, then why didn’t you just walk out? Also, I’m sorry you believe to the contrary, but Uber did *not* “approve your loan.” They merely partnered with various subprime auto lenders to market loans on their behalf; you would have received the same loan had you simply walked in off the street.

        Quite frankly, what you should most likely do at this point is stop making payments on the car. Period. Yes, it’ll be repossessed within a couple of months, if not sooner, and your credit rating will take a ding, but since you apparently have *no* credit rating otherwise and don’t use credit cards and the like, the impact on you personally will be minimal. If you can find a legal-aid lawyer to help you out, you could hypothetically even sue the lender for offering you a loan on unconscionable terms. Regardless of how state and federal laws are worded, a contract can be nullified by a judge if he/she decides it’s morally unconscionable. If you do some homework, you’ll probably see that federal officials are starting to crack down on subprime auto lenders, and in some cases have already initiated putative class action suits against them.

        In any event, I still remain confused why *anyone* who wants to drive for Uber doesn’t simply buy a 3-4 year old Camry Hybrid or something similar. They’re certainly allowed by Uber, and you’d only have to make payments on a $10K-$12K loan instead of the huge ones on a new-vehicle purchase.

        • LAuberdriver

          You are not listening. Rich bought a car through the Uber finance program. It wasn’t until Uber lowered the rates AFTER THE FACT, that the payments became burdensome. Uber changed the game on him and should therefore be stuck with the car, not the driver.

          • jk

            I’m “listening” just fine, thanks. And my point remains: it is ill-advised to purchase a vehicle via subprime loan *period*, regardless of what Uber’s own rates are at any given time. (Also, Uber lowered its rates to increase traffic, not “screw over” their drivers. Seeing as Uber makes a flat percentage of each driver’s fares, it makes no logical sense to cut rates unless they think it will be a net “win” for both the company and its drivers.)

            Finally, Uber is not a party to any of these loans. They’re strictly between the lender and purchaser — Uber acts solely as an intermediary — so they’re not going to be “stuck with” anyone’s cars.

          • LAuberdriver

            First of all, it is well documented in 1000’s of article the contempt Uber has for its drivers. The only win by lowering rates is by the company, not the drivers. There was a mass exodus of drivers after the rate cut because drivers make less than minimum wage. To offset this, Uber now lets anybody with 2000 model year car or newer drive and they run more surges.

            But regardless of the motive for lowering rates, Uber changed the game and left the drivers out to hang.

            Nobody (outside of Uber’s PR machine) beleives that Uber is an innocent technology company and not responsible for all the carnage they have created.

          • jk

            “First of all, it is well documented in 1000’s of article the contempt Uber has for its drivers.”

            Right. They “hate” their own drivers. That makes a ton of sense.

            “The only win by lowering rates is by the company, not the drivers.”

            Again, you have yet to explain how lowering rates *helps* Uber, seeing as their entire revenue stream comes directly *from* these rates and drivers.

            At this point I’m going to stop, since there seems to be a unique brand of crazy that’s spread among L.A. Uber drivers that’s somehow turned a huge chunk of you guys into conspiracy theorists. Outside of L.A., no one’s “making minimum wage,” nor has there been any “mass exodus” of drivers. Uber still provides over a million rides a day worldwide, so it’s rather obvious that many Uber drivers are perfectly content with their jobs.

            As for the peculiarities of the L.A. market, my best guess is that the following factors combined to make working for Uber a hot mess:

            1) The L.A. region has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, and consequently a much larger percentage of Uber drivers than average tried working full-time there. (Elsewhere in the country, less than 20% work full-time.) Further, L.A. has far too many Uber drivers, period, owing both to its unemployment rate as well as the overall cost of living. I would assume thousands of “actor/model/waiters” have taken on employment with Uber to help pay the bills. Consequently, supply nearly always exceeds demand, which is the only realistic way Uber drivers could come close to making minimum wage there.

            2) Because L.A. is, well, L.A., there’s this bizarre form of peer pressure to drive the nicest wheels possible, even if they’re far beyond one’s budget. (I still recall one friend’s experience there of being looked down upon by her coworkers because she “only” drove a Toyota Corolla, when everyone else at her company at her salary level drove at minimum a BMW 3-series.) As such, I suspect that a far larger percentage of drivers than average ill-advisedly fell into the same trap as Mr. Brunelle: buying a car with a subprime loan. However, the problem is amplified in L.A. because instead of a comparatively modest Kia Optima, L.A. buyers elected to purchase BMWs and Audis and the like instead.

            3) Geographically speaking, L.A. — more specifically, the confines of Los Angeles County — is by far the largest Uber market in the U.S. As such, Uber trips are significantly longer, and the odds of being able to pick up a fare on the return trip (again, because of the excess-supply problem) are far slimmer. Further, California gas prices are among the highest in the country, only adding to a driver’s already huge expense tally — not to mention the city’s infamously terrible traffic.

            All I will say at this point is that each of the three elements above is entirely unique to the Los Angeles market; that Uber drivers elsewhere in the country are readily able to earn a solid living; and that virtually no one in other cities has gone out and bought a car they can’t afford for driving purposes. (In Texas, where I live, the most commonly used models appear to be Priuses, followed by Honda Civics and Hyundai Elantras.) I’m well-aware, however, that there’s little chance of convincing you that Uber isn’t some sort of Satan incarnate out to ruin the lives of its hundreds of thousands of drivers — like I said, current and former Uber drivers in L.A. have a uniquely negative frame of mind that seems to be reinforced through conversing with your peers either in person or on the various “Uber sucks” websites out there — so I’m not going to bother.

          • LAuberdriver

            Please stop your Uber PR machine nonsense. What you are saying is not based in reality. LA drivers actually make MORE than the average UBerX driver. At $.90 per mile (which is higher than the national average) combined with the fact LA is one of the busier markets, a driver can expect to net $6.00 to $8.00 per hour. If your driving an old Prius, you can expect the higher part of that range. If you are driving a shiny new Camry Hybrid, you can expect the lower part of that range. Admitedly, if you drive only surge periods the hourly rate could be substantialy higher. But there are only about 10 hours per week of surge if you are lucky enough to catch them, which is why full time drivers cannot expect a high hourly wage.

            The big mistake most UberX drivers make in computing their hourly wage is not deducting wear and tear on the vehicle, maintenance and devaluation of the vehicle. Regardless whether the car is paid for or not, there is a cost per mile in additon to gas. The drivers claiming to make more than $8 per hour are either only driving surges or not factoring in the “equity” they are taking out of their vehicle.

            Generally speaking, the Uber drivers that are making the most money are the drivers in markets where Uber has not been legalized yet. The pool of potential drivers in the unlegalized markets is small, so Uber has to pay more to entice people to drive. Once Uber becomes legal in a market, they slash the prices because the pool of potential,drivers goes way up.

            I had several vehicle on the UberBlack platform but I have chosen to remove them simply because there is no legal way to pay drivers as Independent Contractors. After the most recent ruling in the Uber Lawsuit, it is evident that drivers are employees. I don’t want any part of the back wages that will be owed when this lawsuit is finalized.

          • jk

            “LA drivers actually make MORE than the average UBerX driver. At $.90 per mile (which is higher than the national average) combined with the fact LA is one of the busier markets, a driver can expect to net $6.00 to $8.00 per hour.”

            So, drivers in other cities make, what, five bucks an hour? That’s a crock, but like I said, you L.A. drivers have some sort of perverse groupthink going on that hinders you from being able to rationally evaluate Uber. And btw of the dozen-odd Uber drivers I know personally — none of whom are in L.A., admittedly — NOT ONE of them nets less than $20/hr. On a good weekend they’ve netted over $1,000. And yes, they know full well how to take depreciation, maintenance, and wear-and-tear into account.

            “After the most recent ruling in the Uber Lawsuit, it is evident that drivers are employees.”

            Um, no. The ruling regarded Uber’s motion for summary judgment, which would have dismissed the case. MSJs are granted only if there is literally ZERO evidence indicative that a plaintiff *might* prevail at trial. Even if they only have a 1% chance, that’s still enough to make it past a summary judgment motion — which is precisely what happened.

            In reality, however, there are two very simple facts — note my use of the word “fact,” not “opinion” — that doom the cases against both Uber and Lyft: 1) Nearly all taxi drivers — the closest analogy to Uber/Lyft drivers whether they like it or not — in America are independent contractors, and have been so for decades; and 2) this area of law was effectively settled 30 years ago, when the D.C. Circuit reversed an NLRB ruling that the drivers of a Minneapolis cab company were “employees.” (The D.C. Circuit has a unique position in the American court system of being the final arbiter of federal agency decisions, assuming the Supreme Court doesn’t step in. Its decisions are thus generally considered as precedent nationwide.) If Uber and Lyft hadn’t insisted on maintaining their admittedly ridiculous “we’re just a tech company, not a transportation provider” schtick and admitted that they’re at least *enough* like a traditional taxi that the D.C. case applied to them, they could have very well succeeded in their MSJs.

            Actually, there’s a third fact: over 80% of Uber/Lyft drivers work fewer than 20 hours a week, meaning they wouldn’t get any employee benefits regardless. Further, 30% of them already have full-time employment elsewhere, and merely drive nights and weekends to earn some extra pocket change.

          • LAuberdriver

            Unless you post proof of your wages, you can say you make $100 per hour, but that’s just as fictitious.

            The taxi cab ruling is not valid because Uber operates differently.

            1. Uber maintains the right to discharge the worker without cause. This is the most important factor in determing IC vs. Employee. Taxi companies require cause for discharge.

            2. Taxi drivers lease their vehicles from the taxi company which means the driver is taking a substantial financial investment to drive. With Uber, you are using your own personal vehicle which you already have, not using a commercial vehicle, thusly not making a financial investment.

            You can read the ruling here:
            http://uberlawsuit.com/OrderDenying.pdf

            On page 15 you will find this definitive ruling
            “This court holds, as a matter of law, that Uber’s drivers render service to Uber, and thus are Uber’s presumptive employees.”

          • jk

            “The taxi cab ruling is not valid because Uber operates differently.”

            Not from a legal perspective. (Pro tip: it’s ill-advised to argue points of law with a lawyer.)

            “Taxi companies require cause for discharge.”

            False. A majority of U.S. states are so-called “right-to-work” states, meaning that *any* employee can be fired for *any* reason, aside from those barred by federal law (termination due to gender, race, religion or national origin), at *any* time. California is not one of those states, but the most amusing part of your assertion is the fact that Uber and Lyft not requiring cause for discharge *supports* their argument that their drivers are contract employees (who *can*, in most instances, be terminated at any time, including in California).

            “Taxi drivers lease their vehicles from the taxi company which means the driver is taking a substantial financial investment to drive. With Uber, you are using your own personal vehicle which you already have, not using a commercial vehicle, thusly not making a financial investment.”

            You just directly contradicted yourself. In your last email you said that using your personal vehicle *is* a substantial investment given the wear-and-tear entailed with driving for Uber. (Also, in many markets taxi drivers *do*, in fact, own their own vehicles.)

            “You can read the ruling here”

            I read it the day it came out. And the Lyft one. (And btw an “order” isn’t the same thing as a “ruling.”)

            “On page 15 you will find this definitive ruling”

            That is not a “definitive ruling” — nor is a “presumptive employee” even remotely the same thing as an *actual* employee — but seeing as you’re *not* a lawyer, I won’t go into the various legal reasons why this is the case (seeing as you clearly don’t even understand the basics of a summary judgment motion).

          • LAuberdriver

            did not base my opinion on the wear and tear of personal vehicle being a significant investment. I based my opinion on the Sacramento Bee case.

            http://media.bizj.us/view/img/3877101/sac-bee-decision.pdf

            “Carriers degree of investment – the carriers needed to have a car and a drivers license to deliver the papers. Although there were some exceptions, most carriers used there own general use vehicle, which did not represent any degree of capital investment. No other tools were required. One did not need to go to school, obtain a degree, or in any way invest time or money to be a carrier. ”

            Sound familiar?

            In your example of a taxi driver owning his own vehicle, it is obvious the taxi driver made a capital investment in a commercial vehicle to be used for commercial purposes.

            Two different business models… The taxi drivers make an investment by leasing a commercial vehicle or buying their own. Uber drivers make no investment.

          • LAuberdriver
          • jk

            “MOST UBERX DRIVERS ARE UNEMPLOYABLE IN TRADITIONAL JOBS.”

            Patently false – though perhaps that’s the case in La-La Land, which become more and more clearly an aberration (as far as Uber is concerned) with each new thing you post.. Eighty percent of new Uber drivers *on whole*, however, already have full- or part-time jobs.

            “In your example of a taxi driver owning his own vehicle, it is obvious the taxi driver made a capital investment in a commercial vehicle to be used for commercial purposes.”

            Why are you dwelling on a largely irrelevant point? Taxi-company operating models differ widely depending on the city. New York and Boston still have antiquated medallion systems, most of which are owned by vastly wealthy minifleet owners who sublease their medallions on a daily or half-daily basis. Only a minority of taxi drivers drive vehicles they’ve personally purchased. Same goes with Uber: only a minority of its drivers bought a new car for the purposes of their Uber job.

            Furthermore, you just made an excellent argument for why taxi drivers *should* be considered employees of their franchises but Uber drivers should not!

            “Here is an opinion opposite yours.”

            That’s not an “opinion”! It’s an analysis of the potential ramifications of the case holdings in the unlikely event Uber or Lyft drivers are deemed to be employees. I don’t disagree with any of its assertions, though I do think Lexis’s analysis could have been more thorough, e.g. pointing out that even if Uber & Lyft categorically lose (again, an exceptionally unlikely event), only their California operations will be affected.

          • LAuberdriver

            You don’t disagree with any of it assertations?

            From the analysis…
            “Applying the Borello factors to these new technologies will likely result in a finding that these drivers were, in fact, employees.”

            I’m glad we found something to agree on!

          • jk

            Rats. I missed that part initially. OTOH you missed a couple of parts, too (as usual):

            “The weight given to various Borello factors depends on their particular combinations. The court recognized that applying the traditional multifactor test of Borello to the case at hand will pose challenges because the Borello test evolved under an economic model completely unlike the new ‘sharing economy’ . . .

            In the 25 years since Borello was decided, however, both the economy and California workers’ compensation have seen major changes. Technology has continued to advance. We have gone from desk top computers to having access to the internet at our fingertips. Technology companies have continued to grow and have become an increasingly important source of employment to the State of California.

            The question is whether these technology companies should be subjected to the same rules that have been applied since Borello?”

            The correct answer is “no.” The Borello case was about migrant farm laborers! You may as well be citing case law relating to horse-and-buggy transport; it’d be equally inapplicable. As for the conclusion at the end of the analysis: smart lawyers work for law firms. Crappy lawyers get stuck with writing jobs. His conclusion is grossly erroneous. (Btw you probably shouldn’t trust the opinion of a dude who doesn’t even know that “desktop” is one word, not two, and that “Internet” has a capital “I.”)

          • jk

            “Unless you post proof of your wages, you can say you make $100 per hour, but that’s just as fictitious.”

            I don’t work for Uber, but here’s your proof.

            http://www.tampabay.com/news/nation/how-much-do-uber-drivers-really-make/2189259

          • LAuberdriver

            OH MY GOD! You cite a nine month old Uber propaganda article as your proof? There are so many innaccuracies in that article I cannnot even begin.

            Just let me say this… A year ago, many UberX drivers were making $20 per hour! That was BEFOREe several rounds of price cuts. CURRENTLY, in most markets, UberX drivers are netting $6 to $8 per hour before self employments taxes with no benefits.

            What is your motive for all the misinformation? Did an Uber driver run over your dog or, as a lawyer, are you a paid lobbyist of Uber?

          • jk

            “OH MY GOD! You cite a nine month old Uber propaganda article as your proof? There are so many innaccuracies in that article I cannnot even begin.”

            First of all, you can’t simply dismiss a news article — based on factual data — as “propaganda” simply because they tend to disprove your own beliefs.

            “CURRENTLY, in most markets, UberX drivers are netting $6 to $8 per hour before self employments taxes with no benefits.”

            Oh, really? A study published three months ago begs to differ:

            http://techcrunch.com/2015/01/22/uber-study/

            But wait – it was commissioned by Uber! That means it *must* be categorically false!!! (despite it being conducted by Alan Krueger, one of the most respected economists in academia, and was Chief Economist at the Treasury Department for the first two years of the Obama administration) And it doesn’t factor in driving expenses, so that $19/hour average gets cut in HALF because … well, that’s what *you* think, so it *must* be true!

            P.S. I do not work for Uber or any company related to Uber, nor do I have any connection to them whatsoever. Truth be told, I don’t even *like* Uber; I think they’re a bunch of a**holes, and I use Lyft whenever possible as an alternative. Still, I get sick and tired of these delusional arguments making Uber out to be roughly on par with the devil.

          • LAuberdriver

            Oh great, now you are using data from Oct 2014 as stated in the artcle.

            That data is BEFORE the massive rate cut.
            http://time.com/money/3661661/uber-prices-cheaper/

            The average also includes UberBlack drivers who earn $3.50+ per mile

            See how deceptive Uber is? They even fooled you… a smart attorney

          • jk

            Ugh, good lord. I was not “deceived.” And aren’t *you* an UberBlack driver? (or weren’t you)

            In any event, I mistakenly ignored my own advice from several days ago that arguing with an L.A. Uber driver is like arguing with a brick wall, but now I’m going to heed it and make my exit. Lest you think you’ve somehow “won” some sort of “argument,” here’s a full list of questions about things you either failed to answer, failed to provide evidence for, or failed to explain in any way that makes sense:

            1. How does Uber “win” anything by lowering its rates, seeing as it draws the entirety of its revenue *from* those rates?

            2. If Uber “detests” its own drivers, why did it offer to guarantee them a minimum hourly rate at the same time they cut fares in many U.S. markets? Further, how do you reconcile your claims of drivers only make $6-$8/hour with Uber’s guarantee of $20/hour minimum for L.A. drivers and $26/hour during peak times?

            http://www.scpr.org/blogs/economy/2015/01/20/17816/can-uber-lower-fares-and-have-its-drivers-make-mor/

            3. Just a side note that you failed to respond in any way to my longer response about your ridiculous claims re: the Uber lawsuit. (I think it’s below. It starts with, “Not from a legal perspective.”)

            4. And finally, the billion-dollar question: if most Uber drivers make around minimum wage or less, then why on *earth* do they continue driving for them? Are they all idiots? Masochists? Math-challenged? (at being able to calculate net earnings, minus depreciation and regular vehicular expenses) Why haven’t they all decamped for Lyft, a company about which virtually no one has a bad thing to say? (and unlike Uber, Lyft’s app allows passengers to leave a tip) And *please* don’t try to argue that they got sucked into a subprime auto loan like the subject of this article; a very small percentage of drivers bought new cars that way. The majority of drivers for both Uber and Lyft drive the vehicles they already owned when they signed up (yes, I know this for a fact; no, I can’t tell you where I obtained the info – accept it and move on).

            Sayonara…

          • LAuberdriver

            Before I find time to answer all your questions, I found this little nugget on my facebook yesterday.

            “UP TO $16 in FARES”

            The means after Ubers cut of 20 to 25%, you will earn UP TO $12 to $12.80 per hour. Of course we still need to subtract gas, devaluation of the vehicle, maintenance, car washes, gum, candy water, etc.

          • LAuberdriver

            1. Uber is in a price war with Lyft. Uber also thinks it can gain enough business to offset the price decrease.

            2. This is strictly an opinion. However, you can read hundreds of article about Travis and his dislike of the drivers. They instituted the guarantees after the price declines to temporarily keep some drivers happy until they had time to onboard 1000’s more drivers. Of course the guarantee money is before uber commission and expenses so it is not as much as it seems. Most guarantees are gone now.

            3. I replied in the thread

            4. Too many reasons to list all of them but here are a few

            It’s easy

            As I stated before, some drivers can make more if they limit themselves to driving surge rates.

            Most drivers do not know how to accurately calculate what they are actually making.

            Some drivers do Uber because they find it entaining and social.

            Some drivers drive only bar hours to try to hook up with drunk girls.

            MOST UBERX DRIVERS ARE UNEMPLOYABLE IN TRADITIONAL JOBS. This is not necessarily good or bad, but here are some examples….
            Immigrants who cannot speak english
            People who need a flexible work schedules
            Drug addicts
            Retirees
            People with poor employment records
            People who share accounts to avoid background checks

          • Jose Mendivil

            You absolutely right
            Besides Travis and the pseudoriders loves us
            Lol

        • Mahesh Lele

          Forget 10-12k, you can get a used car to Uber in, for as little as $4,000….yet this clown buys a 25,000 car, which, when interest is added to it, works out to a total pymt of 49,000. Crazy!!!

          and then he blames everyone but himself.

      • PeterBelles

        You’re a crybaby idiot

      • Mahesh Lele

        “jk” has taken the trouble to give you sensible advise. Listen to him. Just quit paying for that damn car till it gets repossessed. You have no credit as it is, so what do you have to lose?

        and stop with this nonsense of “I’m trying to warn other drivers…blah blah” because if any driver is as stupid as you were to buy a 25k car for 49k, then they’re basically beyond help…terminally braindead, I’d call ’em.

  • Take a look at the true face of Uber on the Drivers’ Forum http://UberPeople.net You’ll be taken aback!

    • PeterBelles

      Oh look, Mister chi1cabby, I thought you left that POS website but here you are shilling for it. Lol
      And what Chicago cab driver is online 24/7 365 ??
      You’re not really a cabbie.
      And your butt buddy Rich Brunelle is a jack ass. People, stay away from this website. Uber will deactivate you if you go on that website. You have been warned, it happen to me.

      • Mahesh Lele

        “butt buddy?”…I kinda love that….Lol

    • Mahesh Lele

      Did you leave the Forum on your own or were you kicked out??

  • Jason

    Wow, that’s a crappy situation, but how did he not know his rare and discount? When I asked, I was til 17.5% and $3k off car, I had to refuse it because it didn’t work with my budget. I figured it was a lost cause and started to leave. I ended up with $3k off the car and for and 8% subtraction, they added on warranties. So I didn’t make out how I thought I could, but before i paid about $400 a month in rides to work. So for my situation, I made it workable, and you can too. Dont jump into a hype, unless you can plan it to work out… Do the math and research before you sign something, and this wont happen to you.

  • Chris Stott

    If Uber gave a crap about their drivers, I would expect them to, at the very least, end their partnership with this dealership and call them out for what they did. The dealership literally scammed this poor guy. Uber claims their drivers are customers and not employees, but they don’t treat them like either. I wouldn’t expect Uber to take the blame for this, but they don’t have to blame Mr. Brunelle. Even if he could have been more careful about signing a contract, does Uber really want to send their ‘customers’ to a company that is going to intentionally mislead them?

  • Sue

    This bill, sponsored by Assemblymember Evan Low, D-Silicon Valley, would declare Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, and other TNC vehicles to be non-commercial. Very disingenuous. https://www.billtrack50.com/BillDetail/604404

    • LAuberdriver

      Shame on you Evan Low!

      • jk

        “This is an attempt by Uber to insure the cost of their insurance is passed on to the personal insurance pool, thusly raising rates for for anybody paying for personal car insurance.”

        What on *earth* are you talking about? There is zero evidence that Uber’s actions have raised anyone’s personal insurance prices, either accidentally or purposefully.

        • LAuberdriver

          Actually, the insurance industry is providing plenty of evidence of this.

          • jk

            Such as…?

  • Jose Mendivil

    Why this people is complaining; the point is that we are helping travis cartel to increase his fortune every nanosecond
    And we are helping travis cartel to depressiate the taxi industry by 80%”with last travis cartel fares”
    And we are helping travis cartel to turn the pseudoriders more and more cheap, frugal, arrogant, rough, cinics, disgusted, classless, shameless, demanding a lot more for a lot less
    So, he should be proud of the nice job we are performing with our little and irrelevants sacrifices

  • John Phillips

    Uber is the Anti Christ

  • Uber Comic

    Nobody should ever buy a brand new car to do Uber. I have been driving for a year and they have cut pay four times and raised commissions from 5% to 20%. After they lowered the fare to 90 cents a mile in LA, a bunch of drivers quit. Uber got desperate and lowered the year model requirements to 2000. I’m now driving a 2000 Ford Taurus I bought from an old man for $800. At Uber’s low rates my newer car can stay in the driveway.

  • brothenberg

    So he didn’t read the paperwork till he got home? doesn’t make sense.. and didn’t check the list when he purchased the car?

  • Jeremy Cook

    Is he an adult? Really?

  • Philip D

    I don’t think I would ever buy a car to drive for Uber. It wouldn’t make sense. It only makes sense for me because I own my vehicle and because of the way I use it.

    I have a whole separate business, and I drive on the side for fun. The extra cash definitely helps, and I get to meet a lot of really cool people, many of whom I have kept in touch with beyond Uber. It’s a stress-free way to earn a couple hundred extra bucks per week. I turn it on when I have a couple hours to kill, or when I’m getting ready to head across town and want to make the most of my trip. If you would like, you can use my code to get your bonus ($500 last I checked) and try it out for yourself: http://GET.UBER.COM/DRIVE/?INVITE_CODE=CBE9Z

  • Tamara Selvig

    why didnt he pick car that wualified for discount and see the intetest rate before signing papers??

  • yup

    I dont use or drive for Uber, but have no illusions that they are looking out for anyones benefit but Uber’s (‘capitalism’ right ?).
    Yes, Uber is behaving badly, and I would think they would try to be helpful to their worker (even if they don’t have to- a pressure phone call to the dealer by them would likely have fixed this). But their behavior is not a surprise. Read the paper. Both riders and drivers enter at their own risk.
    BUT contract ‘errors’, rewrites, directed away from the showroom. Hello? Even if I was referred to a dealer by my friend, I would still demand to see the dealership owner or just walk. And when I got home and saw the ‘new’ rate, the next call would be the DAs office, dept of consumer affairs, then return the keys with only 5 miles on the car. This has nothing to do with Uber. Its a scam. And Mr B got suckered, partly his own fault. What to do now? Like someone said earlier, Default the loan, drive till they take it, and call a lawyer (against the dealer, not Uber)

  • Jingo Pete

    The word on the street is that a few hundred disgruntled UBER drivers are forming their own company called GOOBER.

  • PeterBelles

    58 years old and he gets a car loan at 22 %
    Stupid is as stupid does.

  • james

    What a dork, he signed the paperwork and now her complains?

Author

Sam Harnett

Sam Harnett is a reporter who covers tech and work at KQED. For the last five years he has been reporting on how technology and capitalism are changing the way we think about ourselves and what it means to work. He is the co-creator of The World According to Sound, a 90-second podcast that features different sounds and the stories behind them.

Before coming to KQED, Sam worked as an independent reporter who contributed regularly to The California Report, Marketplace, The World and NPR. In 2013, he launched a podcast called Driving With Strangers. In 2014, he was selected by the International Center for Journalists for a reporting fellowship in Japan, where he covered the legacy of the Fukushima disaster.

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