Limo driver sues Uber over tips

David Lavitman, a Milton driver who signed up for Uber, has sued the car service, claiming its illegally keeping half drivers' tips.

Lavitman filed his suit in state court in December, but Uber had it moved to federal court this month.

Lavitman alleges the company collected a 20% gratuity fee on all rides, but only gave half that to drivers.

Uber tells the Boston Business Journal drivers keep all the gratuities, but that it does take a percentage of the meter fee plus $1 per trip.

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Sorry....

These guys knew what they were signing up for when they joined Uber. That it's not the most profitable method of being in the livery business, but then again, if they were any good, they wouldn't have needed Uber.

I haven't joined and I own two cars that still moved during the slow times of December and January. Most of the good drivers I know only use Uber to supplement their incomes and don't depend on it for a living. Most of the guys I know who devote themselves full time to Uber only do so because they're not good enough to get work from most of the major companies around.

Well...it depends

This depends entirely on the situation Uber has worked out with its drivers (I don't know). If they're independent contractors, they are not required to pay them minimum wage. If they're employees of Uber, then, yes, they do.

They're independent contractors

or I/O's as the livery business calls them I am one and it's made clear that I am by every company I do business with. Same with Uber.

Again, this is an arrangement that every driver knows the details of before they do their first pick up for Uber. The old school owners of livery companies are all up in arms over Uber and it would not surprise me one bit if one of them was behind this lawsuit.

I mean think about it, if you want a pre-arranged Town Car from one of the major livery companies in this town just to go to Logan from the Back Bay, you're paying a minimum of $70.00 base fee for the ride (and as high as $105.00 base!). Add to that a 20% gratuity for the driver. The company then adds an 8-10% fuel charge and a ridiculous fee called STC (Surface Transportation Charge) that can go as high as an additional 12%!

So you're paying close to a hundred bucks minimum just to go through the tunnel. Uber charges $45.00 all inclusive and you have to wait a few minutes for the car instead of it waiting for you. It's great for the consumer, that's for sure.

If you are an employee

of a livery company, you get between 18-30 dollars for that run at that rate. Depending on the arrangement I have with the companies I do business with I can get anywhere from $56.00 to $82.00 for that run, as I have my own cars.

Lavitman's complaint is vague

Lavitman's complaint is vague and short on facts.

In the BBJ article, Uber says passengers pay a base fare, a 20% tip, and a $1 fee. Uber keeps 10% of the base fare, and the $1 fee, but drivers keep the entire tip.

That sounds perfectly clear, reasonable, and legal to me.

The complaint, however, says, "Uber...retains...as much as 50% of that gratuity", without providing any further details, or actual numbers.

If I were trying to make this case, I would have said something like, "On X date, my passenger paid Uber a $Y fare, plus a 20% tip and a $1 fee, for a total of $Z. From that money, I should have received at least $W according to the tip law, but I only received $V."

They are taking a commission

They are taking a commission on the fare, from what I can tell. Is that illegal?

The drivers get a passenger who has their credit card already on file, so there is almost zero risk of losing the fare (or getting mugged, for that matter). Is this a worthwhile tradeoff for the drivers?

What do other service (such as Hailo) do?

I'd be curious to hear what other drivers think about this arrangement.

Uber has to take some amount

Uber has to take some amount of money. They're a for-profit business, what they do costs money, and they provide customers to the drivers.

The question is how much, and what are the different fees called (which affects the legal requirements, as well as the customer's expectations of who gets the money).

Sounds like half of the tip

Sounds like half of the tip is being taken aside from the 20% commission they take from the base fare. The fact is uber poses as an lead generating company that sends leads to independent contractor/drivers(this is the gray area the send in to defy regulations). Sounds good but misleading due to the fact that to be classified as an independent contractor you must be in charge of your own hours and 'RATES' for services rendered über rates are made up by uber not the drivers. they are not telling the consumer that we have abc limo 5mins away from you that charges xyz they are telling them there is a car 5mins away and you will be charge by our rates. Tips are suppose to be broken out and exclusively to the driver it should also be at the consumers discretion the option should be there for consumers to decide to tip more, less are not at all. Square has the option to choose tip amount I don't see why a technical innovative company like uber can't incorporate something like that.

Shut Uber Down

Shut Uber Down
Hire Car System = Not Safe

I drove for Uber for slightly under two months and found, Uber is dangerous for public safety and should be shut down. Here's why.
THE SYSTEM: You must tap a small icon(s) on the Uber device/phone to accept, cancel, confirm arrival, and more which takes your eyes completely off of the road. All it takes is those few seconds of inattention which easily could cause accidents resulting in death or injuries .
CANCELLING and DRIVING: If you cancel a fare you must answer why you are cancelling via six little icons and that is another distraction. This is frequently done while driving, thus diverting your eyes from the traffic ahead of you. You are oblivious to traffic for those few seconds your looking at your Uber ( first you’ll have to find it because it may of fallen on the floorboard ) device which can easily cause accidents resulting in death or injuries . Even if you, yourself cancels the fare you must proceed with why you are cancelling to the little green icons on your Uber device and doing so is another distraction, period . Frequently while going to the client(s) pick up location ..………. the client cancels the fare for one reason or another . I received the cancellation notice always at night while I was driving and while I was driving my eyes were taken off the road so I could respond to the beeping sound coming from my Uber device . This beeping sound indicates that the client has cancelled the fare .

While driving and getting close to the pickup location you are required to notify the client by again locating your Uber device taking your eyes off of the road and while driving, tapping on the “arriving “ icon. First, locating then tapping your device particularly while driving can be more dangerous then texting .
Furthermore, there is no time limit to driving. Unlike, San Francisco taxi drivers, who are limited to a 10-hour driving period, an Uber driver can drive for 20 hours straight or more. The result is fatigue, which could lead to confusion, falling asleep, hallucinations, dozing off, and considerably more inattentiveness, all of which can cause accidents.
GOOD RATINGS TRUMP SAFETY: Uber drivers are rated after each fare by passenger(s) from one to five, and if your rating drops below 4.6, you are blocked from driving.
Among those things are dropping passengers off wherever they request, impeding traffic or stopping abruptly so you won’t miss the customer(s) destination, running lights, speeding, If you don't violate the law because your your customer requests it ( say because they are in a hurry ) in most all cases you will receive a low rating by your customer and be suspended by Uber .
Furthermore being an Uber driver means that you will be subjected to violating other traffic laws such as taking eight passengers in your car when there are only four seatbelts. I got a call to take nine passengers out to, Isla Vista from downtown, Santa Barbara all in my mini van.
The weight from ten ( including myself ) would have been dangerous because not only can it make my van harder to handle but the weight itself is enough to cause my tires to rub against the wheel wells of my van creating sparks from stones trapped in the threading which could ignite my fuel tank leading to an explosion killing all passengers that are trapped in my mini van . Because I only took five passengers & not nine the customers were upset and gave me a “ one “ rating .
In an attempt to be reinstated after I was blocked I explained what happened numerous times via emails to my Santa Barbara representatives but I received absolutely no response concluding to me being blocked simply for obeying the law and what was a safety concern so the rating system actually encourages Uber drivers to violate the law in order to maintain a high rating .
VEHICLE ISSUES: No vehicle inspections are required of Uber drivers, meaning that if your car’s brakes are failing or wipers not working, it’s still okay to drive in the rain. Does Uber care that your car is subpar? Probably not. Uber just wants its 20 percent share of your fare and will just claim you’re an independent driver if your involved in an accident and your insurer will deny the claim because you were using the car commercially .
INSURANCE : Insurance companies view driving for Uber as a commercial use and it is illegal to use your vehicle commercially unless you get commercial registration, license plates and commercial insurance. Most Uber drivers do not get commercial plates,registration or the proper insurances, so for many, driving commercially for Uber is technically illegal. Not getting commercial plates, registration and insurance means the loss of millions of dollars for California.
Syed Muzzafar , an Uber driver in San Francisco, killed a little girl, Sofia Liu, age 6, on New Year's Eve. We don’t know what really happened, but here’s a guy working for pennies on the dollar who managed to make his $300,000 bail for manslaughter. My guess is that Google, which invested $258 million in Uber last August, bailed him out as "hush" money because they don't want him talking and that he'll be represented by Google's attorneys, the finest money can buy, all the while he keeps his mouth shut.
California needs to set precedence for our great state and nation by stopping Uber before another tragedy and more children lives are taken .
Felix Jerry Droz
P.O. Box 941
Summerland, Ca. 93067