has anyone else had this uncomfortable experience with an Uber driver recently?

I really like Uber, and I’ll take Uber over a taxi every single time I can. I really like being in a clean car, with a friendly driver who genuinely cares about my experience, because I’m rating them and that matters to them. Basically, they work a little harder to give me better service, and I pay about a 5% premium for that.

Earlier this week, though, I took Uber to and from the Stone Company Store in Pasadena, and both drivers gave me this aggressive sales pitch that made me very uncomfortable. They both wanted me to contact them directly when I needed an Uber car, so they could drive to wherever I was, wait for me to request an Uber car, and then they’d answer the request.

Both times, the pitch was a very hard sell, accompanied by boasts about their clients in Bel Air or Beverly Hills, and left me feeling like I’d rather not ride with either of these guys again. When I’ve hired a driver, I just want that driver to get me where I’m going safely and comfortably. I don’t want to feel like I’m getting a high-pressure sales pitch when I’m basically a captive audience.

I’m putting this out there because I want to know if this is happening to anyone else in LA or any other cities? Is this some new kind of official Uber policy? Or did I just happen to get two seemingly random guys who were working off of almost the exact same script?

64 thoughts on “has anyone else had this uncomfortable experience with an Uber driver recently?”

  1. I’ve had almost exactly the same experience with some taxi drivers and even limo drivers when I’ve travelled to the US (but only in some places – other cities I’ve caught a bunch of taxis with no such issue). I’m no celebrity and it’s never happened to me in Australia, by way of comparison.

  2. My dad drives a taxi. Why his method might have been a bit heavy handed It is hard for drivers to make money . Most companies don’t care about the drivers, They has as many cars as they can on a shift which means barely any money for the drivers. Usually the drivers are responsible for gas and any tolls and they the split of money is usually 60/40 in favor of the company. The only thing the driver gets is their tips which is why they like to build up regular customers so they can make ends meet. I know this may make some people uncomfortable but please be conscious of the fact most people do not drive a taxi for fun but out of necessity and forgive those who are a bit hard sell.

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  4. I don’t think Uber would be happy to hear their drivers are pulling this, and I’d make it known to Uber those drivers are doing it, and when you make their ratings reflect that. I’ve had cabbies give me their number to contact them directly before, but they’ve always made it sound like they were doing a friendly thing, not this hard sales-pitch that’s intentionally designed to buck Uber’s system.

  5. Have you tried Lyft or Sidecar yet? As an LA import with little driving experience (because driving in NYC is silly) I 100% advocate Lyft — driers have extensive background checks, it works with your phones GPS system, and it’s half the cost of a taxi. It’s in almost all major cities and you should totally try it out when you can.

  6. I’ve gotten this often from taxi drivers and other black car services, but never from Uber. And that’s having used it on a regular basis across Boston, Chicago, DC, London, New York, San Francisco, Seattle.

    I’d assume they are expecting to bring the ways of traditional black car service into this new system. I would just smile and nod, and then rate them on their service with a note as to why. One thing to be aware of is that Uber drivers that don’t get 4 or 5 stars get de prioritized ability to respond, tho I’m not sure how much explaining is done about why that’s happening. I’d like to see more feedback loop on that, instead of a “you know what you did.”

    As Jeff above states, taxi drivers generally get a really crap deal – another reason I take Uber so much. The folk in their setup make their own schedules and enough money to not drive 12+ hour shifts. Haven’t tried Lyft or Sidecar yet.

  7. I drive for Uber in Denver and your experience is definitely against company policy since clients should feel comfortable during the ride and not skeezed out. That’s why I like not handling cash, etc. Riders are there for more than just a ride…it’s an experience with a regular person you might not meet otherwise.

    Soliciting tips, 5-star reviews, and off-Uber rides…all no-nos. I would recommend letting Uber know simply because that is crappy behavior that will ruin Uber the rideshare experience.

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