A browser extension that alerts delivery riders when they are underpaid by the Uber-algorithm
UberCheats was an extension for Google Chrome with which Uber riders could verify the travel distance the company's algorithm used to calculate their payment. For every ride documented in the Uber App, the extension would plug the start and end locations into Google Maps and compare the distance given to the one detailed in the summary by Uber. If the discrepancy was too big, it would alert the drivers and give them information on how they could contact the company to claim the money they were owed.
Armin Samii, the software engineer behind the project worked as a rider himself when he noticed that he was underpaid. After a longer back and forth with Uber, where an employee finally admitted on record that there was a bug in their system, he started wondering how many drivers were affected. According to the anonymous statistics gathered from the several hundred drivers that used the extension in 2020, 21% of rides were miscalculated and therefore underpaid. This is not the first time that Uber had to admit to underpaying workers and speaks of a common strategy within the gig economy to obscure wages and pay structures in order to keep the agency of workers low.
While it did not cause a large outcry, the project did get some media attention and in February 2021 the extension was temporarily removed by Google because Uber claimed it was a trademark violation. Today (2023) it is not available for download in the Google Webstore anymore, for unclear reasons.
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