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Some ride-hailing drivers use tech to defraud customers

Some ride-hailing drivers use tech to defraud customers

Customers of ride-hailing digital services Uber and Taxify have accused some driver partners of manipulating their systems and using mobile technology to increase fares.

Drivers are believed to be using apps such as Lockito to manipulate trip distances and, unbeknown to the customer, also add toll and parking charges.

ITWeb Africa was shown receipts from multiple users which reflect discrepancies in terms of travel distance and respective charges.

In some cases, the GPS patterns from rides do not match up to the routes taken during the rides.

A spokesperson from Uber Kenya admitted that some of their drivers have been caught trying to manipulate the system.

"Fraudulent activity undermines the trust on which Uber is built. We are constantly on the lookout for fraud by riders and driver-partners who are gaming our systems," read a statement issued on behalf of the company.

It added that Uber has introduced 'upfront fares' which allow riders to enter their destination and source the actual fare for the trip before they request a ride.

"All Uber rides are GPS-tracked from start to finish, drivers and passengers know that there is a record of the journey. This creates accountability, Uber then sends riders Uber receipts through email at the end of each trip," the statement continued.

The company also explained that it has an automated system that detects fraudulent activities and if found to be the case, deactivates the culpable driver's account and refunds affected riders.

System malfunction

Taxify Kenya has attributed the illegal charges to system malfunction.

Alex Mwaura, Taxify City Manager in Nairobi, said, "Occasionally, drivers using the Taxify application fail to update their navigation applications and this tampers with the Taxify app's ability to draw accurate distances for a trip. This could result in an overcharge or an undercharge. We have a fare review solution on the driver's application to address these cases."

He refuted claims that drivers can manipulate the system to alter trip distances. "This is a system error as opposed to exploitation. Drivers are not able to manipulate the system to change the fare structure and any attempt to do this is immediately flagged by the fraud team, the driver's account is suspended and the rider compensated."

Taxify is understood to be working on an improved in-app navigation system that is not dependent on third party navigation and applications that draw distances for the trips.

The company believes this will improve billing.

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