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Uber privately blacklists some of their users: is it legal?

Uber, a simple app that hails a private driver, has been found to be blacklisting some of their customers – what does this mean for riders, and for Uber?

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How Uber works, why rude riders matter

If you’ve ever used the service before, or done a bit of online research, you know more or less how it works. You use the app and yadda yadda yadda, your chariot awaits, Madame.

But if your chauffer is a jerk, you can rate your ride and let future passengers know to steer clear of that dude. The whole idea behind that is to make sure that the personable and responsible drivers are frequently requested and rewarded appropriately. And, of course, so the jerks can get their comeuppance, however that may be.

What you might not have known, however, is that drivers have actually been covertly rating their passengers as well. The implications of this, in my mind, involve a snotty rich girl clutching her Dolce and Gabbana bag in the rain, unable to get anyone to pick her up. She, like other rude or simply uncouth passengers, has been virtually blacklisted.

There are a few issues with rating systems like this

A Bay Area woman told CBS that she was blacklisted for simply working on her phone in the car instead of entertaining her driver with conversation. If I was driving she was sitting passenger, on a bad day, I might take offense.

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Yeesh, lady. I drove all the way out here to shuttle you to this stupid real estate convention and you couldn’t even acknowledge my existence with a little small talk? Just because you’re paying me doesn’t mean you get a free pass to straight up ignore me.

If I was really that put off by this lack of pleasantries, I could give her a low rating. But this begs the question, is it really her job to be friendly and talkative? After all, nobody’s paying her for anything. If she has work to do, she has work to do. Her not listening to my yarn about the time I broke my elbow stage diving isn’t exactly grounds for expulsion from the system.

So what will Uber do?

The problem with blacklisting is that in some sectors, it’s not legal, and the truth is that regardless of legality, this makes Uber vulnerable to the swarms of lawyers that smell blood in the water at the hint of any individual feeling discriminated against.

Uber says that they plan to make rider ratings public in the future. It looks like you might need more than just 20 bucks and a smile in order to hitch a ride. Although Uber’s intent might not be the worst, such a subjective system might have potential users looking elsewhere for service.

#UberBlacklist

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Written By

Staff Writer, Johnny Crowder, is a hard working creative with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and a deep passion for writing. In his other life, he is the front man for signed metal band, Dark Sermon. He has a wicked sense of humor and might literally die if he goes a day without putting pen to paper.

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