A group of self-employed fast food couriers are speaking out on behalf of Aberdeen workers after being left short-changed by national food ordering delivery platform Uber Eats.
The disagreement has come to a head after numerous individuals lodged complaints with the company about the issue which is leaving some drivers hundreds of pounds out of pocket every week.
The roadworks at the Haudagain roundabout, North Anderson Drive, Great Northern Road and Manor Road are where drivers are having problems, with Uber Eats‘ app not updating that some of the roads are closed or are operating one-lane traffic.
When drivers are assigned a job around this area of Aberdeen, the Uber Eats navigation system sends drivers down closed roads which they cannot access.
This results in the drivers having to find another route and be penalised for potentially being late, and they are not paid for the additional miles they have had to travel as a result of the diversion.
One self-employed driver who works for other food apps, said: “Uber Eats is ignoring the situation. The roadworks on North Anderson Drive and Great Northern Road have been causing issues. Manor Avenue is closed to get onto the A96.
Google Maps vs Uber Eats map
“The problem is nine out of 10 of the trips on the app are sending us through Manor Avenue which we can’t do. We have to go all the way around and we end up adding 0.8 to 1.25 miles extra – and we aren’t getting paid for that.
“Great Northern Road is a busy road, and more so now with the construction work. It is down to one line of traffic. They will reply to our concerns with templated messages. The other road is our only option and we aren’t getting paid for it.”
Lack of fixing payments
Although the driver has been compensated for three of his underpaid trips within the past six weeks, the real problem lies with the hundreds of trips a week other drivers are also being diverted on and not being compensated.
“The repayment was between £1.50 to £2.80 per trip. That was the lowest and highest. If you think about it, every day every driver has around five of these trips to this area, so how many trips aren’t being paid properly?
“I tried to contact their driver support on the phone and the person hung up on me twice. We just want the Uber Eats map updated so we can get paid fairly. It is updated on Google Maps but they won’t listen to us and their navigation is actually also saying not to go down the road, but the map is telling us to. It is crazy.
“The same thing happened with Union Street last year. This is my only income so I need them to pay me what I am due.”
Another driver who is also experiencing the same issues has previously filed complaints and has been left feeling frustrated at the lack of communication and action from the delivery app firm.
The second driver added: “The situation is very frustrating as most of the time I have to struggle with Uber’s helpline. I filed a complaint about the route I had to take.
“There is a section that is closed down for roadworks, so every single time when I have to make a delivery on that route I have to make a detour in order to finish the delivery. I have reported the problem on many occasions and I can tell you out of 10, seven to eight times Uber Eats refuses to compensate me for the longer route.
“Even though I have told them there are roadworks, the route that they are suggesting is impossible to carry out. The answer was always: ‘We understand your frustration but on this occasion we cannot compensate you.’ On one occasion I received the above mentioned message from three different people in one hour.”
‘Bottom of the food chain’
With tensions rising, drivers and riders who depend on the income of their deliveries feel frustrated by the situation. The independent drivers are also worried about receiving bad reviews for being late, something which is outwith their control.
“I feel that we are just being regarded as not an important part of the organisation. Like we are bottom of the food chain.
“I am losing money as a result. If I have to take a longer route to make a delivery I am still just being paid for the route Uber suggested. I am also losing time which may result in a bad review from a customer.
“When you order through the app you are able to track your order/driver during the delivery. If the app says the order will be with you in 10 minutes and then suddenly you see the driver deserting the route, you will ask yourself what the driver is doing.
“As a result, you will get your order later than you should, therefore you might give a bad review. I am not saying that everyone is like that but one bad review can have a negative impact on a person, especially if it was given unfairly.
“Uber should monitor the traffic situations in problematic areas. What I mean is if there is a problem reported, the minimum is someone should investigate the report and make necessary changes to make sure no one will lose money, reputation and time.”
Another one bites the dust
And some drivers claim the company is exploiting drivers by not paying them the additional money for the longer trip which is a result of the app’s incorrect map system.
Another added: “I photographed the signs that had been put in place for the roadworks and sent screenshots of the shortest route suggested by Google Maps to Uber Eats support.
“For the first four or five rides, the extra miles were paid. After that, however, the extra miles were no longer paid. They sent me messages like: ‘We understand your frustration but unfortunately we have already paid too much’.
“I found this outrageous because I did my job honestly and Uber Eats subsequently decided not to pay me my money.
“Our loss was about £1 to £3 per trip. Drivers estimated there could have been 20 to 60 trips to the affected area per day. This has been the case for three or four weeks.”
Uber Eats has been contacted for comment.