A Lesson about Lyft (& any rideshare)

Perhaps you have heard of Lyft; especially last year in relation to Trump. Politics aside; if you haven’t heard of Lyft, it’s like Uber. It’s a ride share and now Uber’s competition and rival that just moved into the Great White North and opened up shop in the Toronto market in December.

I’m happy there’s competition for Uber who has been in the Toronto for the past few years. I have my issues with Uber, it’s algorithms and lack of customer service and welcomed Lyft with open arms.

But… (There’s always a but) there is something you should be warned about or aware of, though my experience was with Lyft, I’m not a software engineer or developer so I’m not certain if this could happen with Uber or any other rideshare apps as well.

Last Friday, I took my second ride with Lyft because I woke up late for work. I had opened up my Uber and Lyft app and decided to take Lyft because it was only $2 more than Uber Pool with Lyft’s $5 off promo.

It was a pleasant ride and the driver was nice and polite. As I got dropped off at work, there was a woman standing and looking at the car trying to jump in as I hopped off, so I stated: “this is Lyft, not Uber”. The driver wouldn’t have gotten another pick up because I was just being dropped off and Lyft doesn’t have a pool option. She stuck her head in talked to the driver and he said something to her and she hopped in as he fiddled with his phone. I thought he was ending my ride and telling her to request a ride. (Assumptions, assumptions…Never assume anything…)

I walked into my building, got to my desk, turned on my computer and decided to check my phone. I saw my trip was still going on and a bit confused because I had been dropped off and assumed my trip had ended when I got out of the car. (You know what they say about Assuming…More on that later). I wish I had taken more screenshots but I was walking into a meeting and I didn’t know I was being charged more because of what the driver was doing because it was happening live/right at that time.

Fast forward to today. I was checking my bills and saw I had an additional charge from Lyft on my credit card. I logged in my app and review my trip from Friday. The original charge and the additional charge added up to the new amount shown for that Friday trip.

$22.38? I was a bit confused. I know I had a $5 off from the promo and it was more than my quote when I first requested my ride. I realised that the dropoff had changed. I don’t work in Yorkville. I definitely don’t even have that address in my app as only home and work are the only address I have ever typed in the app.

I reviewed the price and it showed that I was charged more because the destination changed and it was by the driver who must have taken the woman who tried to hop in as I was getting out after I was dropped off. It was $4.72 more which isn’t a lot, but this was tied to my credit card and I was charged without notice or authorisation. If I had not checked my statement, I would be none the wiser.

What if the driver kept editing my ride and picking up more passengers who had not downloaded the app? Did he take cash while my credit card was being charged? How many times has he or other drivers done this? Why does the ability to edit a ride lie with the driver and why is my app not asked for a confirm or if I accept the changes to my ride? Why should this be my problem? Why am I being charged because the driver chose to take this passenger? Why do I have to take time to dispute the charges?

Why isn’t this app like Uber which (I think, though I’m not certain) detects when I have gotten out of the vehicle to realize that’s where my ride ended when I am no longer in the car with the driver. This app does rely on GPS after all, why don’t they make it smarter?!( I don’t know if this is what the Uber app is like, but I have never had this problem with Uber).

I contacted Lyft help and typed my issue out because these companies don’t believe in taking phone calls anymore. I was told I would be credited the $4.72 for the trip edit and that was it. Not a great way to break into a new market as this is definitely not satisfactory to keep rider retention.

I have asked for the whole trip to be credited as their employee violated their user agreement. I was being charged for the duration and distance of the trip that was added on to my trip because it edited by the driver that was not my destination. I would like a breakdown of the two trips or a recalculation. I have still not heard back about anything other than the initial $4.72 but based on (time and distance in addition to address edit) their breakdown I’m was charged more than just $4.72 for the trip edit and again it’s the principle that I am putting in a method of payment that is supposed to be used fairly. What if that woman had left downtown to go to the airport?? I don’t want to think about that charge during rush hour peak.

I was really looking forward to Uber having competition in the market as I don’t like monopolies and haven’t been happy with Uber’s algorithms and pick up time being 20-35 minutes when I know there are cars near me when I first opened the app and the fact that if I cancel, I am charged a cancellation fee and other issues.

THIS, however, is a whole other level of unacceptable. I don’t know if Lyft will refund me this ride, calculate it properly or if I have spend my time to take it up with my credit card company and dispute this charge.

My lesson for you is, when taking any timeshare make sure the driver has ended your ride before you get out of the car.

TL DR:

Took Lyft, the driver takes a rider who does not have Lyft app right after me and edits my ride destination.

I get charged for ride changes for destination edit, time and distance and am ONLY credited the trip edit. Time and distance have not been recalculated.

Edit: 12:03pm EST, after multiple emails on my behalf asking for adjustments to time and distance of trip in addition to destination edit, I have been refunded for this trip. Though I am happy this is resolved, I’m not sure I want to ensure another episode like this ever again. A customer should never have to argue or fight to be refunded for a ride change they did not take or make.

We were just getting started, Lyft. I don’t know what to say other than this experience sucked.

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