Uber refund, a feature no one talks about

It was 8.15 AM time to get to work. Request an Uber driver on my phone and magically in 4 minutes the driver arrives at the hotel to pick me up. He spoke no english at all (typical of nearly all Uber driver in India), so I did what any foreigner will do - pointed to his phone and said "Follow Uber" and pointed to his phone. Then when he clicked on navigate, his phone opened up Google Maps and I went "Yes yes the map, follow the map". He started to shook his head (the Indian way of shaking that you don't know whether it's a Yes or No) with a reply "Yes OK OK" and off we go.

The Indian way, is the right way

Also in typical Indian fashion, most Uber drivers think they are smarter than Google Maps.

It's been a few days I've been using Uber to go back and forth to work, so I now know the route by heart especially the Google Maps route. Also in typical Indian fashion, most Uber drivers think they are smarter than Google Maps. They take slightly different routes to get to the place. Google Maps shows routes which uses major roads, so the driver takes a short cut - which majority of the time turns catastrophically worst as the road is full of people and we get stuck in traffic. Sometimes they say the route is full of traffic at this hour and decides to take a different route, and we still get stuck in traffic. This time the driver thinks he's even smarter and decided to take me somewhere else!

Halfway to my journey I knew the driver was taking me to the wrong place. Asked him why is he taking this route and didn't follow Google Maps, his response was "It's wrong sir". I for one didn't want to upset a local, so I played along. Then a few minutes later we arrived to what he describe as the right place. Turns out the name was the same except that the place where we arrived was the organization's dockyard and I wanted to go to their headquarters. Great! I'm gonna be late. I said "No, no, no" and asked him to follow his phone and kept pointing to it. By the time he understood where he had to go, I already made my mind up on how many stars I should give him.

One star (if there was a half I would have chosen that) out of 5 was what I gave the driver after I arrived at my destination. I wrote in the comment section "Driver took me to the wrong place" and went to work.

You got mail!

At the end of the day I got an email saying Uber was reviewing my trip and shortly after that another email came in and mention that they refund part of my trip. Basically Uber saw my morning trip with their driver and came to the conclusion that the driver did took me to the wrong place. It was an easy conclusion to make since I've ridden with them to the same place for several days now so they knew where I was headed every morning and how much it would have cost to get me there. So I guess they took the average and refunded me the rest. The most astonishing thing was all this happened in a single day!

Uber refund

Hop, hop, hop like a bunny

All I have to do is hop in and hop out of an Uber car.

Now this happen in India so might not happen in Malaysia, since all of Uber Malaysia drivers that I've ridden with follow the map on their phone or directions from their passenger diligently. Basically not as smart as their Indian counterparts but that's a good thing. Nevertheless it's a good thing to know that Uber does refunds if you happen to be in such a situation.

I always thought that the most fascinating feature of Uber was cashless. I hop in a car and hop out when I arrived. I didn't need to quickly (which eventually leads to clumsiness) find the right notes, I didn't need to do a rocket science arithmetic to figure out how much I change I should get back or argue with the driver why he's charging me a flat rate which is higher than the one shown on the meter. Uber takes care of all this crap (because they know the exact distance, route and time taken) and makes it easy for fools like me to not think about it. All I have to do is hop in and hop out of an Uber car.

Since Uber knows many things about your trip and your ride history, it's easy and virtuous for them to analyze a trip and justify a refund, like mine. Sure I was piss off arriving late to work that morning plus being charged nearly double the amount as usual, but at the end of the day I felt justified (with the refund and someone actually read my one star comment) and wanted to use the service even more for tomorrow. I surely can't say the same with any taxi service or driver that I've ever used before. Uber has manage to provide an extended service that is not limited to cleanliness of a car or politeness of the driver but into the realm of after sales, similar to buying an iPhone, that no other taxi operator has or will ever give in the history of taxi service.

So before my beloved politicians find a way to permanently shut down Uber here in Malaysia, I think they should try to think if our taxi service can be anything like Uber. If not at the very least try fixing the actual issues facing most cabbies.

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