A tool that helped Uber drivers determine whether their pay was calculated fairly has been removed from the Chrome Web Store. UberCheats creator Armin Samii said the corporation claimed his extension violated the Uber trademark.
The ride-hailing/food delivery service has landed in hot water before for allegedly fleecing workers. In 2017, Uber admitted to underpaying New York City drivers tens of millions of dollars over two and a half years, promising to reimburse affected employees about $900 each.
UberCheats was inspired by Samii’s own experience as an UberEats rider—when a delivery took him “up one of the steepest hills in Pittsburgh, about four miles total,” but only paid for one mile. “I was so frustrated,” he told Motherboard. “Not for the few dollars I missed out on, but because I knew Uber was getting away with sneakily underpaying thousands of drivers and delivery people everywhere.”
Samii launched the Chrome extension in August 2020, noting that “Uber could block this at any time” and urging UberEats delivery people to “please download it before it’s blocked … and let me know if Uber cheated you.”
“Sometimes Uber calculates the distance from point A to point B incorrectly,” Samii said. “My guess is that they use the ‘straight line’ distance rather than the actual distance traveled. In my area, that has led to a ‘six-minute trip’ taking 50 minutes, since they thought I could…fly, I guess?”
UberCheats lasted an impressive six months before Uber complained and Google yielded, informing Samii that his app “allegedly infringes upon the trademarks of others,” Google wrote in an email, shared with Motherboard.
“In case you think I stretch the truth,” Samii tweeted on Tuesday, “verbatim, UberCheats is ‘likely to lead consumers to mistakenly believe that its products or services are associated with Uber or authorized by Uber.”
Neither Google nor Uber immediately responded to PCMag’s request for comment.