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Before you drive for Uber, know the real facts about your earning potential

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March 15th, 2017
Senior adult driving a car

Have you ever considered becoming an Uber driver? In many respects, it seems like a great way for retirees to earn some extra money. You make your own schedule, drive your own car, and, according to the company, take home a respectable income.  

If you’ve ever visited the Uber website, you may have seen claims that the median income for Uber drivers in New York is over $90,000 and over $74,000 for drivers in San Francisco.

However, as the saying goes, don’t believe everything you read. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), those claims were false. In reality, Uber drivers earn considerably less—about $61,000 in New York and $53,000 in San Francisco. Less than 10% of all drivers in those cities earned the yearly income Uber touted on its site. 

Uber’s financing plan claims

The FTC is also shedding light on false claims Uber made about its Vehicle Solutions Program; the financing plan Uber offers its drivers. The company said the program would provide drivers with the “best financing options available,” regardless of the driver’s credit history, and told consumers they could “own a car for as little as $20/day” or lease a car with “payments as low as $17 per day.”  

Not only was that untrue, the FTC’s complaint says that Uber drivers using the company’s program actually received worse rates on average than consumers with similar credit scores would typically obtain. In addition, the FTC alleges that Uber claimed its program offered drivers leases with unlimited mileage, when, in fact, the leases came with mileage limits.

To resolve the FTC’s charge that the company made false or unsupported claims about its drivers’ earning potential and the terms of its Vehicle Solutions Program, Uber has agreed to a $20 million settlement. The money will be given to affected Uber drivers across the country. (The exact terms of the settlement are still being worked out.)

“Many consumers sign up to drive for Uber, but they shouldn’t be taken for a ride about their earnings potential or the cost of financing a car through Uber,” says Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “This settlement will put millions of dollars back in Uber drivers’ pockets.”

If you or someone you know drives for Uber, visit FTC.gov for additional information on the status of the settlement. 

As always, if any business doesn’t deliver on its claims, report it to the FTC by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). 

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