Ride-hailing app Uber faces accusations of adjusting prices based on customers' smartphone battery levels, Belgian daily Dernière Heure reports.
Specifically, some users have reported seeing varying fares for identical trips. The ride-sharing giant denies any connection between battery levels and pricing, but users are left wondering why prices differ for the same journey.
Testing the theory
Dernière Heure conducted a test using two smartphones, one with 84% battery and the other with 12%, to request a ride from their office in Brussels to Tour & Taxis in the centre.
The result showed a significant price difference, with the phone at 12% battery being charged €17.56 and the phone at 84% battery being charged €16.6 for the same service.
Uber refuted the claim that battery levels influence pricing. When contacted about the results, a spokesperson said: "Uber does not take into account the phone's battery level to calculate the price of a trip. The dynamic pricing applied to trips booked via Uber is determined by the existing demand for rides and the supply of drivers who can respond to it. During peak hours, when there are many ride requests and few available drivers in a certain geographical area, this may impact the price of the trip."
Room for doubt
Uber's explanation does not clarify why two users requesting the same ride at the same time would pay different fares. In any case, the price discrepancy may encourage users to compare offers on their respective phones when booking rides together.
As previously reported, Uber has faced regulatory challenges in the city, and this latest revelation may lead to further scrutiny of the company's practices.