Bill Ackman gets some Uber tips

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‘Got taken for two rides’: Uber driver praised for ‘hustling’ tip out of hedge fund billionaire

Bil Ackman said a driver he tipped on Wednesday never get the money he sent him, but was corrected.

 

Marlon Ettinger

Tech

A post by hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman about his experience with tipping on Uber went viral on Wednesday evening after Ackman reported that his driver wasn’t getting the tip he paid him.

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Ackman, who spent the past six months as X’s main character, explained in the post that while ordering an Uber on Wednesday, he was offered a New York City Yellow Cab, which he initially thought was a good thing, as Uber previously faced criticism for undercutting the service and crashing the market.

But after asking the driver about his experience with Uber, Ackman was surprised to learn about his troubles with the app, particularly when it came to tipping. According to the driver, Ackman said, Uber wasn’t passing on passenger tips to the driver. 

“I said that this could not be true so he asked me to test it. When the ride finished I added a $5.00 tip. His screen showed that I paid no tip,” Ackman wrote. “The driver was right. In short, Uber is massively increasing its margins and profits in NYC by ripping off NYC cab drivers.”’

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Ackman went on to explain that he texted Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi about the situation.

“Uber needs to immediately return the stolen funds with interest to the NYC taxi drivers and to other drivers in any other markets where they are doing the same and they should deeply apologize,” Ackman concluded. “And Uber should restate its earnings to reflect this overstatement of margins and profits.”

But Ackman may have rushed to judgment.

A Community Note highlighting a statement from Uber’s communications team pushed back on Ackman’s characterization, noting that tips don’t come up in the total of the trip price until after the trip ends and that the screen on the driver’s end doesn’t refresh with them.

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Additionally, in the case of the partnership with New York City taxis, tips are processed through another party before reaching the driver.

Khosrowshahi later responded to Ackman publicly on X.

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“Good to connect. We’re super proud of this Uber + taxi pilot – still in test/learn mode, but we’ve sent 1.5M trips to NYC taxi drivers so far. More to do, including improving this console screen w/our partners at Curb – team is on it. Thx for using us + keep the feedback coming!” he wrote.

Regardless, people on X enjoyed the mental image of a taxi driver getting one over on Ackman and baiting him into tipping

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“this is so fucking funny, billionaire Bill Ackman got hustled by an Uber driver for $5,” joked @ryxcommar. “someone get that Uber driver a private equity analyst job he could roll up more midwestern HVAC sole proprietorships than any spoiled rich kid with a business degree from Duke University.”

“Ackman got taken for two rides at the same time – once for transport and once for an extra tip,” joked another user.

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Despite the memes, posters on r/uberdrivers have documented experiences where they say that they didn’t get the full value of tips they say they’ve received from passengers.

“I’ve noticed a tip notification of $8 and then a Uber Pro Card immediate tip load of $7-and-some-change. I suspect they steal tips using % algorithm,” speculated u/SassaFrass-88 in one thread from a year ago.

“I have video of the tip going in, as an experiment, from somebody I actually know. He never changed anything after the fact. Tip never showed up, support of course knows nothing and will do nothing. Same thing with two other tips,” posted u/gigabyte333. 

u/gigabyte333 didn’t immediately respond to a message asking for more information or to see the video.

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Drivers in a thread on the UberPeople.net forum though had a solution, despite it technically being banned by Uber.

“Cash is king,” warned Trafficat. “Anything else can be pilfered.”


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