Life has changed. Businesses are getting bigger and bigger. Tech companies are growing in popularity and revolutionizing certain industries. Companies like Uber have forever altered the way that we look at cab rides. These innovative companies and big businesses might appear to make our lives easier, but it also allows for something else: Taking advantage of consumers.
One company that has gained an absurd amount of popularity and acclaim in recent years is Uber, an innovative ride sharing app that allows consumers to avoid using a cab and receive rides on demand. Sounds great, doesn't it? And it is cheaper, easier, and better than traditional cab rides.
For now. But Uber's current model underprices to undercut the competition.
Uber's end goal is a monopoly that will allow them to charge whatever price they want for rides. And when demand is high? Prices will skyrocket and consumers will have no other choice but to use the app. There s perhaps no greater sign that Uber doesn't care about its customers than the lack of an effective communication system between customers and the company.
If a customer has a problem, he/she reports it and waits for the company to send an E-mail. There is no direct line to call. There is no way to explain what happened on the phone. And no reason for Uber to care. The company only hears about bad rides in this way. And there are those people who don't want to spend the time sending an E-mail and dealing with confirmation issues, which can often take more than an hour to resolve.
And it's not just the Uber customers who have to deal with shoddy service. Uber drivers are required to use a navigation system that can only be described as faulty.
I've taken a simple five minute trip in Reston that took more than 30 minutes. And it's not because of the driver. The Uber navigation system is confused by the Wiehle Metro East station, which appears to be on the highway. I've taken the trip more than 25 times, and as a #consumer, I have to tell the driver which way to go. Really Uber? Why require that your drivers use a navigation system that doesn't work? It hurts both consumers and drivers.
At the end of the day, Uber doesn't care about consumers and drivers. Their goal is to make money, and the further Uber drivers go, the more money the company makes. If there's an issue, let the consumer deal with it rather than use valuable time answering consumer concerns. It's the new American way of business. Until someone complains, take advantage of them as much as possible.
There is no more clear or obvious example of the death of American consumers than the #united airlines example.
The flight was overbooked, and four people needed to be removed from the flight. But nobody wanted to give up their seat. So United Airlines did something that could only make sense in a twisted corporate world. They used a #Random Number Generator to determine which people would be removed from the flight.
United Airlines didn't care that they were the ones who had made a mistake by overbooking the flight. They weren't interested in admitting guilt at the time of the event. And United was willing to do whatever it took to get some people off that plane.
The random number generator selected four people who would have to leave the plane. They had no choice in the matter. These people had paid for a ticket. They had a clear contract with United Airlines that should have been upheld. But they were forced to leave the plane in a world that values soulless corporations above individuals.
An Asian doctor was dragged off the plane, kicking and bleeding, by law enforcement officials. He simply wanted to attend to his patients the next day. The others selected by the generator left the plane, but didn't do so of their own accord.
What can we learn from this event? In the aftermath, the rage against United was appropriately heated. Consumer outrage dropped the stock price in the days following the event. But the stock would recover, and United Airlines remains a huge corporation with all of the power. Even if the Asian man dragged off that flight wins a lawsuit, it would represent only a small victory for the American consumer. It would be just a simple dent in corporate America.
It's time for consumers to stop accepting shoddy treatment from companies like Megabus, Uber, and United Airlines. Consumers need to speak out and make choices that reflect their decision to be treated well. Because if we don't, corporations will continue to take advantage of consumers at every possible opportunity.