If you haven’t tipped your Uber driver before, don’t be surprised if they start asking.
Late Thursday night, the ride-hailing company came to a settlement agreement in two lawsuits brought forth by drivers. As part of it, Uber has agreed to change its messaging around tipping.
Unlike Lyft, which offers an option to tip at the end of the ride, Uber doesn’t offer an opportunity to tack a couple bucks on your bill if you loved your driver.
Even Uber’s help pages tell customers there is “no need to tip.”
However, “not needing to tip” doesn’t mean that’s because one is already included for you. The price that Uber charges you, with the exception of UberTaxi, doesn’t include any gratuity for the driver.
After the settlement though, Uber confirmed that there’s no policy to prohibit drivers from requesting one or putting up signs.
“… There would be no prohibition on drivers posting in their cars a sign stating that ‘tips are not included, they are not expected, but they would be appreciated,'” the settlement states.
Since drivers rate passengers, they could start rating non-tippers lower than others. By the same token, riders who feel uncomfortable with Uber drivers asking could also rate the driver lower, potentially putting a driver’s job at risk.
The double-edged sword is even noted in the settlement agreement: “If some passengers are unhappy with the signs (or their interactions with drivers regarding tips) and that leads to poor ratings, then given that low ratings are still a basis for deactivation, drivers may still suffer potential repercussions for having such signs in their cars. But, under this agreement, there would be nothing directly prohibiting drivers from having such signs.”
Still, drivers are now clearly within their right to ask you for a tip, or at least put up a sign that it would be greatly appreciated.