In an intended gesture of goodwill, Uber announced facilitated $5 donations to homeless veterans after each ride on Veterans’ Day.
Now that gesture is being called “shameless” on social media, as San Francisco-based Uber also collected a credit card processing fee of 25 cents for each donation.
“Uber claiming to support #Veterans and #VeteransDay by asking YOU to donate money and taking a ‘processing fee'” tweeted Kristof Puchner, of San Francisco.
“The people at Uber are shameless, really,” tweeted Matt Milsap, of Connecticut.
Many more social media posts lambasted the company.
To make the donation, those taking an Uber ride on Veterans’ Day were directed to touch the ‘VETS DAY’ slider on Uber’s app. When a ride is complete, riders were text-messaged a prompt to donate.
The bottom of the prompt to donate reads “*$0.25 OF EACH $5 DONATION WILL BE USED TO COVER PROCESSING FEES.”
In response to the vitriol, Uber released the following statement to the San Francisco Examiner: “”We understand that processing fees are a hot button issue. We thought long and hard about the best way to handle fees as we intend to do many more giving campaigns in the future where we will invite our riders to join in. We appreciate the generosity of our riders, and we’ll continue to be transparent about any fee.”
Uber did not recieve any revenue from the fee, it said on background, and fees are standard in taking donations.
Sage Lazzaro, a writer for The Observer online, criticized Uber for not taking the financial hit in the name of veterans.
“This company, worth more than $50 billion, can’t encourage users to donate to this excellent cause without charging them for their time?” Lazzaro wrote. “The thing is, if another company did this, it would likely go unnoticed. But it’s just so, Uber-ish.”
In a blog post on Veterans’ Day, Uber wrote it will contribute an estimated 10,000 rides, which it says is worth $125,000, across five veterans organizations affiliated with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program.
Those rides will provide on-demand transportation to jobs, interviews, and other employment events.