The Washington Post article The outbound text service Uber and its competitors have built have made it easier for consumers to get paid for text messages, but they’ve also increased the risk of being charged by those services for text messaging while outbound, according to a report by the American Consumer Careers Institute.
The report analyzed data from more than 100 outbound and inbound texting services in the United States and found that the cost of outbound messaging increased by 20% between January 2015 and December 2016.
In some cases, the increase was nearly 30%.
The report notes that many outbound services allow consumers to opt-in to a text message fee, but the fees often go unused, and in some cases are collected in late fees that don’t show up on customers’ bills.
A spokesperson for Uber, the company that owns UberX, did not respond to a request for comment.
The data analyzed by the institute comes from data collected by a service called “Outbound Texting Usage Report,” a product of the American Council for Capital Formation, which is a nonprofit research group.
The institute, based in Washington, D.C., collects data from a variety of sources, including public documents and consumer reports.
The study used the same dataset to examine the number of out-of-pocket expenses that were incurred by customers using a smartphone app called UberEATS, a feature that lets customers pay for out- of-pocket meals, gas and transportation costs with cash.
The app, which launched in 2017, has been widely used in the U.S. and has been featured on popular television shows like “The Big Bang Theory.”
The data also found that consumers who used the app for out of pocket expenses on average paid an average of $15 for each text message.
The out-bound texting cost increase also appears to be a function of the app’s feature to charge for outgoing texts, the report found.
The billing model Uber uses to charge customers for texts is different than the one used by its competitors, the American consumer careers institute found.
While Uber uses a fee to collect payments for texts, UberEats charges a monthly fee to customers who want to receive text messages from the app.
In addition to charges for texts and outbound fees, Uber charges an annual fee for outtime texts.
The American Consumer and Government Accountability Office, which was established in 2016 by former Sen. Elizabeth Warren Elizabeth Ann WarrenTrump again goes after Warren as ‘Pocahontas’ Warren: I didn’t hear her say anything wrong’ The Hill’s Morning Report — Kavanaugh ordeal thrusts FBI into new spotlight MORE (D-Mass.) to investigate the costs of text messaging, found that UberEAT charges $25 for an outbound message and $55 for an inbound one.
It also charges $5 for text message fees to its app’s app users, but those charges are not reflected on their monthly bills.
In a statement, Uber said the app does not charge fees for outoutbound texts and does not use the fees as a separate payment method.
UberEATT declined to comment.
“While the American government has required companies to collect fees from consumers for out text messaging services, Uber has a fee that we do not charge,” the statement read.
“Our company is committed to providing great customer service and offering our customers a way to pay for it through our app.
Uber is always looking to expand its customer service offerings to include other payment options.”
The report said consumers should consider contacting their insurance company or other third parties to verify whether a fee has been charged.
“If you do not know what you’re paying for, it’s important to contact your insurance company to determine the exact amount,” the report said.
“A fine may be imposed if the fee is excessive.”
A spokesperson with the Federal Communications Commission, which regulates the outbound voice and data services, declined to provide comment.
A spokesman for Uber did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Hill. ____