Tuesday, April 12, 2022


Introduction ...

The world of business survives on a simple concept of supply and demand in that the charge for supply can vary based on how many people want that supply.  However, this is regulated to stop price gouging, greed, extortion, fraud, misrepresentation and like unlawful actions by specific verbal or written contractual obligations on concluded agreements protecting the so-called weaker party.  Not all is fair in business.

In simple terms, both parties must agree to any transaction for it to be legal otherwise anyone could bill anyone and expect payment with no recourse.

A seller has little obligation to supply at a price other than when advertised at a certain price which leaves a vast grey area when the price is advertised as a variable based on demand.  

Enter ‘surge’ pricing from UBER.  UBER says that their surge pricing is designed to get more drivers into areas of high demand thereby supporting those wanting to travel.  On a prima facie test this would seem logical in that drivers would flock to ‘surge priced’ demand locations thereby increasing their revenue and basic supply.  But this would also reduce supply from other areas as demand goes unmet resulting in those areas also suffering surge pricing because demand exceeded supply and Uber’s algorithm kicked in.  A vicious circle not benefiting customers in any way shape or form but hugely benefitting Uber and their drivers.  Surge pricing just follows demand.  Uber obviously target demand areas and automatically add surge pricing which creates further areas of demand because supply has left to chase the first area.  A ‘self inflating’ cycle.

Imagine if this surge concept applied to the average supermarket ... “Sorry Madam but your bill was for $23 but because there was a queue of 4 people waiting to pay there will be a surge charge of 4 leaving you a bill of $92 but as we already have your credit card on file it was automatically deducted.  Have a nice day”... If Madam had accepted this surge in full and absolute knowledge before the event then she was accepting paying $92 for a $23 bill.  But if the surge is not known or accepted before the event then it’s unlawful. 

However, law surrounding extortion, fraud, blackmail, price gouging, deception and misrepresentation can mitigate Madam’s problem.  Is it extortion to charge 4 times a normal price when demand is high or is it just normal business practice?  I suspect the latter albeit we all have a choice not to shop at that supermarket or ride with Uber as companies extorting clients [extortion - a demand without a reasonable cause with an intent to gain a benefit]. There is a difference between demand pricing and fee gouging and a huge difference to charging after the fact without consent.


Case study ...

In our case, we accepted a confirmed charge of $115.32 as a concluded agreement by phone app despite Uber’s surge pricing of 3.9 because we had little choice.  Uber’s algorithm had calculated the fare based on known traffic conditions.  Pay 4 times the fare or walk!

What we didn’t expect was a further loading of 50% with a charge of $57.55 deducted from the credit card without our knowledge or consent.  We had not accepted this further charge.

This final fee was a clear misrepresentation of our already concluded agreement.  It was and is tantamount to fraud.  Intentional theft of funds without consent.

Conclusion ...

Before travelling with Uber make sure you know what is being charged and make sure it is accepted as a concluded agreement and don’t accept ‘after the fact’ charges.  Better, support normal taxi drivers.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022



There is a dysfunctional change to the way people angle park and it’s moronic.  As an example of this stupidity, at South Melbourne market people go to great lengths to back into a 90 degree angled parking spot seemingly oblivious to the fact that their boot/tailgate, where they will put their purchasers, is now blocked by the very fact they backed in. If they had driven in forwards like a normal human being they would have had easy access.  At South Melbourne market we have seen idiots carrying shopping, kids, strollers and all manner of junk squeezing past cars parked either side just to get to their tailgate which they can’t access anyway.  We have also seen the same morons use the bonnet of the car next to their tailgate as a platform until they shift their car forward a metre  into the traffic so as to load up.  There is another entirely logical reason to nose into an angled parking spot in that by parking nose in you do not disrupt the passing traffic as in parallel parking.  By backing in to an angled park you expect all traffic to stop just so you can back in.  This sense of entitlement and ‘me me me’ beggars belief.  Indeed we have seen people reverse park even in a 45 degree angle park which makes zero sense and they are facing the wrong direction on exit.  This backing into angled parking spots is moronic and I suspect driven by the proliferation of reverse cameras enabling the moron to pretend they self shine.

People need to be aware that backing into everything is not normal behaviour.  May I suggest that a touch of clear thinking will override self entitlement.

Please, nose into angled parking spots like a normal human being!!

There may be another reason why people use their reversing cameras with such moronic regularity.  Watch drivers doing strange things and I will back it in they have every window in their cars, including the windscreen, so heavily tinted they can’t actually see outside with enough clarity to park or indeed safely drive anywhere.  Yesterday we ate lunch at a cafe on Church Street in Brighton enjoying a table outside where we had a plain view of passing traffic.  In roughly 40% of cars you could not see the driver through any window let alone through the windscreen.  How these people see anything at night is a mystery but does explain the necessity for parking cameras.  In our daily commute we see drivers veering, swerving and ignoring other cars and in nearly all cases the morons have heavily tinted windows.  Obviously, there are good drivers with tinted windows but, it seems that a good percentage of bad drivers have tinted windows – they just can’t see out.  

Personally, we like to look out and enjoy the world with as clear a vision as we can get.  The world is a fantastic place to be treasured and not to be hidden behind tinting.  Drive with the windows down, let the wind flow through, turn the radio off and soak in life.  Please.