Why Uber’s Xchange Leasing Program Is A Bad Idea

High turn-over creates demand for an endless supply of drivers, even those with no access to their own car. Don’t be one of them.

Uber's Xchange leasing program


Let’s face it. The recession of a few years ago opened a huge can of whoop-ass on millions of hard-working people. If you watched your family go through the recession or if you went through it yourself, the changes in the job market and the overall economy were hard to miss.

Some  of those changes involved  the emergence of the gig economy, or “sharing economy.” The latter just means that some rich kids in Silicon Valley or Silicon Beach developed a service-based app and hired a bunch of independent contractors to do their bidding, usually for less than stellar pay and no rights or benefits.

Ahem. Anyway….

Uber is by far one of the most successful service-based apps, with a worldwide presence.So successful that you no longer need to have your own car to drive for Uber. You don’t even have to have decent credit to get a car to drive for Uber. How did that happen?

Enter Uber’s Xchange short-term leasing program.

A sweet deal…at first glance

Unlike a conventional lease whereby you pay the first month’s payment, a security deposit, plus tax and license, Xchange only requires a $250.00 payment up front.

Hell, even I can scrounge $250.00, but I’m not so sure I’d want to spend it on this.

Here’s where the program gets you in the shorts: lease payments range from the mid-$100s to $200.00 weekly.

Unlike a traditional lease where you’re bound to the car for the term of the lease, Uber’s Xchange lease allows you to turn in the car within 30 days, pay a $250.00 disposition plus any remaining balance, and walk away.

They make it sound so…easy.

After all, it’s no skin off their back if for any reason the car is repo’ed.

Still tempted?

Time for a little math. Let’s assume that you want to lease a 2016 Toyota Corolla  or Honda Civic through the Xchange program and use it for Ubering your ass off. Let’s also assume you have a bad week and don’t pick up a lot of fares. Instead of the $200 week you were hoping for, you only clear $100 after Uber takes their cut.

Weekly lease payment:                               $150.00

Your total Uber haul for that week:        $100.00

Remaining balance:                                    $ 50.00

The remaining balance of $50.00 gets rolled over into the following week’s lease payment, leaving you $50.00 in the hole right out of the gate.  Uber has also cut their fares, making it harder for drivers to make a profit over and above Uber’s deductions and any lease payments.

In plain English, if you have a couple of bad weeks, you’re screwed. Fall far enough behind or have your Uber account randomly  deactivated, and you can be on the hook for hundreds of dollars that you didn’t have in the first place.

Just like payday lenders and buy here/pay here dealerships, Uber’s leasing program targets financially vulnerable people who have few other options and very limited access to decent cars.

Don’t let the easy-peasy friendly language on Uber Xchange’s website fool you. There are other side-gigs out there that actually let you keep the money you earn and not piss it away on weekly lease payments.

You  got your hours cut and need a side gig to feed your family or to pay for tuition. You want some holiday money. You need to pay down a medical bill.

I get it. I really do.

However, Uber’s Xchange leasing program isn’t the way to go about it. Honest.

(For the economic nuts and bolts of the program, check out Bloomberg’s post).

2 thoughts on “Why Uber’s Xchange Leasing Program Is A Bad Idea

  1. I started uber 3 weeks ago. Then I got a car through uber lease xchange program. The car started tripping 3 days later. I then contacted uber, the lease program and any contact doing from uber. They told me that the only thing I can do is hope the car has a warranty on it! And they already took 183.00 out of my account after I was told that my first payment would not be due till the 7th of November. I’m pissed and I have been working very hard for the uber company 11 pm to be 11 am when really there is not too many people driving for uber. Can someone please help me? wings101wings@gmail.com


    • Hi Chris-
      What a nightmare! My best guess would to be to have an attorney or consumer advocate go over the contract with you to help you determine what your rights are and the best course of action. Your county bar association my be able to refer you to a pro bono or low-fee attorney. Depending on the verbiage on the lease, you may or may not have any recourse…

      Best of luck and keep us posted!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s