Uber recently began offering sub-prime auto loans to drivers, with lease payments being extracted directly from drivers' earnings. Quartz's Sarah Leberstein contends that these leases are exploitative of drivers, who may face difficulty when gas prices spike or Uber lowers its fares. Moreover, Uber's leases can be priced far above the actual Blue Book value of the car, increasing the likelihood that drivers will struggle to operate profitably after leasing a car.
Shawn Hofstede leased a 2016 Toyota Corolla from Xchange in November, paying $155 a week. When Uber slashed fares two months later, Hofstede went from making $200 to $140 in a weekend. “It got to the point that I would drive just to meet my payment,” said Hofstede. He’s not alone: a just-released survey of Uber drivers found that 57% have bought, leased, or made substantial investments in vehicles to drive for Uber, but only 23% see working for Uber as a stable source of income.