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Illegal Didi plug-in doubles the price of rides

Writer:   |  Editor: Lily A  |  From:   |  Updated: 2018-08-14

The country’s biggest car-hailing app Didi was caught in another plight when an illegal plug-in app was disclosed Saturday. When activated, the plug-in doubles the cost of a car ride.

In response, Didi has announced it would block any accounts identified to be using the plug-in and penalize the driver.

On Friday, a Didi driver surnamed Wang in Northwest China’s Shaanxi Province disclosed the cheating app to the Chinese Business News. An onsite test showed that the price of a Didi ride estimated to be eight yuan, showed up as 16.09 yuan (US$ 2.33), double the price.

According to Wang, he was selling cell phones when one of his customers, a Didi driver, told him he could make 20,000-30,000 yuan a month by driving with Didi. Surprised by the large figure, Wang discovered the plug-in. The customer showed him an order on his phone that displayed as 100 yuan, when the predicted charge was only 40 yuan.

Wang quit his job and copied the trick. According to him, he could earn about 700 to 800 yuan a day using the plug-in app. Without it, the figure was cut by more than 50 percent, shrinking to 300 yuan.

As mentioned by Wang, the price was easily doubled, or even tripled in some cases. He guided the journalist through an order as an example. The destination was the Terracotta Army Museum, with an original estimate of 90 yuan. But later, that number surged to over 180 yuan.

Another one of the plug-in’s “magical” functions allows Didi drivers to filter orders by specific departures or destinations, letting them target long-distance routes, easily giving the Didi driver an opportunity to double more expensive rides.

The app is a tightly-guarded secret among drivers, said Wang. It can’t be found in any app store; it’s only facilitated through a secret chat group, where referrers can buy phones with the plug-in app already pre-installed. No one is accepted into the group without being referred, and the app is set in English, so that it is harder to detect by the surveillance system. (CGTN)