Uber inadvertently underpaid NYC drivers for over two years


May 23 (Reuters) - Uber Technologies Inc said on Tuesday it underpaid its New York City drivers for the past two-and-a-half years, an error that could cost the ride-hailing company tens of millions of dollars.

Uber generally takes a commission from its drivers after deducting taxes and some fees, but it instead took a higher percentage from its New York City drivers using the full fare before accounting for sales taxes and fees, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news.

Uber usually takes a 25 percent commission from U.S. drivers under a November 2014 nationwide driver agreement, the report said.

The company could pay drivers back at least $45 million, averaging at about $900 per driver, the Journal reported.

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Uber CEO Travis Kalanick speaks to students during an interaction at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) campus in Mumbai, India, January 19, 2016.

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Uber CEO Travis Kalanick gestures as he addresses a gathering during a conference of start-up businesses in New Delhi, India, January 16, 2016.

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Chief Executive Officer of Uber Travis Kalanick and Gabi Holzwarth arrive at the Google, HBO and the Smithsonian?s American Art Museum ?Celebration of Creativity? cocktail party to celebrate the White House Correspondents' Association dinner weekend in Washington, U.S., April 29, 2016.

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Uber CEO Travis Kalanick attends the summer World Economic Forum in Tianjin, China, June 26, 2016.

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India?s Minister of Law and Information and Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad shakes hands with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick before the start of their meeting in New Delhi, India, December 15, 2016.

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Uber Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Travis Kalanick works with fourth graders during Cooking Matters, a nutrition class taught by 18 Reasons, a local partner of Share our Strength at Glen Park Elementary School in San Francisco, California, December 10, 2014.

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Uber Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Travis Kalanick (2nd R) works with fourth graders during Cooking Matters, a nutrition class taught by 18 Reasons, a local partner of Share our Strength at Glen Park Elementary School in San Francisco, California, December 10, 2014.

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Dieter Zetsche, chief executive officer of Daimler AG, left, and Travis Kalanick, billionaire and chief executive officer of Uber Technologies Inc., listen before speaking during the Noah technology conference in Berlin, Germany, on Wednesday, June 8, 2016. The conference, one of the tech industry's premier events, was launched in 2009 and runs June 8-9.

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Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of US transportation company Uber Travis Kalanick at an event in New Delhi.

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Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to U.S. President Barack Obama, left, speaks as Travis Kalanick, billionaire and chief executive officer of Uber Technologies Inc., listens during the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) at Stanford University in Stanford, California, U.S., on Thursday, June 23, 2016. The annual event brings together entrepreneurs from around the world for 3 days of networking, workshops and conferences.

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Travis Kalanick, billionaire and chief executive officer of Uber Technologies Inc., looks on during the Noah technology conference in Berlin, Germany, on Wednesday, June 8, 2016. The conference, one of the tech industry's premier events, was launched in 2009 and runs June 8-9.

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Uber founder Travis Kalanick attends 'Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology', the 2016 Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 02, 2016 in New York, New York.

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"We are committed to paying every driver every penny they are owed - plus interest - as quickly as possible," Rachel Holt, Uber's regional general manager for U.S. and Canada, said via email.

All New York City drivers under the 2014 agreement would be eligible for a refund, regardless of whether they are still active or not, as long as they completed an Uber ride, the Journal report said.

In January, Uber agreed to pay $20 million to settle claims by the U.S. government that it exaggerated prospective earnings in seeking to recruit drivers and that it downplayed the costs of buying or leasing a car.

Uber has been hit with a number of setbacks lately, including accusations of sexual harassment from a former female employee and a video showing Chief Executive Travis Kalanick harshly berating an Uber driver. (Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal and Sangameswaran S in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar)

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