While Uber does not explicitly lay out this policy, a passenger can cancel a request for a ride with a driver who has less than 5 stars if it is made five minutes after the request. After five minutes, passengers will incur a cancellation fee of about $10 — the price varies slightly by location — to compensate the driver for his or her time. On uberPOOL trips, where passengers share a ride and split the cost, riders may be charged a fee if they cancel their ride after getting matched with a driver no matter the time frame.
Uber in the United States did not provide an outline on how drivers receive their current number of stars, but Uber's Melbourne site notes that drivers should aim to receive 4.6 stars or more. Uber can ask a driver to come into the office so they can receive "tailored feedback" if their rating falls below the average, which varies by location.
When a driver's rating is consistently below average, drivers may lose access to the Uber Partner app. Passengers are also prompted to provide specific feedback about a range of options regarding their ride, such as the state of the car's cleanliness, the driver's attitude and professionalism, and the efficiency of the driver's route choice.
Actions listed as unacceptable on the Uber platform include inappropriate behavior, contacting a rider, accepting cash, driving in the wrong vehicle and calling a rider for a destination.
Despite these features, Uber officials stressed during the conference call that Dalton's track record did not exhibit any warning signs.
Ed Davis, a former Boston police commissioner who sits on Uber's safety advisory board, said, "A background check is just that — it does not foresee the future."
— CNBC's Dan Mangan contributed to this report.