Uber Tried to Charge a Passenger $12,000 for Her "Car Ride from Hell"
Gothamist reports on the harrowing tale of a woman who got in an Uber and took the “car ride from Hell” to get from Williamsburg to Midtown East, after which she had to dispute a $12,000 bill for her trouble. Sure, surge pricing was in effect, but she didn’t know it was going to be platinum surge pricing.
Jaime Hessel told Gothamist her trouble started when her Uber driver “just sat there for a little bit. Maybe for five minutes or so,” at the beginning of the ride. His behavior allegedly grew more suspect as her ride continued: he repeatedly missed a turn, then ended up reversing down the BQE onramp, cutting across lanes in the process.
Instead of bailing, she let him take her all the way to Manhattan—she had a charity bar crawl to get to, and the sunk cost fallacy exists—but contacted Uber to complain about how long her ride took and how scary it was.
The company agreed the route for her 35-minute ride was “inefficient”—which is a standard response, even in much scarier situations than this—and agreed to refund her $15 of her $56.40 bill.
Hessel agreed, but the credit card on her Uber account had expired between her March 28 ride and the time the refund was supposed to be issued. That’s when the billing got really weird, somehow turned from a $15 refund to a $16,000 charge.
Here’s how she explained the situation to Gothamist today:
I received two e-mails yesterday. One about the status of my credit saying it should be there, it’s been processed. And then a second e-mail saying they are trying to charge me $16,000, but then $4,000 had already been taken care of, so I owed them $12,000. I couldn’t even tell you what this was about, because I checked my credit cards and there was no charge. I e-mailed them numerous times and they kept giving me the runaround. I was furious. I mean, you can’t give me an explanation?”
In a series of frantic emails she provided to the site, she was able to convince Uber there’d been a mistake—but she worries the enormous charge would have cleared if her card hadn’t expired.
She never gave them a new card number–meaning she’d be out $15, but oh well—and she says she probably won’t use Uber again.
“I don’t know if I’ll use it again,” she told DNAInfo. “Maybe I’ll do it if it’ll be somebody else’s credit card.”
The company has since informed Gothamist that they’re refunding the entire cost of her ride, which sounds like the least they can do under the circumstances.