SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Uber surge pricing has taken on a whole new meaning for one woman trying to get to Manhattan one snowy March morning.
Gothamist reports that Uber rider Jamie Hessel received an email that the company tried to charge her $12,000 for one single ride that should have cost about $40.
And the ride was less than pleasant, let alone efficient. Hessel claims her driver was paying more attention to his voicemail than GPS, resulting in missed turns, slammed brakes and driving in a bus lane to add unnecessary time — and money — to the trip.
Over email, she successfully contested the final fare from $56.40 down to $40. But what happened next came as a major shock.
“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?”
A distraught Hessel shot back a series of emails to Uber asking for an immediate solution or she’d report the company to the Better Business Bureau.
Uber did not immediately return CBS SF’s calls for comment, but according to Mashable, the incident was a “human error.”
In the end, Hessel got an apology and a complete refund for what was nothing more than a glitch.
Uber is notorious for “surge pricing” during high-demand travel times. At last year’s Outside Lands music festival, Uber riders reported rates skyrocketing to five times the normal amount. It was a similar story during the powerful storm that rocked the Bay Area last December.
Days later Uber was hit with more criticism after users reported a spike in fares around a hostage situation in downtown Sydney, Australia, which the company later apologized for.