Beware: surge pricing on Uber can rise to absurd levels during peaks of extreme demand. One young man found out the hard way.
Horror Story: 23X Surge Pricing On Uber
Matt Bennett, a teenage plumbing apprentice, was returning from his neighborhood pub in Nottingham, England. He wisely chose to take Uber instead of drive himself. The fare between the pub and his house is normally £4-7.
When he woke up the next morning, though, he found a receipt in his email inbox…for £111. Yes, his ride home surged 23x the normal level, the equivalent of $143.
What could possibly have caused such surge pricing? At the time, a 10:00pm curfew was in place in England. With all bars and restaurants closing at the same time, a sudden surge in demand was to be expected. 23x normal levels? Perhaps unreasonable, but not totally out of the realm of possibility.
Bennett deputed the fare in his app then called up Uber to complain. Uber was unsympathetic, noting the curfew that led to the surge in pricing. Bennett insisted that he was not made aware of the surge pricing or that his fare could possibility have approached anything close to that level.
I tend to think Bennett may have been a bit tipsy and failed to notice the surge pricing or saw it, assumed it would not be that bad, and accepted it. Nevertheless, his misfortunate serves as a great reminder to us to study closely the proposed pricing before accepting a ride.
After The Sun reached out to Uber, Uber refunded the kid his full fare. Uber noted:
“We are always happy to review a trip if there are concerns about the route taken, and provide a fare adjustment where appropriate.
“In this case, we apologize that we did not meet our usual high standards of customer care, and the customer has been refunded.”
I do not think that was necessary at all. Surge pricing does indeed mean surge pricing…even if the fare jumps to 23x the normal level. But do check your app before you hit confirm…lest you too wind up with an unexpectedly high bill.
Do you have an Uber surge pricing horror story?