I recently wrote about how Uber is no longer disclosing when surge price is going on. So you now pay Uber surge pricing without realizing it.
The upside is that Uber discloses the entire price of your ride ahead of time. You won’t be surprised when the ride ends because you know upfront how much it will cost.
In essence, you are agreeing to the fare now instead of agreeing to the rate.
But that fare isn’t 100% guaranteed. A reader’s recent experience highlights how Uber drivers can adjust that fare afterward.
She took a late night Uber ride, and the Uber driver didn’t follow his app’s instructions.
He made a wrong turn that took him way out off the path.
You can see the first detour in the original receipt below.
Closer to the destination (which I blocked out for privacy reasons), the Uber driver took another wrong turn. This wrong turn put him on the wrong end of the one-way street the rider lives on.
He hemmed and hawed about being on the wrong end of the street, so the rider finally offered to get out there and just walk to her building from the car.
He then asked if she was going to give him a low-star rating since he didn’t follow the Uber app instructions and she said that she just wanted to get home.
She received the receipt above afterwards.
The next day, she looked at the actual receipt she received in her email and realized there was a discrepancy.
The fare was suddenly higher. As she read through the receipt, she saw the message “your fare reflects the time and distance you traveled rather than the destination you entered”.
This means something specific. The Uber driver reported that she requested to be dropped off in a different location from the one she originally inputted. This makes her initial quoted fare invalid, and instead bases the fare on the miles driven (plus whatever the surge happens to be–none in this case).
There are two things wrong with this in this specific situation:
- Her trip was much longer due to the Uber driver not following his app
- She got out of the car at a different destination because the Uber driver brought her to the wrong destination
Ultimately, she contacted Uber and explained the situation. Luckily, they can see the route the driver took and refunded the difference in fare. If she didn’t pay attention to this, she would have had a big Uber overcharge.
What this means for you
Make sure your emailed receipts match the fares you saw on your phone. If they don’t, try to figure out why they don’t match.
In this specific case, her issue had a quick fix, but she had to notice there was a problem first.
If your driver takes a strange route or subtly suggests you leave the car a little early, be especially vigilant.
This is the good thing about being quoted a fare ahead of time. When a driver takes you out of your way, you aren’t paying extra for that distance. The only way a driver can get you to pay more is to mark you as going to a different destination–which is what the driver did in this case.
Uber will fix this issue for you. You just need to make sure you notice it in the first place.
Edit: I just want to edit to clarify that some drivers might not realize what they are doing when they report a different drop off location. From the whole story in this specific situation, I’m more hesitant to give this specific driver credit, but it is possible that drivers will do this without realizing it will charge you more.