Woman stunned by $189 Uber ride bill - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Woman stunned by $189 Uber ride bill

More and more of us are using Uber to get a ride around town.

You don't have to worry about parking fees or drinking too much and then driving home.
But one Northern Kentucky woman got a big surprise in her Uber bill, and it's something you need to know about, if you haven't used the service before.

Thought it Would be Cheaper

Stephanie Korte didn't want to drive downtown. So she and two friends opted for Uber.

"All the hype is that it's less than a cab," Korte said. "So let's go ahead and do this. That way we don't have to worry about parking, we don't have to worry about drinking, we can just get there and get home...perfect."

Their ride downtown cost $30. But when the bill for her ride home popped up on her phone, "I almost fell over," she said.

The return trip was more than 5 times higher.

"I opened the receipt the next day, and it was $189," she said.

Not Aware of Peak Time Surcharge

Korte -- like a lot of Uber novices --was not aware of how its prices can soar during peak demand times.

When you climb into the passenger seat of that van or car you're going to take, you should have a rough idea of what the ride will cost you, thanks to the Uber app, which estimates your fare.

But watch for something called "surge pricing," where an average $27 to $47 dollar fare could be one and a half times higher during rush hour, according to Uber's website.

On New Year's Eve -- or after a concert or big game -- it can be as much as 6 times higher, depending on demand, which is what happened to Korte.

"They'll let you know there's going to be a surcharge, but they won't actually tell you what it will be," she said.

Her phone did explain there would be a "surge pricing" charge, but she clicked OK not realizing how much of a surcharge it would be at that moment.

Reason for Higher Fare
We checked with Uber, which explains the reason for this fee:  "Without surge pricing, you have the taxi problem: No taxis available," the company explains. "By raising the price you increase the number of cars on the road. During times of peak demand, when there are not enough drivers on the system, fares increase in real time to incentivize more drivers to come onto the platform."

To learn more about how to avoid the surcharge, read below or check their section on the Uber website. 

Korte understands that but wonders who is really going to do the math after a night out on the town.

Good news: Uber has agreed to refund part of Korte's $189 fare, since she didn't quite understand the surcharge policy.
But she says she's going to be very careful using it during busy times in the future.

However, you travel, don't waste your money.

Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.

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Here are some tips for users about getting around during times of peak demand:

  • Surprises aren’t for everyone. That’s why we’ll always notify you in BIG, BOLD print if surge pricing is in effect and ask you to manually type in the higher multiple before you can request a ride.
  • Enter your drop off location and tap “Fare Quote” to get an estimate of the cost of your ride.
  • Get notified when surge drops. What goes up must come down and you’ll always be in the know with Surge Drop . 
  • Here’s how it works:
  • Tap the “NOTIFY ME IF SURGE ENDS” button.
  • Confirm you’d like us to send you a Push Notification if surge drops.
  • Stick around or start saying your goodbyes; the choice is yours.

Copyright 2015 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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