On November 1 — her birthday — 26-year-old Gabrielle Wathen awoke to find a $362 charge on her card from Uber for her 20 minute ride the previous night. Oh good, just in time for rent day.
Wathen, who works three jobs, posted a desperate plea for help to GoFundMe…and raised $573 from strangers!
The GoFundMe campaign has since been taken down, but on it, Wathen wrote:
Last night was Halloween. Great time. Today is my 26th birthday. Not so great time. I live in Baltimore and went out with my friends to celebrate my birthday at midnight. When 3 AM rolled around, I suggested we take an Uber hole to avoid drunk driving (#responsibility/#MADD). I live 22 minutes , tops, from the party I was leaving.
When I awoke this morning, I heard a friend talking about how outrageous Uber rates were the night before (9x original rate). I checked my bank account too, unbeknownst to me, I see a charge for $362. Not only is it my 26th birthday, it is rent day. My rent is $450 and I can no longer pay it today due to this completely outrageous charge.
I have had little to no luck in disputing this transaction.
I waitress at two restaurants and freelance for a City Paper. I worked incredibly hard this week to be able to enjoy my birthday this weekend. This misunderstanding has cost me 80% of the funds I have to my name (embarrassingly so) and I spent a good two hours of my birthday crying over it.
I feel taken advantage of and cheated by the Uber name. $367 for a 20 minute ride should never be justified, even on Halloween. Please donate even just $1 if you think this is utter and complete bullshit and also hilarious and very, very depressing at the same time.
Thanks for the ride, Muhammed.
Uber later responded, saying that any surge pricing is confirmed before the ride arrives…
Uber ensures a safe, reliable ride, wherever and whenever, and dynamic pricing allows us to remain the reliable choice, even on the busiest nights of the year. Our in-app features ensure dynamic pricing is repeatedly communicated and approved before any trip is confirmed.
And yet, 9x surge pricing is still absolutely ridiculous. Finding a reliable way home isn’t always easy (especially for young women), and sometimes we have to spend a little more than we’d like to ensure our safety. But $362 for a 20 minute car ride is beyond insane!
Good for Gabrielle for crowd-sourcing her Uber fare. You go, Glen Coco.