Jaime Hessel—like so many of us—was just trying to get to Manhattan.
It was winter. It was snowing. Hessel, with a full understanding of surge pricing, called for an UberX ride to take her from Williamsburg to Midtown East. After a hellish ride into the city, her bill came out to $56.40. So why is Uber now trying to charge her over $12,000?
Here’s Hessel’s experience, as told to Gothamist:
Hessel told us by phone this morning that her driver seemed distracted from the get-go. “The guy picked me up, and he just sat there for a little bit. Maybe for five minutes or so.”
At first, he followed the GPS, and took the correct right turn on to Meeker Avenue. However, he soon started taking phone calls and checking his voicemail, and, according to Hessel, ignoring the directions. “I’m paying attention to his GPS, and I’m very familiar with the area, and I see him go right by McGuinness, and I’m really curious how he’s going to get to 50th Street.” Hessel estimates that the missed turn added an addition seven minutes to the trip. Still, “The driver was fine at that point. He wasn’t even hostile or frustrated.”
Things got more hairy on the second approach to McGuinness. Hessel alleges that the driver missed his turn again, and continued straight onto the BQE ramp. She recalled, “He slams on his breaks and he stops in the middle of the ramp, and puts his car in reverse.” According to Hessel’s account, she had to repeatedly urge the driver to get out of reverse and continue in the direction of traffic. The rest of the ride was punctuated with lane cutting, both while exiting the Pulaski Bridge and Midtown Tunnel.
By the end of the trip, “The driver was driving in the bus lane to make up for lost time. I had him drop me off a block away from the bar because I didn’t want to be in the car anymore. I felt very unsafe.” Asked why she didn’t get out of the car sooner, Hessel admitted, “I felt stupid because I stuck with it.”
The ride came out to $56.40, a charge Hessel immediately contested because the driver had behaved so erratically and added extra time onto her trip. She contacted Uber and they agreed with her, offering to refund $15.
Smashcut to April 20, 2015 when Hessel still hadn’t received her refund. (The credit card that she used to pay for the ride expired April 1.) Adding insult to injury (or injury to insult), she then discovered that Uber, for reasons unknown, was trying to charge $12,142.49 on her expired card.
“I received two e-mails yesterday. One about the status of my credit saying it should be there, it’s been processed,” she told Gothamist. “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?”
So far, Hessel has gotten no definite answer from the company despite her several attempts to contact them.
Stick to yellow cabs, friends.
Image via MAHATHIR MOHD YASIN/Shutterstock.com
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.