GOLDEN, Colo. — A Denver man got a very unpleasant surprise when he realized how much he had been charged for an 18-mile trip via Uber on Halloween, KDVR reports.
“Me and my bank account got taken for a ride last night,” said Elliott Asbury.
After leaving a Halloween party in Golden on Halloween, Asbury knew getting home wouldn’t be cheap. He had no idea, however, just how much he would end up paying for the trip.
“I was expecting $44, $50, $60, $100 on the outside,” he said.
When he arrived at his destination, the driver pulled up the price for the trip on his phone and it added up to $539.
“[The driver] was shocked, he was embarrassed actually,” Asbury told KDVR. “He gave me his card and he was like, ‘Make phone calls. Get in touch with customer service. This can’t be right.'”
According to Uber though, the total was correct. On busy nights, Uber uses something called “dynamic pricing,” also known as “surge pricing.” It multiplies fares as a way to quell demand and attract a greater supply of drivers.
The surge at the time multiplied Asbury’s normal fare more than seven times, but he said he didn’t realize what that would do to his total fare.
“You just wouldn’t stand there and be like, ‘Hmm, is this maybe going to cost me half a grand to get home?’” Asbury said.
Asbury’s huge fare was also due to his inexperience with the app. He mistakenly requested a premium, Black Car instead of a cheaper UberX ride because he didn’t see the options or understand the difference. He also didn’t spot an option to estimate his fare.
Asbury said he has learned his lesson and told KDVR he has some advice for anyone else planning to use Uber during a similar surge.
“Don’t bother man,” Asbury said. “Rent a helicopter.”