Oops! Uber charged a rider more than $14,000 for a 20-minute journey

how to delete your uber account
Prathan Chorruangsak / Shutterstock
It’s fair to say that 2017 has been something of an annus horribilis for Uber.

From damaging employee allegations and rider protests to accusations of “calculated theft” and a battle to retain its license in one of its biggest markets — not to mention a massive data breach cover-up and the ousting of its founder Travis Kalanick as CEO — 2017 will be a year to forget for the ridesharing giant.

With just a couple of weeks left to run, Uber may have been hoping to keep a low profile for the rest of this year, but it’s not to be.

An embarrassing hiccup with its fare system may not be its biggest disaster of the last 12 months, but for one rider it was nevertheless an alarming experience.

Toronto-based Hisham Salama recently took a 5-mile ride that lasted around 20 minutes, a journey for which you’d normally expect to pay around $10. Uber, however, charged an eye-watering 18,518.50 Canadian dollars, equivalent to about $14,400 in the United States.

In what appeared to be surge pricing gone nuts, Salama told Vice that upon learning of the exorbitant fare, his initial reaction was “to just laugh, because I thought it was probably just an error.”

But 20 minutes later, he decided to check his credit card “to make sure everything was OK.” It wasn’t.

More alarmingly, an Uber customer service representative told Salama that based on the ride data, the fare was correct.

The absurd feedback from Uber prompted Salama to share the bizarre story on social media, which eventually led to him receiving a full refund. The resolution of course came as a big relief, but Salama was concerned about the initial response and how much effort it took to settle the issue.

In a statement to Slate, Uber finally admitted there had been a mistake. “There was an error here and it has been resolved,” a spokesperson said. “We have provided a full refund to this rider and apologized to him for this experience. We have safeguards in place to help prevent something like this from happening, and we are working to understand how this occurred.”

A slightly clearer explanation about what happened came from the Canadian Press: “Uber says the ride in question took place in a traditional taxi cab signed up to the ridehailing service — an option available to customers in Toronto — and that the driver made a mistake when entering the details of the fare into his cab’s meter.”

If nothing else, the story is a useful reminder to periodically check your bank and credit card records to ensure there are no weird shenanigans taking place without you realizing.

Cars

Automakers are spending billions on self-driving technology people are afraid of

Automakers are spending billions of dollars on developing the technology that will power self-driving cars, but research shows consumers have no interest in giving up control. Will they ever recoup their investment?
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Gaming

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Mobile

iPad Air vs. iPad Mini: Which new tablet from Apple is best for you?

Apple has unveiled two new iPad models, including a new iPad Air and a new iPad Mini. Both devices have a lot to offer. But which iPad is right for your needs? We put the iPad Air and iPad Mini to the test to find out.
Deals

The best Apple AirPods alternatives for Android, Windows, and iOS devices

Apple AirPods, nice as they are, aren't the only game in town. Other makers are offering their own truly wireless earbuds, and if you're looking to buy a pair of high-end in-ear headphones, we've got the best AirPod alternatives on the…
Mobile

Even older Apple Watches could be effective at spotting heart conditions

The Apple Watch Series 4 is known for detecting heart conditions like atrial fibrillation thanks to having an electrocardiograph feature. It turns out that older Apple Watches could be effective at tracking AFib, too.
Mobile

The Black Shark 2’s Ludicrous Mode promises the smoothest mobile gaming

Xiaomi-backed Black Shark has a follow-up to last year's Black Shark gaming phone, complete with high specs and a low price. Here's everything we know about the Black Shark 2 gaming phone.
Deals

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for March 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for March 2018.
Deals

Amazon drops price on Apple Watch Series 4 with a rare deal

Since Apple first unveiled the Series 4, the price for one has pretty much held fast. This has finally started to change with a nice little $15 discount on Amazon. If you've been wanting the newest Apple Watch, now is a great time.
Computing

Sending SMS messages from your PC is easier than you might think

Texting is a fact of life, but what to do when you're in the middle of something on your laptop or just don't have your phone handy? Here's how to send a text message from a computer, whether you prefer to use an email client or Windows 10.
Mobile

Google's midrange Pixels might be called the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are considered to be two of the best Android smartphones, but it looks like Google could be prepping a midrange line. Say hello to the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL.
Gaming

Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs brings 3D demolition into your living room

Angry Birds is releasing its next entry in the spring of 2019 - with a new spin. Bringing 3D environments and destruction, Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs uses augmented reality to add a new dimension to a classic series.
Mobile

Whether by the pool or the sea, make a splash with the best waterproof phones

Whether you're looking for a phone you can use in the bath, or you just want that extra peace of mind, waterproof phones are here and they're amazing. Check out our selection of the best ones you can buy.