Uber is having a rough year, what with the tales of harassment and the corporate shakeups and the most recent “paying a 20-year-old hacker $100,000 to destroy the stolen personal information of 57 million customers before it leaked” situation.

If Uber was hoping to end the year on a more positive note, a story like this one probably won’t help: a rider in Toronto claims he was charged more than $18,000 for a short trip.

The trip reportedly occurred in Toronto, and was shared by Instagram user votethehish, whose account is private. Emily Kennard (@emilykennard) shared a screenshot on Twitter of the ride in question, and the almost unbelievable billing result:

The trip in question, from 12a Widmer St. to 30 The Queensway, is only about five miles in total, and according to an estimate via Uber’s official tool, as of this afternoon an UberX ride for that route would be projected to cost $12-$16.

via Uber.com

Surge pricing that increases cost 1000x would seem to be a very poor business model for, well, anything. For Uber, forcing customers to play a lottery wherein they might end up on the hook for a charge in excess of what it would cost to just buy a car and make the trip themselves seems especially ridiculous.

Kennard vouched for the authenticity of the claim, and also noted that as of now, Uber was sticking with the disputed fare:

This sort of thing has happened before, but typically Uber will refund customers, and has even done so for surge pricing that the rider maybe should have been aware of. This one is harder to understand.

We reached out to Uber for comment, but have not received a reply. This post will be updated if Uber does respond.



An Uber spokeswoman confirmed this did happen, but says the company has issued a full refund.

“There was a an error and we have provided a full refund. We sincerely apologize to this rider for his experience.
“We have safeguards in place to help prevent something like this from happening and we are working to understand how this occurred.”

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a writer and editor for The Comeback, and a contributor at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer.

  • Rick

    I’d love to hear their explanation for why they initially denied the refund. The guy who was charged $18k posted a paragraph-long reply from Uber where they explain in detail why the charge was legit. It’s fucked up that the only way to get justice is shaming companies through social media

    • BruceWayne

      Exactly. It took a damn news article for Uber to refund the guy.

  • P00p Me Not

    I stopped working with Uber because it became impossible to communicate with anyone there (and the ridiculously low fares.) Their ’employee support’ folks would read the first sentence or two of my message, assume they know what its about, then shoot back some canned response that had nothing to do with my issue… after the 7th time I would have to state in the beginning of the message “Please read the entire message…”

    I wouldn’t be surprise if no one at Uber paused long enough to REALLY read this customer’s complaint. It was most likely processed along with the thousands of other messages of people complaining about $1.80 surge charge.

  • Unknown

    Is this a real thing ? wow !