I was visiting Hyderabad after a few years last week and on the way back to the airport, I decided to hire an Uber since it was cheaper than Meru and others.
After the ride, the price seemed a bit steeper than what I expected, Upon looking deeper into the fare, I saw this 90 rupee toll charge which didn’t make any sense to me. I have lived in Hyderabad for around 4 years and also know the areas pretty well, there is only 1 toll on the route and nothing else. The driver only paid a toll of 30 rupees but I was still charged 90 rupees as the toll by the Uber app.
Now it isn’t really about odd 60 rupees on this 1 trip, but imagine that Uber is making thousands of trips everyday to the airport and possibly cheating riders of lakhs of rupees everyday. For me its also about principle, I don’t want to give Uber or the driver more money than what is due to them. You can find a screenshot with the excess toll highlighted in the screenshot below. My trip was from Radisson in Hitech to the Airport.
I immediately wrote off an email to Uber asking for a breakup of the toll charged to me and an explanation of the charges. I got canned/copy-paste responses explaining to me what tolls were and the fact that Uber collects them but nothing that would actually tell me what the 90 rupees were for. After 4 tries, I decided to invoke the Uber Twitter team to help out in the matter. Usually social media has better teams assisting on issues. Upon escalation on Twitter, I finally got someone who is half competent to respond to my query and the response was funny, apparently Uber thinks I exited and re-entered the 1 straight road from Gachibowli to the Airport 4 times.
Now it doesn’t take a genius to see that multiple roads are repeated above, basically 4 permutations of reaching from Gachibowli to the Airport. I responded on twitter on how this is obviously incorrect and am waiting to hear back. The toll combination doesn’t even pass the sniff test for coherence.
Additionally, armed with this extra information, I wrote off to the Uber support in the app telling them how obviously the toll charged is incorrect. Here is when things get surreal and funny. The Uber support folks thought I was the driver and not the rider. They actually told me to keep the extra toll money and forget about overcharging the customer. Wow ! So they just realized they cheated a customer and they are telling their driver to keep mum instead of refunding the extra money to the rider. You cannot make this shit up.
We are therefore not making any adjustments so that you can keep the higher fare you received.
I had heard Uber had questionable ethics as a company, but this is beyond ridiculous, instead of admitting a mistake in their platform and refunding the excess money charged to a customer, not only are they making me run around and spend more money and effort on this than its worth. But they are also asking the driver to keep the extra dough and not worry about it being illegitimate gains. Had they refunded me and told the driver to keep the money, it would have been different, but they actually just cheated me in the process.
Lets ensure it reaches to the people who matter in the company so that the software issues are fixed and money is refunded to everyone who has been overcharged by Uber due to this toll calculation issue.
Update 1 – 27 March 2017
Till date I have received 8 useless responses from 1st level customer service giving me uninteresting facts about Uber’s service. Their 1st level customer service is seriously messed up.
Update 2 – 27 March 2017
Uber employees are now just closing tickets without responding (actually responding with a ‘M’) and pleas to escalate to supervisors have been ignored.
Update 3 – 29 March 2017
So this really blew up, the site is slammed since yesterday with a ton of traffic coming from Ycombinator and Twitter and Facebook and Reddit. Thanks to everyone who shared this post. One of my friend’s who works in Uber also internally escalated this and we got partial resolution. The toll charges were in fact refunded to me but Uber continues to deny that they did anything wrong. They now claim that some hidden charges are there which every driver is paying. I have asked for a clarification on what that means since clearly there was no other money paid by the driver in the journey. I am yet to hear back on that, also no word on why the driver was asked to keep the money when support thought he was telling them they overcharged the customer or why support itself admitted due to technical issues extra toll was collected.
In conclusion, the image of Uber I had has been shattered even further, the site’s support team seems like a bunch of high school kids who don’t know what they are doing, there is no internal or external escalation mechanism in the company and the right hand doesn’t know what the left is doing. I have zero faith that the actual issue due to which the toll was incorrect would be resolved.
If I receive a response to obvious inconsistencies in Uber’s chain of events, I will update the post again. Thanks for all the support folks.