It's not unusual for companies to take advantage of New Year's Eve revellers by charging inflated prices - but one Uber customer has been hit with a massive A$213 fare for a ride home.
Uber, the app-based car service, has come under fire for charging more than three times the normal fare for a ride home on New Year's Eve
Customer Jade Wilkes was shocked when she woke up on January 1st to discover she had fallen victim to the ridiculous price hike.
Ms Wilkes booked a 14km ride from Sydney's CBD to Coogee, a ride which she claims normally costs A$35, only a fraction of the A$213 she was charged in the early hours of January 1st.
The app, which connects people with available drivers in their area, warned Ms Wilkes that the fare would be calculated at 3.1 times the normal rate, reported The Sydney Morning Herald.
She accepted the fare multiple at 2am after entering her starting point, but despite the company's promise of "no surprises", was not provided with an estimated price.
"The [surge pricing notice] just came up without my having to enter a destination, so I didn't have a fare estimate," Ms Wilkes said.
The app requires a credit card on file for cashless payment. It only provided her with a receipt at the end of the trip.
Jade Wilkes has taken aim at Uber over the incident. Photo / Jade Wilkes
"It said at the bottom of the email that the normal fare was $68.90, but I made the same journey for $35 in a taxi today," she said.
Labeling the fare for the 23-minute journey "ridiculous", Ms Wilkes contacted the driver of the car only to be told that any issues with the fare had to be taken up with the company.
Ms Wilkes sent an email to the company, but so far has reportedly not achieved a resolution.
Uber previously came under fire for offering inflated rates for lifts home from Sydney's CBD during the Martin Place siege, with customers reporting fares of more than A$100.
The company, which launched in Sydney in 2012, warned potential customers of peak periods over New Years Eve, recommending split fares and car shares for revelers to get home safely without breaking the bank.
The company's website encourages customers to be aware of their estimated fare before accepting rides, stating: "Surprises aren't for everyone. That's why we'll always notify you in BIG, BOLD print if surge pricing is in effect and ask you to manually type in the higher multiple before you can request a ride.
"Enter your drop off location and tap "Fare Quote" to get an estimate of the cost of your ride."
However, Ms Wilkes said she never received the estimate, and would have rethought her travel options had she known how much her trip would cost.
"I told them that I wasn't given a cost estimate when I got in, and I never would have gotten into the car if I'd known it would be that much. I would have taken a taxi. I mean, that's basically the cost of a flight," she said.
- Daily Mail