AN UBER user says she was charged nearly £120 for an eight-mile journey after the driver took her on a 43-mile round trip via another county.
Kay Fuller, 37, used her Uber app to book a car for herself and a friend following a night out in Waterloo, South London, on Saturday. She set a destination of Sevenoaks, Kent, where her friend lived, and planned to jump out en route in Penge, just eight miles away.
However, her companion decided to stay in London so when the Toyota Prius cab arrived at 12.40am, Fuller says she told the driver she’d only needed to go to Penge, not Sevenoaks.
According to Fuller, the driver claimed he’d need to charge for the full fare, which was quoted at £68.90.
She said she has, in other similar situations, changed the destination via her app, but was given the impression that doing that wasn’t an option on this occasion.
She told Driving.co.uk: “Thinking about it now, I should have said, ‘Forget it, I’m going to get out [of the car] now,’ and I would have got a £5 charge [for a cancelled booking].
“You don’t think of those things at the time, when someone is telling you what’s got to happen. Once you’re in the taxi and it’s started moving, you take [the driver’s word] as gospel, so I just went with it.”
“It could have been anyone, and anything could have happened”
Soon after the car set off, Fuller fell asleep. She awoke as the car arrived at her house, only to find that it was 2:46am – more than two hours after she had been picked up.
“I was like, ‘Why is it so late?’ From Waterloo to my house is a 20-minute journey.
“I knew it was late, but couldn’t really believe it at the time.”
What Fuller didn’t spot until later on Sunday was her receipt for £119.10 – over £50 more than she had been expecting to pay.
“I could see when I checked the next day, on the route, he took me all the way to Sevenoaks and then all the way back to my house. If the other passenger had taken the trip, the journey would have ended at the furthest destination.
“But no, instead of that, he had the cheek to get the extra fare for his journey back into London. So he basically charged me double. It just didn’t need to happen.”
Fuller filed a complaint and asked for a refund for the difference between the original quoted fare and the final charge, but was told by the customer support team that the driver “needs to be compensated fairly for fulfiling [sic] the trip request.”
“I was so angry,” said Fuller. “It could have been anyone, and anything could have happened. I was asleep.”
Writing on Facebook, Fuller described a feeling of “violation” and even “kidnap” over what she sees as unfair charging and abuse of a passenger in a vulnerable situation.
A spokesperson for Uber UK & Ireland told Driving.co.uk:
“We have spoken to the driver. He has told us that he was only aware the passenger wanted to go to Penge when he woke her up at the destination in Sevenoaks. So he took her back to Penge.
“He simply went to the original address the passenger had entered into the app and wasn’t aware this was not correct until they got there.”
He added: “Ms Fuller is correct; you can change the destination address in the app when on a trip – however, that wasn’t done in this case.”
Fuller insists that she clearly remembers telling the driver where she lived as soon as she got in the car, and was not reminded that she could change the destination on the app.
She said: “I knew they’d say I said something else. My word against his isn’t it?
“They’re saying the driver needs to be fairly compensated, but actually, I think that that’s an abuse of a vulnerable situation – for a huge company to say that it’s OK to drive me around, when I didn’t agree to it.”