The first leg of the group’s original 25-mile ride from Culver City to El Monte cost Rumuel and his friends $45. When the time came to return, surge pricing was in effect. But the Uber driver told the passengers that he knew of a way to keep the fare at $150—reaching over and canceling the trip on Rumuel’s phone. Instead of the promised fare, Rumuel was eventually charged $814 for his group’s return.
When the passengers tried to contact the driver about the overcharge, he did not answer their phone calls.
In a surprise twist, Uber eventually cancelled the upcharges for this trip. But the issue of whether or not Uber drivers will attempt to negotiate the fare with passengers is a key concern. Here it appears the Uber driver pretended to negotiate with the passengers—only to stick them with surge pricing in the end.
However, the question of whether Uber drivers will negotiate with passengers—maybe arranging a cash trip that’s cheaper for the passengers and more lucrative for the driver—remains a central safety concern. Uber has admitted these type deals—done outside of the Uber platform—will not be covered by the company’s insurance policy.
‘Who’s Driving You?’ believes most Uber passengers have no idea such cash trips will be completely uncovered by insurance. So, the fact that Uber drivers and passengers are negotiating is the story within this usual story of price-gouging.