BAIT AND SWITCH PRACTICES WITH UBER

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Dec 20, 2020
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  • I HIRED AN UBER FROM LAX TO MY HOME IN HOLLYWOOD, CA. THE TIME WAS 7:21PM ON 11/17/20.
  • ON THE UBER APP THE CAR I CHOSE WAS LIST TO BE BETWEEN $25-35.
  • THE APP THEN ASKED TO APPROVE THE RIDE.
  • THE MOMENT I APPROVED THE RIDE FOR THE PRICE RANGE LISTED, THE COST JUMPED TO $97.04.
  • 3 TIMES THE PRICE ORIGINALLY QUOTED .
  • THIS FARE OBVIOUSLY DID NOT REFLECT THE UPFRONT PRICE AS SHOWN.
  • USUALLY THE "SURGE" PRICE IS INITIALLY LISTED UPFRONT. IT WAS NOT.
  • I WAS STUCK HAVING TO TAKE THE RIDE.
  • IT WAS A BAIT AND SWITCH.
  • I COMPLAINED TO UBER ON THEIR APP AND ASKED FOR A REFUND. THEY ONLY GAVE ME "UBER CREDIT" OF $24.30. ANOTHER "BAIT AND SWITCH", TO GET ME TO USE IBER AGAIN INSTEAD OF THE CREDIT CARD REFUND AS I REQUESTED.
  • ISN'T "BAIT AND SWITCH" ILLEGAL?
  • I CALLED THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU FOR LOS ANGELES AND THEY SAID THAT UBER NEVER RESPONSE TO THEM AND I SHOULD FILE A COMPLAINT AT THE STATE LEVEL.
ANYONE HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS ON A BETTER RESOLUTION? I AM A SENIOR ON A FIXED INCOME. FOR THE $97.04 THEY CHARGED ME, I COULD HAVE HIRED A STRETCH LIMO. I AM NOT IN THE FINANCIAL STATE TO EAT THAT COST AND ACCEPT THEIR UBER CREDIT.
 
Aug 29, 2018
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First, I should note that I am not a fan of Uber, for reasons not related to their service -- I prefer to use Lyft.

That said, these apps usually have the ability to cancel a ride after requesting one. Could you have canceled when the price jumped and sought a less expensive alternative?

You could attempt to write a request to Uber, the customer contact are here: https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/uber/

Some suggestions: Do not write in all-caps, many would interpret that as yelling. Remove references to "Bait and switch," just stick to the facts.
 

Skippy

May 30, 2019
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Yes, with Uber (and Lyft) fares can change quickly. It's happened to me on multiple occasions @ JFK. I won't go into why or how, but note that it happens.

You were not stuck having to take the tide. At the time of the transaction, you could have canceled the ride. There is a grace period of 2-5 minutes for that. (That's what I do @ JFK.) Then, you could take a taxi. To my recollection, taxis at LAX accept credit cards. A typical cab from LAX to W Hollywood is ~$45 + tip. To get a stretch limo for that route for < $100 would be, IMHO, stretching it a bit.

Sadly, this is not illegal because you have an opt-out method at the time and because the app only estimates the cost before you accept.

Can you specify what actions you've taken thus far to get the Uber Credit? That would help to suggest a recommendation for self-advocacy in regards to where to go from here. Noting that, I would suggest that you avoid reinforcing with Uber that you are on a fixed income. There may not be much sympathy for that point to be made for someone needing a ride home from the airport during a pandemic when shuttle services are available, etc.
 
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Dec 19, 2014
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Suggestion #1:
Do not use all capital letters when communicating.

Feedback #2:
You weren't forced to take the ride. You could have cancelled the ride. But when you were quote the $97.04 and then voluntarily got into the ride, it is going to be an uphill battle to try and get the price corrected.

Feedback #3:
The fact that your quote was a price range, means that you were not quoted an exact price. When Uber quotes you a price, it is an exact price. So a $97 rate would indicate a surge price was in effect of 3X-4X. Again, if you were not happy with the quote, you could have canceled the ride, but you opted to take it anyway. You state that you could have taken a stretch limo? Why didn't you opt to do that? I'm no fan of Uber, but you were in no way forced to take the ride.

Suggestion #4:
Write a well worded, professional letter to Uber executives, avoiding using words like "bait and switch" or "illegal." Since you opted to take the ride, I'm not sure you have much leverage, but you never know.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
25,517
27,954
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
Yes, with Uber (and Lyft) fares can change quickly. It's happened to me on multiple occasions @ JFK. I won't go into why or how, but note that it happens.

You were not stuck having to take the tide. At the time of the transaction, you could have canceled the ride. There is a grace period of 2-5 minutes for that. (That's what I do @ JFK.) Then, you could take a taxi. To my recollection, taxis at LAX accept credit cards. A typical cab from LAX to W Hollywood is ~$45 + tip. To get a stretch limo for that route for < $100 would be, IMHO, stretching it a bit.

Sadly, this is not illegal because you have an opt-out method at the time and because the app only estimates the cost before you accept.

Can you specify what actions you've taken thus far to get the Uber Credit? That would help to suggest a recommendation for self-advocacy in regards to where to go from here. Noting that, I would suggest that you avoid reinforcing with Uber that you are on a fixed income. There may not be much sympathy for that point to be made for someone needing a ride home from the airport during a pandemic when shuttle services are available, etc.

Exactly. You had the option of canceling as soon as you saw that price change,

As Skippy said- I’ve seen it happen at JFK as well and I least check Lyft as well as it is usually less expensive than Uber.
 
Dec 20, 2020
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I have not used UBER in quite a long time and I do know that previously when I had considered their service, the surge price was ALWAYS listed upfront in the suggested price range. Not after the fact. I did not see a way to opt out. They had asked me to approve the ride at the range they listed. Obviously UBER has changed their practices. But the $24.30 refund in UBER credit I do not feel is appropriate. I asked them to credit it back to my card and they refused to respond. I know they're probably hurting due to the pandemic, but honestly that's not my problem.
When I went to complain on their app, they actually state to respond to; "My fare doesn't reflect the upfront price I was shown" so it's not a new situation.
Thank you for your input.
 
Dec 20, 2020
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It is still a 'bait and switch" when it's done after the rider has approved the ride regardless of any cancellation ability. UBER has the ability to post the increased price range up front and to refund the credit card, not ambush people into having to use them again with an UBER credit. They're not doing anyone any favors.

It's called customer service.

When a company has NO phone number, limited access to file claims, it's obvious they don't care about their drivers or riders.

My driver told me he get no increase for the overpriced ride. Most of my friends who have drive for them hated their experience for all of these reasons.

They know what they're doing and it's all manipulation. Not an ounce of Customer Service.

When the BBB told me they never receive a response from them from the many claims they receive, or my credit card company, that should tell you something.

When I filed the complaint, they didn't respond to why the increase was not stated up front as they used to do. I wouldn't give them a dime.

The "surge" price was extremely excessive, the way they handle "customer service" and their drivers, none of this should be allowed.
 
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Jun 24, 2019
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Having had this experience, we take a screen shot of the pricce Uber quotes. It has proven useful when we actually get to a human.

We've taken Uber at LAX. And I've had Uber charge time and mileage on a quoted fare. The first two e-mail responses will be that nothing was wrong about what they did. Once we took an Uber in San Francisco on one street from the Wharf to our hotel. Same street. Uber charged time and mileage. We had a screen shot of the original quote and the trip showing a straight line. I believe that took four e-mails to straighten out.
 

BittyBoo

Jul 30, 2018
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Please do not use all capital letters, it is the etiquette equivalent of shouting.

This is not an example of "bait and switch" since you had the option of canceling the ride and using an alternative method of transportation that was less expensive. Surge pricing for ride sharing services is extremely common at airports. Pricing is based on supply and demand and many airport-based drivers will often simultaneously go "unavailable " in order to increase their fares. You appear to have issues with Uber's policies: lack of customer service and the fact that they will only give you a credit on your account, not a refund to your credit card. These are terms and conditions that are provided to you when you establish your account. If you do not agree, you have the option of taking your consumer dollars elsewhere.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
3,319
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Maui Hawaii
Using: https://www.taxifarefinder.com/ the estimated fare from LAX to Hollywood by taxi is ~$65.

You ultimately paid ~$73 ($97-$24) which is not very different. The first price estimate you saw was incorrect (and was an estimate). When you accepted the ride a computer calculated a real price. You did not have to accept that price.

Uber uses dynamic surge pricing with major variations in fares based on time of day and many other factors. There are alternatives to use.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
25,517
27,954
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
If you haven’t used the app in awhile, it’s important to keep up on changes. This surge pricing has been in effect for a long time. There are many factors that determine the surge pricing cost and if there are few drivers in the area that also drives up the actual cost. The app worked as it was designed to. You did have the option to cancel and that is usually shown right on the screen after you accept the ride.

They gave you a goodwill gesture with the credit. In the future, have Lyft on your phone as well so you can compare the two before accepting a ride.
 
Aug 29, 2018
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It is still a 'bait and switch" when it's done after the rider has approved the ride regardless of any cancellation ability. UBER has the ability to post the increased price range up front and to refund the credit card, not ambush people into having to use them again with an UBER credit. They're not doing anyone any favors.

It's called customer service.

When a company has NO phone number, limited access to file claims, it's obvious they don't care about their drivers or riders.

My driver told me he get no increase for the overpriced ride. Most of my friends who have drive for them hated their experience for all of these reasons.

They know what they're doing and it's all manipulation. Not an ounce of Customer Service.

When the BBB told me they never receive a response from them from the many claims they receive, or my credit card company, that should tell you something.

When I filed the complaint, they didn't respond to why the increase was not stated up front as they used to do. I wouldn't give them a dime.

The "surge" price was extremely excessive, the way they handle "customer service" and their drivers, none of this should be allowed.
You may, of course, say whatever you want when you communicate with Uber. And Uber may opt to ignore your complaint, too. I (and others) just think you are more likely to get a favorable response if you were not to use terms like "bait and switch," "ambush," etc, in your communications with them. And I do note that the main telephone number for Uber is listed on the company contacts page -- but you should use email. You will have a better record of all the communication if you use email. I'd suggest something like:

  • On Nov 17 2020 I used Uber for a ride from LAX to my home in Hollywood
  • I was initially quoted a price of $25-$35 for the ride and accepted that price
  • When the ride arrived, the price surged to $97.04.
  • I could not find a way to cancel the ride on the app and felt obliged to accept the surge price, though I thought it excessive
  • I asked customer service for a refund of the difference, and received a credit of $24.30 for use against a future Uber ride
  • I would like go get some clarification on when surge prices are announced, and how to cancel should the price surge after I requested the ride
  • I would also like to get the difference between the price charged and the price offered ($62.04.)
I would not be optimisitic about a favorable result, but one never knows.
 
Dec 20, 2020
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Thank you all for your input. And the contact information for the execs and company.

After reading the many other Uber complaints on this Elliot forum site from drivers and customers, no one here seems to be willing to make a direct comment on the UBER company's completely missing customer service, responsibility to their drivers and respect to their riders along with their price gouging and just flat out lack of responsible and legitimate business practices.

Either the people here who are responding to these various complaints on the forum work for the company or just like to be walked on.

Don't forget that it's YOUR money and being able to opt out and cancel a ride, obviously doesn't have any affect on them and is not being proactive to cause them to stop and be responsible.

As I previously stated, they do not even respond to complaints with the Better Business Bureau or credit card companies, let alone customers and drivers. Maybe the stock holders should be more informed.

If UBER was giving the services for gratis that's another story, but they are not and no one here seems to be concerned.

Doesn't anyone these days open their mouths to these people because some of these responses sound like they just file flaccid complaints out of fear of offending someone with UBER? It's your money!

Why should you care about some unprofessional exec who does not show some self respect and can't handle their job in customer service?

As I said previously, they are not doing you any favors and don't care.

I would rather give my money to an independent car service who works for themselves and struggling, which is what I should have done to begin with and will do if the occasion happens to need a car service again.

Uber doesn't need our money. People....say something!
 
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Reactions: Comicman and Skippy
Dec 19, 2014
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... Either the people here who are responding to these various complaints on the forum work for the company or just like to be walked on...

... I would rather give my money to an independent car service who works for themselves and struggling, which is what I should have done to begin with and will do if the occasion happens to need a car service again...
You completely lost my sympathy with this post.

No one here works for the company. We are all volunteers and just because you don't like the blunt but realistic advice does not make it incorrect.

BTW, we say something by CHOOSING NOT TO USE UBER. Refer to post #13 if you want to pursue this. Or, if you have the time and energy, start lobbying your local city councils and local government to regulate uber. But, I never got the sense that you are accepting responsibilities for your actions.
 
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