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Posted on my Facebook feed this morning was this gem of an article.  From BusinessWeek Insider, apparently there was yet another incident of someone caught “unaware” of surge pricing and demonstrating a total lack of understanding of the laws of economics.

Last night was Halloween. Great time. Today is my 26th birthday. Not so great time. I live in Baltimore and went out with my friends to celebrate my birthday at midnight. When 3 AM rolled around, I suggested we take an Uber hole to avoid drunk driving (#responsibility/#MADD).  I live 22 minutes , tops, from the party I was leaving.

When I awoke this morning, I heard a friend talking about how outrageous Uber rates were the night before (9x original rate). I checked my bank account to, unbeknownst to me, I see a charge for $362. Not only is it my 26th birthday, it is rent day. My rent is $450 and I can no longer pay it today due to this completely outrageous charge.

She posted a plea on asking for help and apparently was successful, though the page has since been taken down


My only thoughts are that if you’re going to take Uber (or Lyft, or any of the similar companies), you need to be aware of how it works.  Surge pricing stinks, and would certainly give ME second thoughts about taking it, but that IS how it works.

If there was no surge pricing (from reports, it looks like it was 9x in this case), then THERE WOULD BE NO DRIVERS!  If the Uber drivers are only making their regular $15 / hr or whatever they make, then most of them would be staying home at 3 a.m. on Halloween (or out with their own friends).  Normally prices are quite reasonable, but there’s a reason that you can’t find a taxi on Halloween, or on New Year’s Eve, or in New York in the rain.  You wouldn’t find any Uber drivers either, unless there was an incentive (surge pricing) to get the drivers up and out instead of in their own beds.

I have not personally used Uber, but it is my understanding that when surge pricing is in effect, it is VERY OBVIOUS – like to the point of you have to type in 9.0 and hit Yes and then Are You Sure, etc. etc.  I am sure that having had a “couple” of drinks did not help matters 🙂

I am trying to give this lady the benefit of the doubt, but it’s hard in this situation.  I did make the mistake of reading the comments in the BusinessWeek article, which once again confirmed my lack of faith in the humanity of Internet commenters 😀

Have you ever been bitten by Uber / Lyft surge pricing?  Drop a note in the comments section (but let’s try to stay classy!)

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