INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Ride-sharing companies are coming under fire here in Indianapolis and across the country.
Tuesday, 24-Hour News 8 learned Portland, Oregon is suing Uber after officials say it “illegally” launched in the city.
San Francisco and Los Angeles filed a suit over how the company screens drivers and charges passengers.
Uber prides itself on allowing people to order a privately-driven car through a smartphone app and it often costs less than a taxi.
But, we’ve heard similar complaints from users right here in central Indiana.
Leah Kappen of Indianapolis took Uber downtown this weekend for the Big Ten Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium. It’s a ride that cost her $30. However, the 18 minute ride back home to Castleton set her back $450.
“It made me a little bit sick to my stomach, considering that’s a huge chunk gone out of my bank account,” Kappen said.
Kappen showed 24-Hour News 8 her Uber receipt. She said she was caught off guard by what the company calls “Surge Pricing”, when demand for an Uber driver is high, the price you pay is much more.
“We just went downtown to enjoy everything that was going on and the game and hanging out with friends,” she said.
But, Kappen’s ride back home was 15-times more than what they initially paid.
After the game demand was up and surge pricing was in effect.
Kappen admits she accepted the fee not knowing what the ride would cost.
“When I got home and looked at my receipt the next morning, it was for $450 to get the same distance, for a fare that cost me $30 before,” she said.
24-Hour News 8 reached out to Uber.
In an e-mail, a company spokesperson said: “The fact that surge pricing is in place is communicated repeatedly to a user – and requires confirmation – before the user can request the trip. It’s important to know that users are notified in big, bold print and must enter in the multiplier if surge pricing is in effect before confirming a ride request.”
“It required that I type in 8.5 in order to request any ride and not using Uber with a surge before, I typed in that number not knowing what it would do to my fare,” Kappen said.
Kappen said she wants others to be aware.
“I didn’t put the two and two together that it would really affect my fare by that much,” she said.
Kappen also contacted Uber about the fare. For her inconvenience, they gave her a 25 percent discount off the $450.
That’s still an 18 minute ride over $300 she said she really couldn’t afford to spend.
We asked Kappen why she chose Uber over a cab, she said she felt it was much safer.