Warning about Uber Pool billing

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sophie1
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Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:58 pm

Warning about Uber Pool billing

Post by sophie1 » Wed Nov 20, 2019 12:09 pm

I'm generally a fan of Uber, but I plan to avoid Uber pool like the plague...at least for long trips during busy times.

I took Uber pool for a trip yesterday that should have been around a 30 minute drive, maybe 40 minutes due to rush hour traffic. More fool me, but the full UberX fare was quoted as $50, compared to $25 for Uber pool at a cost of only 5 minutes to pick up one other passenger.

After the ride started, the 2nd passenger was changed and the route was considerably extended for that pickup. Then a third passenger was added, which resulted in yet another extension of the route. The full trip took one hour and 15 minutes. After I exited, I saw that my fare was $40. [Comment removed~moderator]

It appears that for Uber Pool you are charged not for the original trip that you are shown up front, but for the full cost of the extended route - i.e. you are subsidizing the pickup of the other passengers. That strikes me as a great wrongness, but it's apparently Uber's policy (I protested the fare knowing full well it was an exercise in futility). Does anyone know if the other rideshare companies play this same trick with their shared ride services?

I took Via on the way back. $13 and because it was late it was a solo trip. Geez, Uber.
Last edited by Flyer24 on Wed Nov 20, 2019 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Cleaning up language

MarkerFM
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Re: Warning about Uber Pool billing

Post by MarkerFM » Wed Nov 20, 2019 2:22 pm

I never use a pool ride, so I can't answer your question about how others do it. However, I will say that issues with the final price being grossly higher than the quoted price at the beginning has caused me and my entire family to delete the Uber app and therefore never use them.

StrangePenguin
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Re: Warning about Uber Pool billing

Post by StrangePenguin » Wed Nov 20, 2019 2:44 pm

Do you mind if I ask what city? Just curious. Also, was this the "you may have to walk a few minutes" variant of Uber Pool, or the "pick you up at your exact location" version?

MotoTrojan
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Re: Warning about Uber Pool billing

Post by MotoTrojan » Wed Nov 20, 2019 3:07 pm

I would be surprised if they didn’t refund the difference.

megabad
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Re: Warning about Uber Pool billing

Post by megabad » Wed Nov 20, 2019 3:28 pm

Let me start by saying I don't use Uber Pool/Lyft Line because I don't see the point. It is cheaper for me to drive to a friend's house and split the ride ourselves than to give Uber/Lyft a cut so I just do that. Heck the driver even gets paid more per hour for this based on what I can tell.

That said, the fare for Uber/Lyft/AND most taxis is based on the actual trip and the initial estimate is just that--an estimate. I think this has always been known by any person living in an urban area so I don't get the complaint about pricing uncertainty. I have had to yell and scream at taxi drivers and Uber driver's alike when they take "unscheduled detours". I have also had to direct them around traffic jams when the Uber app was too stupid to avoid traffic. In highly unpredictable traffic situations, I expect to pay more than estimated. The longer the route, the more random the charge will be.

The only thing that has changed for me with these apps is that the apps make calling a car a ton easier and improved the experience slightly. Back in the day, people would just hop in a taxi and pray they wouldn't get ripped off. These apps have definitely improved that by giving an estimate and showing the route. Still not perfect though. The folks complaining about Uber/Lyft must be younger because they would never have survived the horrible taxis that we had to take for years prior. You don't know how many times I heard "I don't have change for a $20 bill...". Enough times for a particular finger of mine to become sore.

SrGrumpy
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Re: Warning about Uber Pool billing

Post by SrGrumpy » Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:04 pm

What did Uber say when you filed a complaint via their app/website?

bsteiner
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Re: Warning about Uber Pool billing

Post by bsteiner » Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:12 pm

This is an old thread. The last couple of years they've been quoting fixed fares, at least for the trips I've taken, though one time the driver took a different route and didn't go through a toll booth and Uber revised the fare downward by the amount of the toll.

I've found Uber to generally be less expensive than taxis.

EDIT: it's a current thread, not an old thread.
Last edited by bsteiner on Thu Nov 21, 2019 12:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

michaeljc70
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Re: Warning about Uber Pool billing

Post by michaeljc70 » Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:40 pm

I've always been quoted a fixed amount (at least the last couple of years) for UberPool. Often when I am picked up they don't even know who the other riders are yet. It sounds like there is something else going on here. BTW, I have had a couple of times when Uber quoted me a price (pool or X) and then charged me a different amount. I now take a screenshot of the fare before accepting should it happen again. I've used Lyft too plenty and they aren't perfect either. Don't take a shared ride if you are in a hurry.

SrGrumpy
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Re: Warning about Uber Pool billing

Post by SrGrumpy » Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:48 pm

bsteiner wrote:
Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:12 pm
This is an old thread.
Odd?

michaeljc70
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Re: Warning about Uber Pool billing

Post by michaeljc70 » Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:49 pm

SrGrumpy wrote:
Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:48 pm
bsteiner wrote:
Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:12 pm
This is an old thread.
Odd?
From what I can see it is from today.

tesuzuki2002
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Re: Warning about Uber Pool billing

Post by tesuzuki2002 » Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:51 pm

you can back charge the credit card. They did not provide the services you anticipated at the price you were quoted.

megabad
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Re: Warning about Uber Pool billing

Post by megabad » Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:59 pm

For reference:
from Uber website here:https://help.uber.com/riders/article/my ... 11521c7b24
Upfront fares are calculated using the expected time and distance of the trip and local traffic, as well as how many riders and nearby drivers are using Uber at that moment.

You may be charged a different amount than your upfront fare...

SrGrumpy
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Re: Warning about Uber Pool billing

Post by SrGrumpy » Wed Nov 20, 2019 5:18 pm

megabad wrote:
Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:59 pm
For reference:
from Uber website here:https://help.uber.com/riders/article/my ... 11521c7b24
Upfront fares are calculated using the expected time and distance of the trip and local traffic, as well as how many riders and nearby drivers are using Uber at that moment.

You may be charged a different amount than your upfront fare...
You left out this bit:
If you believe this fare change happened unfairly, please let us know by going to "I would like a refund" > "My driver took a poor route" and then select the appropriate reason.

michaeljc70
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Re: Warning about Uber Pool billing

Post by michaeljc70 » Wed Nov 20, 2019 5:50 pm

megabad wrote:
Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:59 pm
For reference:
from Uber website here:https://help.uber.com/riders/article/my ... 11521c7b24
Upfront fares are calculated using the expected time and distance of the trip and local traffic, as well as how many riders and nearby drivers are using Uber at that moment.

You may be charged a different amount than your upfront fare...
So, if traffic is less than they thought, they charge you less? Highly unlikely.

linuxizer
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Re: Warning about Uber Pool billing

Post by linuxizer » Wed Nov 20, 2019 6:13 pm

I don’t recall Lyft Line ever doing this and they’re not run by management who seems more professional than Ubers given the scandals.

campy2010
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Re: Warning about Uber Pool billing

Post by campy2010 » Wed Nov 20, 2019 6:40 pm

I'm a big fan of Uber and Lyft and depending on the situation I think Uber Pool/Lyft Line can be a good value. To put it in perspectively, you traded $25 for an extra 30 minute trip out of your way. If I have extra time or if I'm not worried about getting to my destination by a certain time, then I consider $25 a pretty decent time vs money trade off. If someone said they would give me a $1 for every minute I sat in a car, I would have no problem doing it for 30 minutes.

Both Uber and Lyft provide a range of time that the rider will likely arrive at his/her/their destination. I use the high end of the estimate to determine whether the Pool is worth it or if I should grab an X. Or if I should switch from Uber to Lyft (or vice versa).

For Uber pool, the rules are that you're guaranteed to have no more than 2 stops between when you get in and arrive home. The charges are estimated up front, which for Pool is based on your route rather than the total Pool route. If you were billed differently then you should contact Uber.

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kramer
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Re: Warning about Uber Pool billing

Post by kramer » Wed Nov 20, 2019 8:38 pm

I don't have a lot of experience with Uber Pool, but I have used it several times in the US but only once did they actually pick someone else up. And the whole thing worked out well and was fair and saved me some cash and the billing was as expected. It was a 45 mile trip to the airport, I had plenty of spare time and told the driver so (obviously I wouldn't have selected Uber Pool if I didn't have plenty of extra time), and about 25 miles into the trip we picked a couple up a few hundred meters from the freeway at a hotel who were also going to the airport.

Off Topic: I was last in the US in October, and on my way out of the country I summoned a Lyft. He arrived, I saw him, and I walked over to get in. Just seconds before, the railroad crossing started to ring, then the railroad guard gate came down on his car (I warned him but he didn't react in time, partly out of concern for my safety, it was early in the morning with zero traffic). Anyway, in all the chaos, he had cancelled the ride somehow, right in that moment. So I was already in his car and the ride had been cancelled, he said it was his mistake. He offered to take me for no charge but I just paid him in cash what the expected fee was. Stuff happens sometimes and I just go with the flow but I have to admit that was a really weird incident.

finite_difference
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Re: Warning about Uber Pool billing

Post by finite_difference » Wed Nov 20, 2019 9:03 pm

I wish Uber would hurry up and roll out more expensive options over these cheap ones.

I think they vastly underestimate how much people are willing to pay for the availability of booster/car seats, for example.
The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. - Thich Nhat Hanh

BusterMcTaco
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Re: Warning about Uber Pool billing

Post by BusterMcTaco » Wed Nov 20, 2019 9:08 pm

campy2010 wrote:
Wed Nov 20, 2019 6:40 pm

For Uber pool, the rules are that you're guaranteed to have no more than 2 stops between when you get in and arrive home. The charges are estimated up front, which for Pool is based on your route rather than the total Pool route. If you were billed differently then you should contact Uber.
I'm pretty certain this has not been the case for many years. They will loop around as much as they want. No guarantees.

lazydavid
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Re: Warning about Uber Pool billing

Post by lazydavid » Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:01 am

campy2010 wrote:
Wed Nov 20, 2019 6:40 pm
I'm a big fan of Uber and Lyft and depending on the situation I think Uber Pool/Lyft Line can be a good value. To put it in perspectively, you traded $25 for an extra 30 minute trip out of your way. If I have extra time or if I'm not worried about getting to my destination by a certain time, then I consider $25 a pretty decent time vs money trade off. If someone said they would give me a $1 for every minute I sat in a car, I would have no problem doing it for 30 minutes.
Your math works differently than mine. OP was trying to save money on a 30-minute ride that would have cost $50. What he actually got was a 75-minute ride that cost $40. My powers of analysis suggest that this represents a savings of $10, at a cost of 45 minutes.

Topic Author
sophie1
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Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:58 pm

Re: Warning about Uber Pool billing

Post by sophie1 » Thu Nov 21, 2019 9:50 am

OP here....

Amazingly, Uber gave me a partial refund of the overcharge - good enough! Fundamentally they agreed that I shouldn't be charged extra for detours to pick up other passengers, which was the main point. Definitely something to watch for, since it's supposedly an automated system and it shouldn't have happened in the first place.

It brought the trip cost down to $30. Still no compensation for the 45 minutes extra, which was well beyond the estimated maximum time provided at the time I accepted the trip. The risk you take I guess. That suggests that Uber Pool is no better than Via, which is half the price (in my case, $13 for Via vs the originally quoted $25 for Uber which ended up being $30).

In response to other questions: this was NYC (Manhattan), and Uber Pool functions a bit like express pool everywhere else, where you may have to walk a short distance at each end of the trip. Doesn't bother me since this is often faster than on-site, plus walking is not something we fear particularly here :-)

bsteiner
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Re: Warning about Uber Pool billing

Post by bsteiner » Thu Nov 21, 2019 12:47 pm

SrGrumpy wrote:
Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:48 pm
bsteiner wrote:
Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:12 pm
This is an old thread.
Odd?
My error. It's a current thread.

oxothuk
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Re: Warning about Uber Pool billing

Post by oxothuk » Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:46 am

finite_difference wrote:
Wed Nov 20, 2019 9:03 pm
I wish Uber would hurry up and roll out more expensive options over these cheap ones.

I think they vastly underestimate how much people are willing to pay for the availability of booster/car seats, for example.
I would like an option that guarantees me a ride home if I take Uber to a low density location. Even if it means paying a driver to deadhead out there and pick me up.

megabad
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Re: Warning about Uber Pool billing

Post by megabad » Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:52 am

oxothuk wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:46 am
finite_difference wrote:
Wed Nov 20, 2019 9:03 pm
I wish Uber would hurry up and roll out more expensive options over these cheap ones.

I think they vastly underestimate how much people are willing to pay for the availability of booster/car seats, for example.
I would like an option that guarantees me a ride home if I take Uber to a low density location. Even if it means paying a driver to deadhead out there and pick me up.
Take friends (or use hosts phones) and have a few phones call an Uber at the same time and it will surge. I think you have 2 mins to cancel if you pull too many drivers. Chances are a bit higher you can pull a driver out there then but def not guaranteed unfortunately.

bsteiner
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Re: Warning about Uber Pool billing

Post by bsteiner » Fri Nov 22, 2019 10:53 am

megabad wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:52 am
...
Take friends (or use hosts phones) and have a few phones call an Uber at the same time and it will surge. ...
Supply and demand.

I took an Uber home from a train station in the suburbs the Saturday night before Halloween after coming back from a Halloween party in Manhattan. The fare was about 60% more than usual. I mentioned it to the driver. He said that they were especially busy that night because there were lots of Halloween parties.

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