What To Do When Your Uber Charge Is Higher Than Expected

by joeheg

One of the things I love about Uber is knowing the price of the ride when you ask for a car. You can make an informed decision about which type of car to request, see if you are paying extra because of demand, and not be subject to a meter like a taxi.

From Uber’s website:

In most cities, riders are offered an upfront price. Many data points go into calculating an upfront price, including the estimated trip time, distance from origin to destination, time of day, route, and demand patterns. It also includes tolls, taxes, surcharges, and fees (with the exception of wait time fees).

For this section, I’m paraphrasing Uber’s help site. For the exact wording, please go to Uber.com.

When you request a ride, you agree to be charged the upfront fare when the trip ends. Of course, the price can change, but according to Uber, that only happens rarely under the following conditions:

The upfront price you’re shown may change due to a number of circumstances, which may include adding stops, updating your destination, significant changes to the route or duration of the trip, or you pass through a toll that was not factored into your upfront price. In addition, you may incur wait time fees for the time you take to get to the car at the pickup or multi-stop fees for time spent at an on-trip stop.

If an upfront price is not honored, you will either be charged the minimum price or a price based on your trip’s measured time and distance, including any base rate, booking fee, surcharges, tolls, and other relevant factors such as a dynamic pricing charge.

In summary, Uber has the right to charge you a different amount based on the actual ride you were on if it’s different than the trip they based your fare estimate on.


I always check my Uber receipts. There are just too many Uber scams out there not to be vigilant. It’s an easy thing to do because I get an email before walking from the car into a building.

On a past trip, I was surprised when the receipt for a ride from our hotel in Las Vegas to the airport was $43.50.

Screen Shot 2017-11-05 at 10.37.11 PM

The reason for my surprise was that the original quote for the ride was $22.32.

Photo Nov 05, 10 38 28 PMWhen I looked into this some more, it appeared that our driver took a much longer route to the airport than the Uber app suggested. He did ask when our flight was leaving when he picked us up, but we left with plenty of time to spare.

Here’s the shortest route from Google Maps. Distance: 3.8 miles.

Screen Shot 2017-11-05 at 10.14.54 PM

Here’s the route our driver took. Distance: 11.8 miles.

Screen Shot 2017-11-05 at 10.17.21 PM

He might have thought he was doing us a favor and avoiding the traffic at 8 a.m. on a Monday. I’m not sure. I know it made a big difference in the fare. After receiving this email, I was shocked. What could I do?

I did some searching and found that drivers might not even know that driving a different route will change the fare the passengers are paying. I’d hope my driver for this ride would know, as he’d been driving for 1.5 years and had over 1500 five-star rides.

Fortunately, it’s easy to tell Uber if this happens to you. The first thing to do is to open the Uber app. Then, you’ll need to pull up the menu by clicking on the Account tab at the bottom of the screen.

Tapping the help button will pull up the help menu. By default, it shows your most recent trip.a screenshot of a phone

Swipe up until you see the menus at the bottom of the page.

a screenshot of a phone

Here’s where you select the trip where you feel you were overcharged.

a screenshot of a mapThe help desk works like an online chat. For my situation, I chose, “My driver took a poor route.”

a screenshot of a phone

That was it. It submitted my request, and Uber said they would get back to me. By the time we landed, I had an email saying that my charge was adjusted to the initially quoted fare. Uber knows the rate they quoted you and the route and can check that against the driver’s route.

I plead with you to only use this if you feel the driver unnecessarily took a different route. If you had to sit in traffic and Uber charges you a few dollars more, that’s fair. You’d have to do the same if you took a taxi. In my case, this fare was almost double what UBER promised me, and the driver didn’t make any mention that taking the freeway would cost us any more.

Although I haven’t experienced this issue in years, it is still prevalent and can be easily found online. I’ve also seen comments from riders where Uber will grant your first request as a courtesy but will reject subsequent requests if you often report being overcharged.


This was the first time I’d ever had a problem with an Uber, but it wasn’t the last.  This goes to show that you should always check the receipt you get after your ride. If there’s an honest difference, Uber makes it a painless process to report discrepancies, and I’ve found they try to rectify the situation.

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Rich November 7, 2017 - 1:26 pm

I’ve had this happen several times. I now take a screen shot showing the fare quote and one showing the route Uber projects just after the ride starts, or while waiting for the car. That guarantees that I’ll remember the fare quote correctly, and that I can send evidence of what I was quoted.

joeheg November 7, 2017 - 1:30 pm

Great tip. I never thought of that because this is the first time it happened to me. It makes sense that Uber would know what they quoted you but having documentation never hurts.

Mary Mirdik April 13, 2019 - 10:37 am

This us 2ndtime I was over charged quoted one price then overcharged by 3.00 and changed nit very happy with Uber I would like to be refunded my money

Pat May 10, 2018 - 7:38 am

Yes, this happened to me. Driver missed the turnoff and doubled my journey. I haven’t used Uber much and was shocked to see my price had doubled due to the driver’s mistake. I knew he had missed the turnoff off, but he said nothing. I went through the same refund request and got my refund immediately. I wonder how many people wouldn’t bother to report. I would hope drivers are not rorting the system. It has made me sceptical now though.

Sujith June 27, 2018 - 11:36 pm

Whaere s the screen shot of the mail that uber sent you?

joeheg June 28, 2018 - 4:23 pm

I didn’t save the email from Uber at the time. The screenshots I took are meant to help others who are in the same situation as I was.

Half Glass Full September 22, 2018 - 5:13 am

Informative blog!!

Heather Carter October 16, 2018 - 8:55 pm

How does this reflect back on the driver? I was very pleased with our driver, but he took a longer route to avoid traffic and ended up costing $20 more😱. Does it give them a bad review? Thanks

joeheg October 16, 2018 - 11:12 pm

From what I understand, UBER expects drivers to follow the directions provided by the app. Any changes from that route could be a negative against them, If you feel the driver took a different route to avoid traffic and save you time, then I wouldn’t complain and just pay the extra money. Personally, I feel a driver should tell you this in advance. What if you have the time and don’t want to pay more?. If the only reason to take a different route is to get a higher fare, then I’d report them and put in a claim to get back the difference.

1happykamper January 8, 2019 - 8:35 pm

Uber on Mexico city has not been good. Not sure if it’s dishonest drivers or those other variables mentioned in the article. My card was charged more than the estimated fare for 3 out of 5 trips here! Increases were from 20 to 55 pesos On trips with a value of 60 to 90 pesos! That’s a huge difference!. Uber in all 3 cases agreed with me… But it’s odd that 3 trips.. The driver got lost… Or did they? It’s a bad practice either way.

Lisa a zelenak July 2, 2019 - 9:28 am

This is common at the Las Vegas airport. Before Uber cabbies used to do it all the time, to make more money. It was like I could see my hotel from the airport and we were driving around in circles. I learned after the first time. If an Uber driver asks me anytime about a route i tell him or her to follow the app.

Michael M July 10, 2019 - 10:17 pm

I have had this happen a few times and Uber has always reversed the charge. Today though I was charged $45 for a ride that was quoted at $22. When I reported it was was shocked to receive a response refusing to reverse the charge, saying that I had made too many prior requests. Well, if you got things right I wouldn’t have to, right? I’m pretty livid at their response. It seems there is no recourse if Uber doesn’t want to make things right.

mark September 18, 2019 - 4:39 pm

Happened to me, too. I got an email a week after the ride saying Uber was increasing my $15 fare (as shown on the app) by $10 to cover a toll. I challenged it, because there was no toll on the route but Uber denied the correction. I’m considering withholding payment through my credit card company.

Rjb March 15, 2020 - 3:32 pm

Yep pretty common in NYC. Uber denies the challenge and you are stuck. More common: toll is included in the upfront quote but driver goes around the toll (queensboro Bridge) but no refund or fate adjustment.

Ernesto Jaboneta (@ejaboneta) July 14, 2020 - 6:38 pm

Just had a nightmare of a time trying to get a refund on a ride that was quoted at $97, but was charged $250. The dont have an active phone support line, email addresses that I’ve been given will autoreply that they are unmonitored emails so no one will see my messages. Tried to use the app and I got a response that they couldn’t adjust the cost, but with no explanation. This is unacceptable.

Joseph A Singletary October 13, 2019 - 9:39 am

It’s called Lyft

JDR December 17, 2019 - 3:28 pm

The first time this happened to me Uber lowered the fare back to the original amount. The second time they denied my request. So I guess Uber drivers now have to be treated like taxi drivers – carefully watched and told exactly when and where to turn.

john w January 9, 2020 - 4:28 am

While I agree in principal, I have a few points that suggest it is not the driver to blame. (I am an uber driver and also customer).
We are not told what price or route Uber used to charge the customer and the selected route can and does change based on many factors calculated by the mapping part of the app which updates continuously based on traffic and many other things as small as the direction it perceives your car to be pointing! I can pick up a passenger and the route be one thing but by the time I get out of the parking lot it has changed, a customer being a few hundred feet away from a pick up location when they order can easily affect the route at the time of pricing. I work in Las Vegas and have done the referenced route many times and have adjusted my route both ways, to and from the through town and the highway method as was needed, and never did it to knowing what route the rider paid for or how it would effect me. Many drivers are under the impression that the amount the rider pays is fixed

Steve February 1, 2020 - 12:47 am

I lived in Vegas for awhile… The cabbie / uber driver most assuredly knew what he was doing and took the long way around. The lowest cost from the strip to the airport is usually Paradise road unless there’s a huge accident or something.

I would file a complaint. Next time advise them to follow Uber/ Lyft’s instructions.

Liz June 18, 2020 - 1:36 am

I got charged TRIPLE the estimated cost. I did take a screenshot. They only refunded me the difference in Uber credit… I don’t ride Uber often and get $15 Amex monthly credit. I want my money back!

Jenny August 18, 2020 - 9:50 am

My final fare was double the initial fare. I followed your steps and received a refund automatically.

ARLIU May 28, 2021 - 8:15 pm

OMG, I just as the exact same thing happened to me and my hotel (Venetian) is closer to the airport than yours! Thanks to your blog and I followed your detail instruction. Uber credit me $17.90 out of $43. (My app quote was originally $21.95)

Ellen Arthur March 19, 2022 - 6:16 pm

This just happened to me in NYC. I had taken cabs and ubers from the exact location (Penn Station) to my son’s apartment several times and know how they usually go (Westside Hwy to 125th Street) and how long it usually takes (30-45 minutes). But it was over an hour this time and via a different route that did not include either Westside or 125th. We sat in traffic a long time. I was quoted $66 and charged $93 but there was no explanation of why on the receipt. I did object via the app and was refunded the overcharge within minutes. But no more Uber for me. Cheat me once….

P Hadden May 8, 2022 - 11:46 pm

My outbound trip from Oakville to brantford at 11:30am was $78 but the return trip at 2pm was $267. I had no other way to return home and had to accept the fare The return fare was excessive and unreasonable

CLAUDIA DAVIS June 22, 2023 - 10:11 pm

Did you agree to it or did it change after you agreed to it?

James B March 29, 2023 - 1:11 am

I recently had an uber driver miss two different exits on a trip from Midway Airport to downtown Chicago. The quoted rate was 26.90 and they charged me 33.29. I am attempting to get the 6.39 refunded and they refuse. Their actions is very short minded thinking as I travel a lot for work and use Ubers, Lyft, and cabs a lot. Now it will not be Uber as they have lost their way.

CLAUDIA DAVIS June 22, 2023 - 10:13 pm

my Uber quote from JFK to my Manhattan apt was approx. $70. I was charged $112. I was refunded $41 after asked for a refund through the app. I wonder about all those people who don’t bother to ask or look at the final receipt. no more Uber for me. never has happened to me using Lyft.

John August 6, 2023 - 8:13 am

We have been overcharged by Uber more than 10x the quoted rate by the driver not signing us out and then driving home. The worst was the driver left us signed in for 12.5 hours. Uber no longer makes it easy because when we used the app to dispute it the app says the charge is valid within 10 seconds. We even took another uber during the same period. We are experiencing it now a second time and even have a Google map of all our locations for the day and none show us driving 1.5 hours to the drop off location. Only staying within the 20 minutes radius of our starting point.
It seems Uber has figured out a new way to make profits by overcharging and refusing to fix the issues.

David February 25, 2024 - 1:38 pm

We usually pay the quoted fare. But, as you point out, there is a big loophole in that feature. Bad weather lengthening a trip and causing traffic and routing problems, for example, will increase the cost of your fare. Happened to us in Paris, getting back to the airport. C’est la vie!


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