Uber overcharges customer by $28k, blames ‘glitch’
One woman said her bank flagged a charge of $28,639 from the taxi hire company earlier this month, with Uber revealing that she was one of a small number of customers affected, adding that its engineers are working to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
At first, Uber told the woman her account had been hacked, sending her an email to say that it appeared to have been the target of a “highly sophisticated” form of fraud.
Soooo @Uber strikes again! Smh STILL no refund for the overcharge! Wow 4 emails later 🤔😏— Fergie (@Tru_Gem368) December 13, 2016
The San Francisco-based company then emailed a week later to say that the account hadn’t actually been compromised after all.
“Your information is safe, and the charge that appeared on your credit card statement was an unusually large authorization hold,” Uber wrote. “This was never processed as a payment, and our engineering team has been made aware of this error.”
The company uses an authorization hold on an account to confirm a payment method from a customer. In this case, the glitch caused the authorization amount to be much greater than usual.
Uber has recently come under fire for overcharging customers with its “upfront” fees, with service users reportedly charged for journeys as much as double the distance they traveled. According to reports, the drivers received their normal fee, while the company pocketed the rest.
Payment system bugs are too common — had Airbnb accidentally overcharge me $3000 once. QA job security 📈 https://t.co/upk00TWqQC— Daniel Sinclair (@_DanielSinclair) December 21, 2016
The company told Fortune that the automated system sometimes overestimates the journey and as the drivers are paid based on how far they actually drive, they don’t get to keep the difference in fares.
While Uber has said the Philadelphia glitch was not a hack, companies with a wealth of customer information online have become a target for cyber-attacks, Philly.com reports.
In March 2015, hackers were reportedly selling Uber customer account information on the dark web, which allowed buyers to access other people’s Uber accounts and take rides for as little as $1.
In 2014, as many as 50,000 Uber drivers also had their personal details leaked online.