Using Uber Outside The U.S.? Make Sure You Don’t Pay $146 For An $11 Ride

One of the conveniences of Uber is that, rather than trying to figure out to flag down a taxi in every possible language and culture, you can use the same service to hail a ride in dozens of countries on every non-Antarctica continent. However, if you’re using Uber abroad, be sure to check your bank statement afterward to make sure that you’re not getting taken for a ride financially.

Consumerist reader J.P. recently used Uber while visiting Cape Town, South Africa. The approximately 10-mile trip from the suburb of Rondebosch to the airport totaled 146 South African Rands (ZAR), a little less than $11.

But according to the credit card statement J.P. showed Consumerist, Uber somehow charged failed to convert from ZAR to USD, and instead charged him $146, more than 13 times the actual fare for the ride.

J.P. contacted Uber by email — since the company makes other forms of customer service all but impossible — and a rep for the company denied there was any problem, writing, “I checked the trip and can see that this has been charged R146.00.”

The rep did however, ask J.P. to send a screenshot of the charge. That screenshot, which he supplied to the company, clearly shows a $146 hit to J.P.’s account.

Since then, Uber has only sent him an automated note that the issue has been resolved but with no explanation and no money credited back to his account.

He tells Consumerist that the last contact he had with Uber was Sept. 15. Since Uber has not cooperated, J.P. is now working with his bank to resolve the erroneous charge.

We’ve sent Uber multiple requests on J.P.’s behalf, but have yet to even receive a “no comment” in reply. If the company decides to respond, we’ll update.

J.P.’s story might be a one-off error, but it’s also the kind of error that might be overlooked by some Uber passengers, or might not be discovered until it’s too late to dispute the charge.

He says, “If I was not so vigilant about checking and reconciling my credit card statements I might easily not have noticed this.”

UPDATE: About an hour after this story was posted, J.P. — in what is surely a pure coincidence — says he was contacted by Uber with an apology and a promise to refund the erroneous fare.