I wrote earlier about an awesome trip I had with an Uber driver in Tampa, but they can’t all be great, and here is an example of a not so great experience.
After having spent the last few days with my sister and nephews in Salzburg, I had to get over to Brussels for my flight to Hong Kong.
I planned to arrive in Brussels in the early afternoon the day before my Hong Kong flight, so I would have the rest of the afternoon to explore Brussels, since it was my first time there.
I took the metro to my hotel when I arrived on Wednesday, but I didn’t plan my return trip to the airport too well on Thursday, so I decided to pull up the Uber app to see what the trip would cost me, since Uber would likely be my quickest option at this point.
Brussels Airport is fairly close to the city, and so when I put my destination into the app, it gave me a range of 21 to 28 Euros for the ~20 minute trip.
Knowing that taxis can run twice that much I ordered up the Uber. The driver arrived quickly within about 2 minutes, and we were on our way to the airport.
The driver said very little, but obviously spoke French (which I don’t speak), and didn’t seem to speak any English, so we had very little interaction during the trip, but it was a quick ride and around 18 minutes later he dropped me off in the designated area. It’s worth mentioning also, that the drop off area at BRU is gated, but is free for less than 15 minutes, and obviously he would have been in and out within about 1-2 minutes.
I mention that because included in my total fare notification that I received later was a 2 Euro “Parking Fee” which seemed odd.
Later when I looked at my email, I saw that the total fare came to €39.03, including the bogus €2 parking fee. Since I expected the fare to be around €25 or $28, this fare seemed about $15-16 USD too high.
As I reviewed the email I noticed on the map that this guy had kept the fare going after he dropped me off. It appears that he tried to charge me for about a third of the distance back to Brussels!
Although this is not a lot of money, for me there is principal involved, so I immediately went to the Uber app and disputed the charge.
To my surprise within a day I received an email from Uber letting me know that I was receiving a €13.77 refund. That seemed reasonable to me.
The Wrap Up:
When you travel a lot there are many distractions, but tourist scams are more prevalent than ever, and it’s important to be on the lookout. I didn’t get a good feeling from this Uber driver right from the start, so I wasn’t surprised that he tried to scam me, even on a small scale. Sometimes in different situations it’s not possible to recoup money that is stolen from you, but luckily in this case Uber made it easy for me to recover the money.
I will say this, it is entirely possible that this was an oversight by the driver, and he “forgot” to end the ride at the point of dropoff, but that doesn’t change the fact that I overpaid for the service and Uber did the right thing by refunding a portion of the charge.