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Customers call in a slew of complaints about the ride-sharing service -- ranging from allegedly being overcharged by hundreds of dollars to having troubles with customer service.
Uber users complain of not being notified of surge pricing before getting a ride. Uber
One sure way businesses will get a low grade from the Better Business Bureau is to rack up customer complaints. And this appears to be the case with Uber.
The Better Business Bureau revealed this week that it's given the ride-sharing service an F rating -- on a scale of A+ to F. The main reason for this failing grade is based on nearly 100 complaints the bureau has received about Uber over the past three years.
The Better Business Bureau is a 100-year-old organization that aims to be an unbiased resource for consumers on various businesses. It isn't affiliated with the government and doesn't have any regulatory powers.
Since launching five years ago, Uber has grown at a swift pace. It's gone from having cars drive around a handful of US cities to being in more than 200 cities in 45 countries. The company now claims to cover 55 percent of the US population with its offering. But with this growth has come scrutiny from regulators, drivers and passengers.
"Consumer complaints allege misunderstanding Uber Technologies' pricing, being misinformed about the overall cost of the services rendered, and not being made aware of 'surge pricing,'" the bureau wrote on its website. "Some consumers claim that they were told the final cost of the transportation service the company provided...only to be subsequently charged a substantially larger amount."
The bureau published the complaints on its website. Of the 90 complaints the bureau has dealt with, 80 were within the last year. By far, most grievances were about billing issues, 43, and problems with the product, 38. Customers also complained of having difficulty contacting Uber's customer service and having their cases closed even though the issue wasn't resolved.
In one case from last week, a customer alleged they were charged $710 for a 9-mile ride and weren't notified of surge pricing, which is a temporary increase in fare rates during rush hour and other high-traffic times. Uber says it repeatedly tells users when surge pricing is in place and customers must confirm they know of the higher fares before they can request a trip. However, the customer claiming to be charged $710 alleges the app didn't mention surge pricing.
"I was not notified of any surcharge and once I learned about it, the customer service refused to refund my money," the complaint reads. "The best they have done is to refund $177, which is still not enough when the policy clearly states that I should be notified of the surcharges. $532.50 is still an outrageous price to pay for a 9.7 mile drive."
Besides the high amount of complaints from consumers, the bureau said other factors that lowered Uber's ratings were the length of time it's been operating and its failure to respond to 30 of the complaints filed against it.
When asked to comment on Uber's F rating, an Uber spokeswoman said the company makes sure to review user feedback.
"Uber's direct channel for two-way feedback is regularly reviewed and acted on to ensure a high-quality experience," the Uber spokeswoman said. "The fact is that consumers in 220 cities around the world have made their opinion known by taking millions of rides with Uber."
Uber's competitor Lyft has also received an F rating from the Better Business Bureau. However, the bureau has received only five complaints about Lyft over the past three years. Yellow Cab in San Francisco also got an F from the bureau, but, like Lyft, had only five complaints in the last three years.Dara Kerr Dara Kerr is a staff writer for CNET focused on the sharing economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado where she developed an affinity for collecting fool's gold and spirit animals. See full bio