Despite several attempts by Uber to warn customers about higher prices during New Year’s Eve, the San Francisco-based car service was still inundated with complaints about how much rides costed.
Uber customers posted pictures of their Uber receipts to Twitter Inc. (NYSE:TWTR), complaining that the company was charging as much as $82 for a 1-mile car ride.
â€” Thomas Andersen (@andersen_Th) January 1, 2014
Uber’s social media team was busy putting out fires from angered customers on Twitter throughout the holiday. While it was a good example of a company using social media to gain customer support, some complained that Uber only sent inauthentic, cookie-cutter responses.
@Uber the worst part of this is that you are using the same cookie cutter response for all of your customers. Just stop.
— Dan Davis (@DanDaviz) January 1, 2014
Uber customers should have known that their car service was going to be more expensive than usual. To start, Uber issued a New Year's Eve blog post that warned about its “price surging” policy, including a chart showing which times will be most expensive.
Uber also posted an interview with CEO Travis Kalanick, explaining why it charges more during peak-usage times. Spoiler alert: It is basic supply and demand. Uber charges more during peak times because more people are trying to book their services, just like airlines and hotels.
Not only did Uber warn customers before New Year’s Eve, it did so when they tried to reserve a car. Notifications warned customers when “price surging” was in effect and displayed how much more expensive the fare would be than usual. Before a customer could reserve a car, they were even required to type in the multiplier to confirm that they were aware that they would be paying more.
No doubt Uber lost plenty of customers on New Year’s Eve, but anyone surprised by the higher rates really had no one to blame but themselves.