Uber Accidentally Charged a Customer More Than $18,000 for a 5-Mile Ride

Surge on surge on surge.

Twitter | @emilykennard

There's surge pricing, and then there's this. An Uber rider in Canada got the impolite shock of a lifetime on Friday after he received his receipt for a short trip through downtown Toronto and discovered he'd been charged over $18,000 for the privilege, according to Slate.

Word of the apparent price gouging—nay, price massacrefirst spread on Twitter after a friend of the unfortunate rider posted a screenshot of the eye-popping receipt and attempted to get the ride hailing giant's attention. The receipt shows that the user was charged $18,518.50 Canadian—or about $14,000 Patriot Bucks—for a five-mile jaunt from an address near downtown Toronto to a location east of the city on Friday.

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Stories of people getting slammed with outrageous surge pricing, where the company jacks up fares in supposed high-demand times and areas, are about as old as Uber itself. The flexible pricing scheme still catches a fair share of users by surprise, even after the company implemented safeguards to prevent your inebriated self from ordering a $500 ride home from the bar. But even in Travis Kalanick's wildest dreams, $18,000 for five miles in a Hyundai Sonata really doesn't make any sense.

Though early reports from this weekend had Uber defending the charge as the rider tried to dispute it, the company admitted that "there was an error here" in a statement to Slate on Sunday, adding that it had issued a full refund and was investigating the matter internally.

"We have safeguards in place to help prevent something like this from happening, and we are working to understand how this occurred," the statement said.

So while Uber does have its fair share of questionable business practices, it appears this wasn't one of them. It might be a good idea to keep an eye on your receipts this holiday season, though.