[UPDATE, 3:44 p.m.: "I just got an email from Uber saying the charges are being reversed," Kimberly Alexander wrote to us this afternoon, about two hours after we had gotten off the phone with Uber's Leandre Johns, who had insisted that the damage was legit. We've left him messages and will post another update if he returns the call.]
When Kimberly Alexander rode an Uber-ordered limo 6.41 miles across Dallas, the ride initially cost $59. But during the 13 minutes and six seconds that her ride lasted, something happened in that limo, something bad that later required Alexander to pay for a repair -- at least that's what happened according to a receipt she got.
Alexander, executive director of the Dallas-based Tackle Cancer Foundation and the former wife of late NFL linebacker Elijah Alexander, recently posted a receipt on her Twitter account showing that Uber charged an additional $150 to her credit card. She writes that Uber made the "fare adjustment" days after her ride.
Not really feeling @Uber_Dallas right now. Nothing like finding out days after the fact that my $59 fare is jumping to $209,I couldve driven
— Kimberly Alexander (@KimberlyTweets2) December 11, 2013
The receipt is vague and confusing about why her fare has been adjusted from $59 to $209. The "notes" say that "this trip has an increased fare because it was taken while surge pricing was in effect."
Yet under the "reason for the adjustment" in her receipt, the only explanation is "repair fee."
Uber has been getting some negative publicity across the country for its "surge pricing," in which cars cost extra during high-demand times. In Los Angeles, for example, an Uber customer was recently charged $357 for a 14-mile-ride.
But Leandre Johns, the Uber Dallas general manager, says that Alexander's fare adjustment had nothing to do with the price surge. "We will never adjust a fare because of surge. A surge happens at that point, at that time," Johns tells Unfair Park.
So why was Alexander surprised with an extra $150 a few days after the ride? Johns points to to the repair fee.
"The only reason we would adjust a fare up, in this particular case, are for things that happen during the ride," he says. "Because of client confidentiality, I'm not going to go into what happened in this ride, but things like if someone were to throw up in the car ... we would have no choice but to adjust the fare up."
While he refused to specify what exactly happened in that car, Johns says that it forced the driver to take off work for the rest of the night. Johns adds that Uber has the documentation to prove it. "It is something that we have pictures of, I have a receipt for. We were actually pretty nice as far as the damage and what the actual charge was," he says.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
What does Alexander have to say about this? That it's all bullshit.
"I'm waiting to hear back from Uber regarding it because I'm disputing it. If it's this easy for riders to be blamed for something and charged then it's a problem," she tells Unfair Park in an email.
Alexander says she was leaving a holiday party during the Icepocalypse with a friend when they took an Uber car home that night. The only car trouble she can recall is that the valet guy had trouble getting the door of the Uber car to shut. The valet guy pointed out to the limo driver that a rubber piece was missing from the door. Other than that, "we were dropped off without issue," she says. "To then hear that the driver took himself out of commission is nonsense."
Send your story tips to the author, Amy Silverstein.