Is Uber Overcharging Riders? How to Avoid Upfront Pricing

If you are an Uber user, you may be getting charged more than a new user for the exact same ride. Joe here with The Rideshare Guy created a video discussing how Uber may be taking advantage of some riders and how you can avoid paying more than you should. Be sure to stick around at the end, because I’ll walk you through the passenger app and show you how you can avoid upfront pricing altogether.

Take a look at Joe’s video, then scroll to the transcript below to see all of the points he covers.

What is Upfront Pricing?

When you request an Uber ride, instead of getting a range of prices that you may pay, like Uber used to do in the early days, now you’re given an upfront price. You’re given the exact price that you’ll pay before the ride actually happens. Uber determines that upfront price based on many factors, time, distance, whether it’s surging, traffic. They say those are the factors that they determine it on, but could some other factors be the fact that you’re a frequent rider or you’re a business customer?

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Some passengers are charged more for the same ride

It’s actually no secret. Uber has admitted to charging certain customers more and other customers less. Will actually recently, over at, published an excellent article about his experience as a frequent user as well as a business traveler. Essentially, what he figured out was he was getting charged 10 to 30% more on that upfront price than he would have been charged if he was just paying his market’s actual time and distance rates.

Here’s a look at a screenshot of an upfront price that he was given for $79.82. Then, he figured out a trick where he would enter a destination on the way to his actual destination, just a few miles short. Basically, what he would do was he would request the ride with that short destination in place, then, when the driver picked up him, when he was en route to that destination, he would actually change the destination to his actual destination. Once he changes that destination, the upfront price that he’s quoted is no longer relevant, and then actually time and distance, the price is calculated based on the actual time and distance. Here’s a look at that ride after he used that trick. He paid $63.83, $16 cheaper than the upfront price of $79.82 that he was quoted.

Here’s another example. He was quoted an upfront price of $69.04, and again, after using his destination change trick, the actual cost of his ride was $53.04, again nearly $16 cheaper than the $69.04 upfront price he was quoted originally. He ended up doing this for a total of 20 rides, and the end result was always the same. He was always quoted an upfront price of 10 to 30% more than he would pay if he was just paying his market’s actual time and distance rates.

Testing Uber pricing: Same ride, same location, same time, two different prices

For even more confirmation, he decided to try and take his phone and his wife’s phone. His wife is a more casual Uber user. He tried to request, see what upfront price he would be quoted and what she would be quoted for the exact same ride at the exact same time. He did this a couple times, and she was quoted a price of $13 cheaper both times.

Plain and simple, Uber is charging users what they think that user, that particular user, will pay. Frequent Uber users and business travelers, people using a business account, may be getting quoted an upfront price higher than more casual, newer users.

How to avoid Uber’s upfront pricing

Will used his destination change trick, but there’s also another way where you can avoid upfront pricing altogether. Here’s how you do it. When you enter your destination, you basically just type some letters, and then you’ll get this option where you can enter your destination later. Just select that, then, when you request your ride, you see there’s no prices there.

There’s no upfront prices there because you haven’t entered a destination. When you request your ride, your price will be determined based on your market’s per-minute and per-mile rates. If it is surging, you’ll get charged based on that surge rate as well, but this is a way to avoid upfront pricing altogether, and avoid paying a price that Uber thinks that you will pay. Instead, you’ll pay a standard price, a price based on per-mile, per-minute rates in your market. You can go ahead and enter your destination anytime after your ride has been accepted.

If you are a frequent user, or if you’re someone that just thinks that you’re being quoted an upfront price higher than what you actually should be, use that upfront pricing avoidance trick. Give that a try. See what you pay for those rides, versus what you’re paying, versus what you’re being quoted for those upfront prices. Hopefully, by using this trick, you can save yourself some money. Thanks again for watching. Please like, comment, or subscribe, and drive safe.


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