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Woman Charged $12,000 For 35-Minute Uber Cab Ride

By Trevor Kapp | April 21, 2015 10:49am | Updated on April 21, 2015 12:38pm
 A woman was charged $12,000 for a 35-minute ride from Brooklyn to Manhattan.
A woman was charged $12,000 for a 35-minute ride from Brooklyn to Manhattan.
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WILLIAMSBURG — Even a banker couldn't make sense of this number.

A Brooklyn finance worker was charged a whopping $12,000 by Uber for a 35-minute ride from Williamsburg to Midtown.

Jaime Hessel, 32, said she used the service on March 28 expecting a routine trip from Leonard and Scholes streets in East Williamsburg to East 50th Street in Midtown, where was was taking part in a cancer fundraising event.

Instead, she got a ride she'll never forget.

"We get to Meeker Avenue and all of a sudden, the driver starts taking phone calls and checking his voicemails," said Hessel, who works in finance.

"Then he started missing turns. He went right past McGuinness [Boulevard]. He went on the on-ramp to the BQE. Then he slammed on his brakes and starts going in reverse. I started freaking out saying, 'What are you doing?' He said, 'No, I got this.'"

After finally navigating his way to the Midtown Tunnel, the driver again seemed baffled.

"He gets in the left lane to go downtown," Hessel said. "I said, 'Sir, we need to go uptown,' and he swerves back to the ride side and slammed on his brakes. He was really good with his brakes. I'll give him that."

Once they finally landed in Manhattan, Hessel said the driver drove in the bus lane to try to make up time.

When she finally reached her destination, she was hit with a $56.40 charge. She contested it with Uber, claiming it was only that expensive because of his ineptitude navigating city streets. Uber eventually took $15 off the fare, she said.

But the real chaos unfolded Monday when she received an email saying she owed the company $12,000.

"It freaked me out," she said. "I have bad eye sight and I thought maybe I wasn't reading it correctly.

"I was emailing them and all they could give me was, 'We're looking into it,'" she said. "They said they had their 'tier two' agents looking into it, which means nothing to me. What is 'tier two' out of 1,000?"

Uber later told her the charges were a mistake and they’d clear them from her account.

"We apologize to this rider for any inconvenience and we have provided them with a full refund," an Uber spokesman said in an email.

Still, Hessel said she's hesitant to use the service in the future.

"I don't know if I'll use it again," she said. "Maybe I'll do it if it'll be somebody else's credit card."