On Thursday, Uber received an “F” grade from the Better Business Bureau, the New York Times reports. It’s the lowest rating that the independent organisation assigns to businesses.
Founded in 1912, the Better Business Bureau is the nonprofit responsible for serving as the intermediary between consumers and businesses, handling disputes and alerting the public to scams, among other things.
Most of the complaints on Uber’s Better Business Bureau page for the San Francisco Bay Area come from customers upset about the company’s surge pricing practice. More than 90 customers, many of whom feel misled about Uber’s surge pricing policy, have left comments on the website. Surge pricing occurs when there’s a high demand for Uber cars — on holidays like New Year’s Eve, during inclement weather, or weekend nights, for example.
There’s been many stories of Uber customers upset when they receive the receipt for their Uber ride taken during surge pricing, even though the company warns users about this before you can even request a ride. From Uber’s website:
With surge pricing, Uber rates increase to get more cars on the road and ensure reliability during the busiest times. When enough cars are on the road, prices go back down to normal levels. It’s important to know that you’ll always be notified in big, bold print if surge pricing is in effect. When rates are more than double, the surge confirmation screen also requires you to type in the specific surge multiplier to ensure you understand what rates to expect.
This practice isn’t exclusive to Uber; rival Lyft has its own equivalent of surge pricing called Prime Time, and as the New York Times rightly points out, Lyft has also received an “F” from the Better Business Bureau, though with far fewer complaints. And Uber’s latest target, the taxi industry, doesn’t have a great record either; according to the Bay Citizen, more than 1,700 passenger complaints were made about Bay Area taxis between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012.
We have reached out to Uber for comment and will update when we hear back.