Uber no longer warns users of price surges

Uber on an iPhone
A new look Uber no longer displays surge pricing. Photo credit: Getty Images/Newshub

Users of Uber in New Zealand may have noticed a change in how their rides are quote and some aren't happy about it.

Instead of warning a customer that surge pricing is in place before they make a booking, the app now gives a more accurate quote of the ride's cost.

Uber calls it Upfront Pricing and it's been in the process of being rolled out around the world since 2016.

A statement released by Uber explains how the fares are calculated, saying: "When fares go up due to increased demand, instead of surge lightning bolts and pop-up screens, riders are given the actual fare before they request their ride."

The change has annoyed some users who say they're unaware the fare is higher than the standard rate. Previously, the app would ask you to confirm you were aware you were getting charged a higher rate and consented to paying it.

Consumer NZ told Newshub although it's great that the cost is shown upfront, there should be an indication of the increase.

"In our view, it should be made clear to consumers what the price is and also whether it's higher than normal due to surge pricing. The customer can then make an informed decision about whether they want to use the service or not."

A spokesperson for Uber said feedback for Upfront Pricing has been positive, however, adding that the new system aligns the service with other online booking tools such as flights or hotels.

The company said a message was loaded into Uber to appear when you opened the app informing users of the new pricing display.  Drivers were informed of the changes two weeks before the new system came into place and an email was sent to every registered Uber user in New Zealand.

What do you think of the change? Head to the Newshub Travel Facebook group to share your experiences.