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Rideshare Service Uber Under Fire For 'Surge Pricing'

WEST HOLLYWOOD ( — Some Angelenos are steamed after they say rideshare service Uber hit them with massive charges.

Mar Vista resident Lauren Gural thought she was being responsible when she booked uberX, which is Uber's lower cost, non-luxury type vehicle.

"We had a couple of drinks, and we didn't want to drive, so we left my car at the party and ordered an Uber," Gural said.

Gural says when she got home, she learned her 17-mile, 23-minute ride from Echo Park to Mar Vista cost approximately five times more than she expected.

"I saw it said $161," she said. "I was dumbfounded."

Uber says this is their busiest time of year and it uses something called "surge pricing" as an incentive for more Uber drivers to get out on the road when demand is high.

In a statement, Uber spokesperson Andrew Noyes said, in part, "Users are notified of and must acknowledge the elevated pricing with the app before they can request a car. As soon as demand falls or supply increases sufficiently, prices return to normal."

Uber sent Gural two screenshots after she complained about the price: one which showed where she would have accepted the higher fare, and another that asked her to type in the multiplier that would be used to calculate the surge pricing.

"I might have agreed to something, but I most certainly didn't type anything," Gural said.

After CBS2 contacted Uber, a community manager gave Gural a 25 percent refund.

Gural, however, says she'll never use Uber again.

"I'll just use something else in the future," she said.

An Uber spokesperson says Gural was not the only one to receive a partial refund, which are given on a case-by-case basis.

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