You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

Uber Mistakenly Charged a California Couple Nearly $30,000, Left Them With 'No Money' in Another Country A romantic vacation turned into a nightmare.

By Madeline Garfinkle

Key Takeaways

  • After being charged in U.S. currency in another country, Uber and the couple's bank are engaged in a blame game.
  • The couple believes that social media played pivotal role in expediting the charge reversal.
entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Douglas Ordonez and Dominique Adams had envisioned a romantic and unforgettable vacation to reaffirm their vows. Instead, they found themselves trapped in an unexpected financial pinch.

Having eagerly planned to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary in Guatemala, the couple was left penniless in a foreign country due to an Uber charge of nearly $30,000, KTLA reported.

Adams' video recounting the nightmare experience went viral with over nine million views on TikTok.

The ordeal began when Adams, who was in Costa Rica, hailed an Uber to the airport, intending to meet her husband in Guatemala.

"I took an Uber, everything was fine," Adams told the outlet. "It was like a 30-minute ride. I didn't think twice about it."

However, as soon as she arrived at the Costa Rican airport, her husband frantically called, saying his card had been declined while attempting to purchase coffee. The 30-minute Uber ride had resulted in a charge of nearly $30,000.

"I sat down and looked at what the heck was going on, and that's when I noticed the $29,000 charge on our account," Ordonez told KTLA. "I didn't believe it at first, but obviously, it was actually true."

When converted to U.S. dollars, ₡30,000 of Costa Rican currency, colones, amounts to about $55 in U.S. dollars.

The Uber ride was mistakenly processed as $30,000 in U.S. currency instead of colones, with Uber blaming the couple's bank for the conversion error, leading to a frustrating back-and-forth between the bank and Uber about the issue's origin and the security measures that failed to catch it, according to the couple.

Although the bank informed the couple they could dispute the charge, it would take seven to ten days to resolve the issue.

With limited cash and no access to their account, the couple was forced postpone their vow renewal and had to make do with the meager cash they had brought along, scrimping and saving throughout their vacation.

@dominique.xo.xo Trying not to let this ruin the remainder of my trip, but…. Yes! @Uber charged me $29,994 for a single ride! Correct conversion should have been $54, but was charged 600% more. Contacted Uber: They replied w/ "Do not worry", but did not provide any further assistance I cannot find a customer service number anywhere. They have ignored my messages & I have only received pre-generated messages. Yes, I contacted my financial institution @Altura Credit Union immediately. They said there is nothing they can do about it at the moment as I have to wait another 4 days for the amount to possibly convert to the correct amount. Cannot believe they allowed a payment of this amount to process. Failed security measures & negligence. So now I am on a trip out of the county with no way to access my funds Pray for me Just trying to enjoy my vacation ##emotionaldamage##horrorstory##uberscam##uber##fyp##viral##travelhorrorstory##wtf##traveltiktok ♬ Song Oh no oh no oh no no no - Hip Hop

After four arduous days and countless phone calls, the charge was finally reversed. Adams believed that the social media attention they garnered played a significant role in expediting the resolution.

She stated, "Personally, I believe it's because we posted it on social media. We were sharing our story. I think that's why there was that urgency for someone to fix this."

Uber issued a statement acknowledging the mistake and attributing it to a bank error in processing the charge, and noted the refund processing time was contingent on individual bank policies, per KTLA.

Entrepreneur has reached out to Uber for comment.

Madeline Garfinkle

News Writer

Madeline Garfinkle is a News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate from Syracuse University, and received an MFA from Columbia University. 

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Resumes & Interviewing

Build a Better Resume with This $35 Subscription

AI Resume Builder promises to help you apply to jobs twice as fast.

Side Hustle

He Took His Side Hustle Full-Time After Being Laid Off From Meta in 2023 — Now He Earns About $200,000 a Year: 'Sweet, Sweet Irony'

When Scott Goodfriend moved from Los Angeles to New York City, he became "obsessed" with the city's culinary offerings — and saw a business opportunity.

Marketing

I Got Over 225,000 Views in Just 3 Months With Short-Form Video — Here's Why It's the New Era of Marketing

Thanks to our new short-form video content strategy, we've amassed over 225,000 video views in just three months. Learn how to increase brand awareness through short-form video content.

Business News

Samsung Makes 6 Day Workweeks Mandatory for Executives as the Company Enters 'Emergency Mode'

Samsung said its performance "fell short of expectations" last year. Now executives are required to work weekends.

Productivity

6 Habits That Help Successful People Maximize Their Time

There aren't enough hours in the day, but these tips will make them feel slightly more productive.

Leadership

You Won't Have a Strong Leadership Presence Until You Master These 5 Attributes

If you are a poor leader internally, you will be a poor leader externally.