Updated: Uber calls what amounts to a 2-hour kidnapping an "inefficient route"

The customer was driven nearly 20 miles out of her way to a parking lot

By Sarah Gray

Published October 14, 2014 8:30PM (EDT)

Uber logo                (<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-320989p1.html?cr=00&pl=edit-00">360b</a> / <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/?cr=00&pl=edit-00">Shutterstock.com</a>)
Uber logo (360b / Shutterstock.com)

A woman was subject to a horrifying, two-hour-long Uber ride several days ago in Los Angeles, according to a ValleyWag report.

The woman, who wished to remain anonymous for her safety, told ValleyWag that she requested an UberX -- Uber's taxi alternative -- to take her home from a party. Instead, the woman was driven over 26 miles -- 20 miles out of the way -- for a total of 1 hour and 57 minutes, and ending in a dark parking lot. When the woman tried to exit the car, the driver allegedly locked the door. She was eventually driven home after she started screaming.

From ValleyWag:

"The next day, shaken, the passenger detailed her story to Uber. In response, she received only an 'automated' email reply apologizing for the 'inefficient route.' The passenger's fare was partially refunded, with no acknowledgement of the fact that she was basically briefly kidnapped (she's now dealing with the LAPD and an attorney). A day later, the remainder of her fare was reimbursed."

Since the incident, the woman told ValleyWag she has been staying at a hotel out of fear, because this "independent contractor" has her home address, which is scar as hell.

However, nearly as scary as the thought of being kidnapped by a ride-share app is Uber's total non-response to the incident. Salon has reached out to Uber for comment (as has ValleyWag and the Daily Dot), but has not heard back at the time of publication.

As the Daily Dot points out, Uber has had its share of sketchy drivers, or "independent contractors," who have committed such offenses as putting a blind passenger's service dog in the car's trunk, and kidnapping a drunk woman and taking her to a hotel.

Commenting on driver misconduct back in November of 2013, the company told Pando: “We’re a technology platform that connects riders and providers, so it’s not our job to investigate.” It does however suspend drivers when they are flagged.

Updated, 5:15 pm: A spokeswoman from Uber issued this statement to Salon:

"Early reports on this ride are inaccurate. Based on the information we have at this time, this driver called 911 to ask for assistance with an intoxicated rider who requested an extended trip. However, we have refunded the rider's trip and reached out to the rider for additional information."

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on innovation. Follow @sarahhhgray or email sgray@salon.com.

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Innovation Kidnapping Los Angeles Ride-sharing Silicon Valley Uber