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Uber Accused of Intentionally Overcharging Passengers by Millions of Dollars

Uber is skimming over $7.4 million per month from passengers in New York City alone, according to a class action lawsuit filed Wednesday.
Image: Car-sharing service app Uber
The logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone over a reserved lane for taxis in a street is seen in this photo illustration taken in Madrid on Dec. 10, 2014.Sergio Perez / Reuters, file

Uber is skimming over $7.4 million per month from passengers in New York City alone, according to a class action lawsuit filed Wednesday.

Under the company's "upfront" pricing model, unveiled last summer, customers are shown an estimate of the ride's final cost before they confirm the booking.

But that price, shown and charged to riders, is based on a longer and less efficient route than the one used to calculate the fare in the driver's Uber app, "in order to charge the rider a higher fare and pay the driver a lower fare," the suit said.

The result is that Uber overcharges Uber X riders by $2 per trip more than the actual trip's cost and that "Uber simply pockets the difference," said the class action suit, filed by Brooklyn resident Jacqueline Gayed. A similar class action suit was filed by California drivers in April.

Uber spokesman Alix Anfang told NBC News in an email that the company couldn't comment on pending litigation.

Related: Uber Admits Stiffing NYC Drivers by Millions of Dollars

The company's combination of technological prowess and aggressive business practices have resulted in a flurry of recent negative headlines.

The new suit was filed just a day after Uber admitted it had underpaid New York drivers millions of dollars in commissions and committed to paying back at least some of what they were owed.

An Uber whistleblower last December sued the company for allegedly using the company's computers to invade customers' privacy, secretly tracking celebrities, political figures and ex-spouses.

Uber told NBC News that the "majority" of employees don't have access to customers' private information and that it takes user privacy and trust "very seriously."

In late February, video surfaced of CEO Travis Kalanick arguing with an Uber driver who told the executive falling fares had reduced driver income below minimum wage. Kalanick later apologized for the video in an email to his staff, saying he was "ashamed."

In early March, following a New York Times investigation, the Department of Justice announced it was looking into Uber's use of a secret tool called "Greyball" that showed local regulators dummy versions of its app in order to evade scrutiny.

In a statement to NBC News, Uber said Greyball was used for "many purposes" including marketing, fraud prevention, and protecting drivers from physical harm.