The week has barely started yet, but we can already crown the worst corporate tweet of the week. A crisis is taking place in Sydney, Australia as an armed man holds several people hostage in a Lindt café. The busy district is in a lock-down and mass evacuations created an increased demand for taxi services. So Uber, the taxi service app, quadrupled prices and at one point charged a minimum fare of AU$100. According to Quartz, this type of surge pricing is automatic but the tweet from @uber_sydney that followed was not.
Of course, Uber was immediately slammed on Twitter for its cynic decision to charge a higher price during a crisis situation. Here are just a few reactions:
.@Uber_Sydney I will never use you service, you evil Goddamn corporation.
— Digitally Downloaded (@DigitallyDownld) 15 december 2014
@Uber_Sydney Seriously? How much more of an awful company could you be? — ❇The first Narelle ♫ (@Narelle_NZ) 15 december 2014
Uber soon had to backtrack to damage the PR disaster it had caused. A new tweet announced that rides out of Sydney now where free and that the company instead would refund passengers who had taken the expensive rides earlier this morning. A good move, but the damage to the company reputation had already been done.