Uber passengers accuse drivers of £110 ‘vomit fraud’
Customers stung with cleaning fees after journeys say photographs of ‘mess’ in cars are being staged
UBER drivers have been accused of spraying liquid over the back seats of their cars in order to charge customers unwarranted cleaning fees. British us- ers of the ride-hailing app have shared their experiences on social media after the “vomit fraud” scam was first exposed by Uber passengers in the US.
Victims receive mobile phone notifications saying that an “adjustment” has been made to their bill for cleaning. The costs can range from £15 for vacuuming, up to £115 for “significant quantities of body fluids (urine, blood or vomit) in the interior of the vehicle.”
When the passengers complain to Uber, the company sends photographs, taken by the drivers, of what it has
been told is liquid or vomit on the seats. However, customers have claimed the photographs are being staged by dishonest drivers. Uber has refunded those customers who shared complaints on social media.
Ellouise Dennis, 22, from Woodford, east London, says she fell victim to the scam after an Uber ride home with two friends after a night out in April. The teaching assistant said she received a £110 bill the morning after the trip.
“I was in shock because we did not have any food or drink in the Uber,” she said. “I asked for picture proof and they sent me a picture of what looked like porridge on the back seat and the driver said it was us. In the end I put it on Twitter and within half an hour they messaged me saying they were going to give me my money back.”
After a 20-minute journey home, Grace Prosser, a university student, received a notification from Uber saying a £110 cleaning fee had been charged for the “sick” in the back of the car.
“I suggested they take a good look at the photo and advise how two passen- gers could sit on the back seat and make so much mess,” she said. “I sent three further messages over the course of the weekend, with no reply, and finally received a response advising that I would be reimbursed as they had taken another look at the mess. No apology, no explanations.”
Both women said they now take before and after photos of the state of vehicles in case they get accused again.
An Uber spokesman said: “The Uber app is based on mutual respect for riders and drivers. For licensed drivers who use the app, their vehicles are their place of work and any damage or mess can mean they are unable to continue working.
“When a driver claims a cleaning fee, they are required to provide details of the trip, the passengers and the incident, as well as photographic evidence and a validated cleaning receipt, which our support team then investigates. We are constantly evaluating our processes and technology related to these claims and will take appropriate action whenever fraud may be detected.”
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