Uber in row over fake vomit complaints
If you’re given to feeling car sick, you might sympathise with the taxi driver responsible for ferrying passengers home after a big night out, especially if they’ve been hitting the bottle. But there’s no way a professional driver would take the trouble of faking a vomiting incident just to make a buck from the clean-up, is there?
Sadly, that’s just what some Uber passengers are alleging in the latest in a series of worrying complaints about the popular ride-share taxi business. In a report from the Gothamist, New Yorker Meredith Mandel states that a regulat Uber ride home to Brooklyn following a sober evening in the city with friends ended up costing her more than $200 for the two-mile trip.
The business of fakery
When tackled about the excessive fee, Uber countered that a $200 cleaning charge had been added to her $19 fee after the driver said she had vomited in the car. Photographic evidence was duly provided, though Mandel says it was faked to back up the driver’s story. She points out that the pictures show vomit in the front seat when she and her friends were seated in the back and that it only appears on the car’s easily-wiped plastic surfaces, not on the upholstery or carpets.
‘I was infuriated, because I realized that it actually is a scam,’ she told The Gothamist.
Mandel claims that she was still in dispute with Uber when the driver tried to take a further $200 payment form her account.
She’s not the only. Last year, another New Yorker, ‘Billy’, reported a similar situation in a Reddit post. In Billy’s case, he took a morning Uber ride across Manhattan, only to be landed with a $200 cleaning fee less than an hour later. Snaps were apparently provided by the driver but an online search showed that the actual source of the pictures was a 2014 post on another website.
Getting into gear
I both cases, the angry passengers eventually had their fees refunded but that’s hardly the point. Uber claims that customers who are charged a cleaning fee are always sent an explanation and a breakdown of charges; it says it will investigate if customers dispute the additional payments.
Most cab drivers don’t enjoy cleaning up after inebriated customers as it can take them out of action for hours but ripping off sober customers for a quick payoff is only likely to make people more wary about booking a ride home.
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