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There are many ways Uber drivers can “scam” passengers. We know not all drivers are guilty of these, but it is always helpful to be aware of the possibilities and take precautions as a passenger to avoid being caught in a scam.
One of the most common scams we have heard of is a driver starting a trip without picking up the passenger. How this works is the driver pretends to pick you up, drives around for a bit (perhaps in the direction of the destination you were trying to reach), and then eventually stops the trip. If you think about it, this seems like something pretty easy to do. The driver could pretend they were driving you, and then cash in for a trip they did not give.
However, most passengers would catch on to this quickly. In the passenger app, it would show that the trip was started, and the person would likely not be able to request another ride if they wanted to. If you see your Uber driver passing, make sure to flag him/her down before they can pretend to drive away without you.
Similar to the first scam, drivers could potentially state that you did not show up for your ride. When a driver arrives at your pick-up destination, the Uber app automatically starts a timer that goes off in a determined number of minutes. If the rider does not show up during the designated time, the passenger is charged a “no-show” fee.
Sometimes, this happens on accident when a passenger requests a ride in a place where rideshare pick-ups are not welcome. The app will register automatically that the driver has arrived, even if he/she is unable to stop. However, it can be a way for a driver to cash out by purposely passing the pickup destination and never officially starting the trip or picking up a passenger.
One way to avoid this no-show fee is staying on top of your driver. If you see your driver passing your location, try contacting them through the app and determine if there is a better spot to meet around the block. Most drivers will not do this on purpose and they likely passed you because there was no place for them to legally stop.
Hear an Uber driver's take on the no-show fee here.
Uber has a policy that states that if a passenger vomits or makes a mess in the driver’s car, they are eligible to charge the passenger a clean-up fee, provided they have photo evidence of the occurrence. This policy was put into place for obvious reasons – to compensate drivers for having to pay to get their car cleaned.
However, some drivers have found a way to falsify these charges, and wrongly charge passengers when in fact there was no damage made. The term was creatively coined vomit fraud.
One way this happens is that one passenger makes a mess in a car, and the driver not only charges them for it, but charges a few other passengers who they rode with that night as well. They might take the photo of the mess from a few different angles to disguise as multiple instances. Some passengers do not check their bill very intently and may not notice a charge appear. Others will see the charge be added to their account, notify Uber, and get a refund.
As a passenger, always check your trip receipts and credit card charges to make sure you are never wrongfully charged for this. If you see a suspicious “cleaning fee” contact Uber right away and explain that it was a false accusation.
Have you ever been scammed by an Uber driver? Leave us a comment below!