Some Uber customers say they’re being taken for a ride, and not in a good way.
A customer contacted us claiming a driver wrongly charged him an extra $80 as a cleaning fee.
Uber says drivers are allowed to charge the fee if they submit proof, but the customer denies that it ever happened.
So what do you do if this happens to you?
We’ve learned that there are many other Uber customers around the country who have complained about getting charged for a cleaning fee.
The company tells us that it is looking into them, but we also got some tips on how you can protect yourself.
The customer did not want to be identified but tells us that his ride was supposed to cost $9.12. When he checked his credit card statement, the charge was $89.12.
“So I contacted Uber and they said that the driver had reported that I had made some kind of mess in their car and they had submitted a picture,” said the customer.
Uber sent us the pictures that the drivers sent as proof of the mess with trash and some type of liquid spilled on the back seat.
The customer says he’s sure he never spilled anything and if he did, the driver should have notified him.
“Before the person drove away, I would think that immediately he would say, ‘Hey, you damaged my car. You did something to my seat. You wet my seat. I can’t take anymore rides,'” the customer said.
We reached out to Uber and learned that it has received similar complaints. A spokesman sent a statement saying drivers must submit pictures of the mess as proof, and the fees compensate the driver for the cost of the cleanup and the loss of revenue.
The spokesman adds that the company is investing in additional resources when investigating cleaning fee claims.
Uber is also actively looking into reports where fraud may be detected. If fraud is determined, it will take the appropriate action which can include removing a driver’s access to the app.
We checked with the Hawaii Better Business Bureau, which referred us to the office in San Francisco, and learned that it received 182 complaints over Uber’s cleaning fees in the last three years. BBB says it gives businesses 10 days to respond to the complaints.
“If they do not respond to us, then that complaint closes as what we call ‘unanswered,’ and that could negatively affect their online business report, which we call the BBB business profile,” explained Jarrod Wise of BBB San Francisco.
Wise says 99 of those complaints have gone unanswered and has given Uber a grade of F, which is the worst.
BBB points out that you should always check your credit card statement for all charges, and it’s not a bad idea to take a picture or video of the car at the end of the ride and let the driver know.
We’re also checking with the state on what hotels and car rental companies are allowed to charge for similar incidents. We’ll let you know when we get that information.