Next time you take an Uber, particularly one after a night of bar hopping, you might want to double check your bill afterwards.
A scam has started to become somewhat prevalent on the ride-sharing network, wherein drivers will falsely accuse a passenger of vomiting in their car, sometimes even with falsified pictures, in order to collect a hefty cleaning fee, reports the Miami Herald. One of its reporters was even charged for a trip they never took on the service as well as a vomit fee for the same ride.
I remember reading a few accounts of this on Twitter a couple of years ago, but it appears as though the practice has gotten significantly worse, especially in the Miami area. And it isn't just an issue in the US - in January, a woman in Melbourne claimed she was wrongly charged a $150 cleaning fee.
As we can all (hopefully) agree, if a driver does need to clean up your vomit from their car, they deserve a decent chunk of change. It means that not only do they have to clean up a stranger’s vomit, but also they miss out on rides while they do that cleaning, and they have a car that smells like someone’s vomit.
When a driver reports someone for vomiting or making some sort of other mess, Uber pays them a cleaning fee that’s charged to the same credit card you paid for the ride with based on the amount of cleaning involved.
If you aren’t paying attention, then it’s a charge you might not even realise happened, since it comes after you receive your initial receipt for the ride. There’s a whole Reddit thread dedicated to talking about the practice.
The chances of it happening to you aren’t high, but like most things, it’s better to be safe than sorry. I personally recommend just checking your credit card statements on a regular basis, and not just for your Uber rides. I pull mine up every few days and look at recent charges, just to make sure nothing unexpected has happened.
I’ve never been charged for vomiting in an Uber, but I have been charged for stealing a hat from a hotel weeks after I checked out that was never in my room to begin with; a $100 tip for a server that was meant to be $10; and my personal favourite, a $5000 charge for a $500 hotel room.
Bottom line: Pay attention to your credit card statements and try to not spew in any Ubers.