Business Travel Travel Industry

Are Uber Scams Cheating Their Users?

Ride sharing apps should be pretty straight forward, right? You request a ride, they pick you up, drop you off, and you are charged for the distance and time. It’s simple in theory, but as Uber scams made news last week, the function is now under a microscope.  The driver can easily manipulate the story, being paid for services or fees never occurred, and leaving the customer in the dust with costly fines or bans. People using ride sharing apps should be aware of the potential scams and how to avoid them.

What Uber scams are you talking about?

The first scam is creatively called ‘vomit fraud’. Picture this. You’re picked up by an Uber and dropped off without a hitch. The next day you receive an email from Uber, notifying you of a $150 dollar “adjustment” due to damages from your recent ride. Included are images sent from the driver to Uber of vomit in the car. You know you didn’t spill anything, make a mess, and certainly didn’t puke in the Uber vehicle.  You email Uber to alert them of the false charges. Their response? The driver claimed it happened and has pictures of the mess. It quickly becomes a ‘he said/she said’ situation, and in most cases, without the passenger ability to ‘prove’ their innocence, they accrue the high priced fee.

Of course, if a passenger did vomit or spill inside of an Uber car, there should be an additional clean up fee. After all, the mess potentially lost the driver’s rides for the rest of the night, ultimately affecting their livelihood. And there should be a fee to clean up someone else’s mess. Uber has previously said, “the vast majority of cleaning fee reports are legitimately the result of someone making a mess in the car. In the instances where we find a confirmed case of fraud, we take appropriate action.” What has become the crux of the issue is some drivers taking advantage of this policy for their own benefit.

Another fraud technique is being charged for a ride you did not take. This can happen if the user request a ride and then cancels it. It still leaves the driver an opportunity to charge them for the ride. Ultimately, it can be pretty easy for the rider to never see these additional charges. After all, the user’s credit card is automatically charged for the service. If they aren’t checking their email or meticulously watching their bank statements, they may never see the charges. And the driver is hoping they won’t notice either.

Tips to stay safe and avoid ride sharing scams

Ride sharing services make sense when everything goes as planned. It’s when it comes to the sketchy drivers and scam artists that make them a potential minefield for fraud or even danger. Whether you’re using a ride sharing service for business, standard commute, or night on the town, there is always room to play it safe. Here are a few recommendations to stay protected and ensure you won’t be charged in the future.

  1. Regularly check your payment statements after a ride or cancelled ride.
  2. If you need to cancel a ride, take a screenshot of the cancellation page. If you are charged for the rise later, you can prove the charge is fraudulent.
  3. Ensure the car and license plate matches the car you requested. If it does not, do not get in the car.
  4. Take a pic of the car and license plate. Also the interior before and after the ride to avoid a vomit fraud charge.
  5. Ride in the back of the car to you can disembark from either side, as recommended by Uber.
  6. Share ride details with friends, call a friend during ride, or use a safety app like these.
  7. Use an intersection or nearby business as your destination if you are concerned about them having your address.


Read next:

Business Travel Travel Tips

Safety Tips for a Plane Crash

It’s been only a little over one week since Asiana Airlines’ Flight 214 tragic crash in San Francisco, and our thoughts certainly go out to all the passengers and victims’ families.

Although plane crashes are so very rare, it’s still been on my mind, and I found myself looking for a few safety tips, should any of us business travelers ever be in a position to need them. Here are a few I found interesting:

6 tips to remember in a plane crash

  • Seconds are valuable.  The more time you wait, the less chance for survival.  Before the aircraft takes off, passengers should count the number rows they are away from an emergency exit.
  • Though instinct may cause you to crawl, don’t do it.  Often, people will walk over, or even on you, preventing your exit from the plane. Come down the aisle staying low, with your head below the tops of the seat-backs, using the arm rests for support and following the path lighting until you come to the colored lights, which signals you are at the exit.
  • A Popular Mechanics investigation examined nearly four decades of data from a federal safety agency.  The magazine concluded the safest seats were in the back of the aircraft, and the least safe were in the front.
  • University of Greenwich professor Ed Galea, who is considered a leading expert on aviation safety, has found that the passengers most likely to get out of a downed plane are those seated within five rows of an emergency exit and those in aisle seats.
  • Stay calm
  • Once seated, have a plan in the event the plan goes down.

May we all have safe travels, and again, our hearts are with those directly affected by the tragic events of July 6.