Uber Drivers Are Allegedly Committing 'Vomit Fraud' Against Riders

Some Uber drivers have charged their customers with cleanup fees, even though the riders say they weren't sick and didn't vomit in the vehicles.

Backseat view of the inside of an Uber car during a ride.

When a customer rides in an Uber vehicle and gets carsick, drivers are afforded protections against having to pay for cleaning up their vomit. But some riders are now alleging that a group of drivers are committing “vomit fraud.”

If you’re an Uber rider yourself, the idea of a ride costing hundreds of dollars is enough to make you sick. But that’s what customers say happened to them.

Some riders allege that their recent drivers reported them throwing up inside their vehicles, even though they didn’t get sick at all during the ride. Drivers are seemingly lying about the incidents, going so far as to post fraudulent pictures of vomit inside their cars as “proof” that the riders made the messes.

Riders have made complaints about exuberant bills, some reaching as high as $150 for cleanup. And it seems that Uber is unable (or unwilling) to do much at all to fix the problem.

“With 15 million trips a day, Uber is unfortunately not immune to these types of incidents” involving vomit fraud, the company said in a recent statement.

Meanwhile, riders are left paying high bills for their trips, with some saying they had to send multiple emails in order to elicit a single response from the company. Only after Uber investigates the driver in question do they get reimbursed — but usually, the onus is on the rider to prove that they didn’t vomit.

Andrea Pérez of Miami is one such rider. After receiving a $98 cleanup charge for her ride, she messaged the company to explain she hadn’t vomited in the car at all.

“I immediately contacted Uber through the app. I told them that I was alone, sober, that I was not carrying any drinks and that it was impossible for me to have caused that damage,” she said. “But every new email from Uber came from a different representative and always favored the driver.”

The company never even reimbursed her. She filed a dispute for the charge with her credit card company, which resulted in Uber canceling her account.

To be fair, there are incidents in which Uber passengers have made drunken mistakes inside a driver’s vehicle. But regardless of what happened for some, Uber should make efforts to ensure fraud isn’t happening. When a customer says they didn’t vomit, that alone should be enough to warrant a thorough investigation, or at the very least, a response email. 

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