It looks like Uber rides just got a lot more expensive.
A new ride-hail scam is hitting the news and, if you’re not careful, it’ll hit your wallet, too. It’s called “vomit fraud,” and it’s as awful as it sounds.
According to the Miami Herald, which spoke with several passengers about the particularly soggy shakedown in question, it works like this: After completing a ride, a diver fraudulently reports the passenger to Uber as having thrown up in the car. The driver may submit faked photos as some chunky icing on the disgusting scam-cake.
The rider, unaware this has gone down, later discovers that a cleaning fee ranging from $80 to $150 has been charged to their account. After all, if a passenger actually does vomit in a car, we can all agree that the driver is entitled to compensation — both for the driving time lost and the cost to clean up the mess.
“lol vomit fraud is the oldest trick in my book”
But we’re not talking about the occasional real puke that passengers definitely do leave behind. We’re talking about a scam where drivers allegedly file a false report in order to pocket the hefty cleaning fee.
One Uber customer, William Kennedy, told the Miami Herald that he’d been hit with the scam two times on the same night.
“It was a total fraud by two different drivers,” the paper quotes him as saying. “They have everything planned for the fraud.”
And while this may sound like pretty garbage behavior, an Uber driver subreddit suggests that not everyone looks down on the practice.
“lol vomit fraud is the oldest trick in my book,” one Redditor — with a history of ride-hail related posts — wrote in r/uberdrivers. “I’ve successfully done it many times when [passengers] are rude, slam my doors, or make me wait too long. Makes them learn the hard way.”
Another, using a slang term for rude passengers, suggested a general lack of sympathy for those defrauded by this scam.
“Gosh, with all the Uber paxholes claiming drunk drivers, I can’t believe Uber drivers can finally get even,” read the post. “Get me a beer so I can cry into it.”
So, yeah, it’s more than possible that Uber drivers are running this scam on unsuspecting passengers. However, another suggestion was put forth on r/uberdrivers: passengers are stupid.
“I bet these dumb fucks contesting the charges dont even remember what happened,” read the post. “I’ve had 3 different pax joke about the cleaning fees they were hit with for vomit that they vehemently denied doing only to be sent pictures and going ‘ohhhhh yeaaahhhh, heh, that was a funny night.'”
In other words, yeah, some drivers do it. And, if they don’t, they should be able to. Or, if that’s not the case, then this is all the passengers’ fault for being drunk idiots. Sounds great.
So make sure to check your Uber bill after each ride going forward, or you may end up with a nasty surprise at the end of the month.