Beware of Uber’s vomit fraud when booking a cab next time

According to some recent reports by top technology blogs, Uber drivers have been reportedly engaging in an activity called “vomit fraud”. Basically, Uber (and many other cab services too) allow their drivers to collect a fine of up to $150 if their customer creates a mess in the cab (such as puking).

However, we aren’t talking about the occasional real puke or vomit here, drivers are reportedly exploiting this feature to fraudulently claim a “cleaning fee” even when no such thing was done by a customer.

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For instance, according to this Gizmodo report a Miami resident was recently fined twice fraudulently for this. And whilst you might recover this fine by engaging with their customer care and maybe exchanging several emails with them, the process is almost infinitely tedious and there isn’t a guarantee that you may get your money back.

To make things worse, as per this Mashable report, a tech savvy driver may also photoshop a fake picture of a puke and provide it as evidence thus making your chances of recovering the fine almost zero.

The practice has become so rampant that the drivers are openly admitting doing this on social media platforms and treating it casually. From the linked Mashable report:

>> “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.”

I don’t know what could be the solution to this other than some basic “street-smartness” by customers and maybe the built-in review system. If drivers who indulge in such fraudulent behavior are reported frequently and called upon by customers in their reviews, that should ideally purge the system of bad drivers in the long-term.

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