The scam originates out of a mandatory "cleaning fee" that Uber charges customers if they throw up inside a driver's vehicle.
The sham seems simple enough. As detailed by the Miami Herald, the Uber driver sends false photos of the incident to Uber management, who then initiates the fee. Uber's fees vary, as a spilled drink by passengers is $20, while vomiting in or on the car is between $40 and $80. If a passenger causes "significant amounts" of blood, urine, or vomit to affect the interior, a $150 fine is assessed.
In a statement sent to Business Insider, an Uber spokesperson said, "Participating in fraudulent activity of any kind is a clear violation of our Community Guidelines. We are constantly evaluating our processes and technology related to these claims and will take appropriate action whenever fraud may be detected."
The ride-hailing company could not give Business Insider an exact number of fraud claims, but said that most cleaning fee reports are legitimate and that when Uber does find a confirmed case of fraud, appropriate action is taken which includes the removal of the driver. Uber encourages riders to report any suspected cases of fraud immediately.
In a statement sent to el Nuevo Herald, Uber added, "With 15 million trips a day, Uber is unfortunately not immune to these types of incidents."
As noted by Uber's guidelines section of their website, vomiting can also lead to a loss of ridership and use of the ap. Uber's help-website says, "Riders are responsible for damage to the interior or exterior of a vehicle caused by incidents such as vomiting or food spills."
The Miami Herald reports of incidents where drivers work together to bring fees on a single customer to as high as $300. The report includes incidents of passengers being wrongfully kicked off the app following a false vomit submission sent by the driver.
On Twitter, some users expressed frustration with how the company's customer service department is handling complaints of vomit fraud.
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