You’re in need of a ride and rent an uber, thinking that it should only take a few minutes for the Uber driver to get there. You sit there and wait for the driver to get there and continuously check the app, but all of a sudden the driver cancels on you randomly. So then you pick a different driver, only to have them do the same thing. The cycle continues until you finally find an Uber driver that is willing to pick you up but doesn’t want to put you on his meter. Instead, he closes the Uber app and wants you to pay him the money directly so that Uber doesn’t get a share of his profits. These are just a few examples of the many Uber scams that are out there.
What is Uber?
Uber is a ride-sharing company that hires people around the globe to drive passengers to and from their destination. Users create an account on the app, then choose the destination they want to go to. The driver then meets them there and picks them up, taking them to their requested location and dropping them off. The user can then choose to tip and rate the driver based on their driving or customer service. Their card is automatically charged once the trip is completed, and the profits are split between the driver and Uber.
However, with this ride-sharing app drivers have found ways to scam their customers and make a quick sneaky buck. Here are some scams that Uber drivers perform on a daily basis to cheat the system and steal your hard-earned money.
Types of Uber Scams
Turning Off the Meter Uber Scams
The driver turns off their meter and charges customers an under the table price. The driver then offers the customer a better price without Uber knowing, since they don’t have their meter on. That way, the driver gets to keep all the money and Uber doesn’t get its portion of it.
Far-Away Parking Scam
The driver tells their customers that they are there waiting for the customer when really they are parked quite a ways away from where the customer actually is. When the customer goes to find the Uber driver, the driver cancels the ride and leaves the customer with a $10 cancellation fee. This gives the driver free money and leaves the customer paying when they didn’t even receive a ride.
Messy Kid Scam
The driver notices that their customer has a kid coming with them, and uses that to their advantage to blame the mess in their car on the child. This happens when they drop the customer off, then create a fake mess in their car. The driver then takes a picture of the mess and sends the picture to Uber, where the app approves that the customer can be charged with an 85 dollar cleaning fee. Problem is that the customer and the customer’s kid did not create the mess in the vehicle, so they are paying the driver for nothing.
Surge Ride Uber Scams
Uber drivers wait for surge rides instead of accepting customers’ normal rate rides. Surge rides are when a driver has to go to heavier traffic areas to pick up their customers, and therefore get more money out of the drive. Since they get more money out of these rides, they ignore the customers in normal ride areas, leaving them to get a bunch of cancel notifications and going through an hour wait just to get an Uber driver to acknowledge them.
App Glitch Scam
The driver claims that their app isn’t working and crashed on them in the middle of the ride. He then insists that you pay cash for the ride you just received since he can’t charge the customer’s card due to the app glitch. The customer pays the driver, only to find out after the ride that their card had been charged as well.
“You’ve Chosen to Pay Cash” Scam
Once the ride is over, the driver insists that you chose to pay cash versus with your card and demands you pay them with cash. Once you pay them in cash, they drive away and your card gets charged anyways. The rider was fooled since there is no pay by cash option on the app.
Airport Ride Scam
As you wait for your Uber, people who claim to be from Uber also offer you a ride for a cheaper price. However, they don’t have the Uber sticker on their car or anything else that could prove they are an Uber driver. Turns out, most of the time they don’t work for any ridesharing company and just want to give you a ride to make money. This could be dangerous since there’s no way to track the driver if something were to happen to you.
Paying the Toll Scam
The driver takes you on a toll road and insists that you have to pay them extra for it. They demand you for more money until you give cash to them. The customer then looks at their Uber bill and sees it go up because of the toll road. What happens is Uber can detect you’re on the toll road and will charge you on your bill for the road. This allows for the driver to make back the money they would’ve spent on the toll road. Because you paid the driver extra, they now get double the money than he should’ve for the road.
How to Avoid Uber Scams
- Don’t pay your driver extra cash for any reason. All charges should be made via the Uber app on your card. If the driver is requesting more money on the side, they are trying to scam you.
- Don’t go in the car you weren’t assigned. You could be getting in the car with a kidnapper, or someone trying to make extra money off of you.
- Take a picture of where you and your child were sitting before leaving the vehicle. This will give you proof that none of you made a mess in the driver’s car, in case they try to charge you a cleaning fee.
- Report any suspicious activity to Uber. They will help take care of any scam charges the driver is giving you on the app, and will make sure that no rider is scammed by them again.
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