Vomit fraud: How Uber drivers are stinging customers with a rip-off 'clean-up fee'

Woman in Uber angry
Passengers are being stung with the surprise fees for vomit and other nasties. Photo credit: Getty

Overseas Uber riders have been experiencing a nasty surprise when checking their credit card bills, and are urging other riders to be vigilant in the face of 'vomit fraud'.

The scam, in which Uber drivers collect a clean-up fee for non-existent vomit - or other unsavoury bodily fluids, has been growing in popularity in the UK and US, the Guardian reports.

Drivers will allegedly send reports of drunken behaviour to management - including fake photos of vomit to corroborate their claims. Uber then reportedly adds an automatic 'clean-up fee', anywhere from US$100 to US$180, without checking with the customer to see if it is warranted.

A South Florida Uber driver told the Miami Herald that she has heard of many drivers getting away with vomit fraud because many passengers never check their credit card statements.

Victims of the scam told the newspaper Uber was difficult to communicate with in the wake of the charge. While one rider had her money returned and her account cancelled by the company, an el Nuevo Herald journalist had a particularly bad experience.

After requesting an Uber for a ride to the airport, the driver never showed up, so she cancelled that request and asked for another. When she checked her email the next day, she learned Uber had charged her US$16 for the trip that never took place, US$6 for cancelling it and a US$150 clean-up fee.

When she complained, Uber sent her an email saying the driver "reported an incident during the trip" and attached two photos of the alleged vomit in a car seat.

Passengers took to Twitter to express their disappointment in the way the company is handling the on-going fraud.

Business Insider reports Uber is looking into the fraud reports, with a spokesperson saying they "will take action to remedy them".