MEMPHIS, Tenn. - A Memphis man claims an Uber driver charged him for a mess that he did not make inside the car.
The popular term for this around social media is “Vomit Fraud.” It happens when rideshare drivers falsely report vomit or another mess inside of a vehicle.
Zach Zitney told FOX13 it was just like any other Uber ride. He got into the car, sat in the backseat and made it home safely.
It wasn’t until an hour later that he received a message about a charge to his credit card.
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“They were basically like, ‘You owe $150 for messing up this lady’s car,’’ Zitney said.
Zitney said he regrets giving a five-star review to the driver that he said scammed him.
Along with the message saying he owed $150 for the damage, Zitney said he was sent a picture of a stained backseat.
“I was like, no that was definitely not from us. We were just in the car for 10 minutes,” he said. “How did they know that we were the ones that caused it? We were the next people in the car, but it could’ve been the last people in the car, their kids or someone else.”
Uber is not the only company experiencing these problems. Customers with Lyft – another popular rideshare app – have had similar issues with vomit fraud.
Zitney said Uber finally gave him a refund after he sent several emails explaining the situation.
Uber told FOX13 most of the cleaning fee reports from drivers are legitimate. If one turns out to be fraudulent, the company said it removes the driver from its app.
Lyft released the following statement regarding “vomit fraud” cases:
"We take damage disputes seriously. Lyft’s support team investigates each incident individually and makes a determination based on the evidence available, such as photos and statements from both the driver and rider."
Uber said they are looking into Zitney’s case and will determine the status of the Uber driver after their review.
“To me it’s just a ride home, but now I feel like they can do that or have the authority to do that… I’ll be more honest with my reviews,” said Zitney.
To prevent vomit fraud, the Better Business Bureau suggests taking pictures of the car when you get inside and after the trip for documentation purposes.
It is also a good idea to get a picture of the license plate.
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