RALEIGH (WTVD) --Uber rides are usually quick and convenient, so how does a 5 minute ride turn into over $100.00 worth of charges?
Lauren Bridges was picked up on West Davie Street by an Uber driver and taken 1.26 miles to Vernon Haywood Circle in Raleigh.
"We were like, let's just take an Uber so we don't have to pay for parking," Bridges said.
The total Uber ride took a total of 4 minutes and 54 seconds and it cost $4.80.
"Two days later I woke up to an email saying I owed $100 for a cleaning fee," she said.
According to Uber, the cleaning fee was because Bridges made a "mess" in the car that caused the driver to get the vehicle cleaned.
The email reads:
"We recently learned from your driver about an incident with your recent Uber trip that resulted in a mess that caused your driver to take the vehicle to get cleaned. Because of this, we do need to charge a cleaning fee to compensate for the time and charges incurred. You can check out http://t.uber.com/cleaning-fee for more details on our cleaning fee policy. Sorry about the trouble around this extra charge, but hope you understand that policies like this are in place to protect the drivers we partner with and provide you with the best service we can."
She immediately reached out to Uber.
"My ride was 4 minutes and 54 seconds and Uber accused me in that time of getting from Boxcar to where I was going, 1.26 miles away, and stopping at a gas station for water and having a male help me," Bridges said.
So Bridges reached out to me and I drove Bridges' Uber route and found that there were no gas stations along the way.
"After telling Uber I was doing an interview with ABC11, they have refunded my money, they have offered no explanation of what happened," Bridges said. "And I really pressed them for that, and they told me my case was closed and they no longer could discuss that with me."
Bridges' complaint is not unique. A quick search with the Better Business Bureau and we found more than a dozen customers, all claiming they were wrongly charged a cleaning fee. Some riders said they were charged as much as $200 for something they claim they didn't do.
I reached out to Uber for an explanation, but no one got back to me. According to their website, a cleanup fee for cosmetic or physical damage to the interior or exterior of the vehicle incurs because of vomiting or pet accidents. The fee will range between $50 to $200.
As for Lauren, even though she got her $100.00 back she said she thinks there should be changes to Uber's cleaning fee.
"From my research, I see clear loop holes in Uber's policy. They don't require the drivers to submit a receipt for the cleaning, and it sounds like you can get a picture on the internet of someone who has thrown up in the back of a car, you can claim it to be yours and think that is the biggest issue, Uber is not requiring a receipt," Bridges said.
The best advice, keep all receipts and while it may sound odd, try to take a picture of the car before and after you ride so if they try to charge you, you have your own proof.
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