How far will someone go for a couple hundred bucks?
According to Meredith Mandel, her Uber driver was willing to stage a vomit scene in his car. Gothamist reports that she was charged a $200 cleaning fee when an Uber driver, named only as Muhammad, accused her of making a foul mess in the vehicle. Mandel claims that she did no such thing, and neither did her two companions. She instead alleges that he intentionally staged the scene to collect money. She has since complained to Uber, which has refunded her and says it will take “appropriate actions,” and she has sworn off the company in favor of competitors.
Muhammad said that Mandel and the two other passengers were drunk. Mandel refutes that claim, saying that none of them had enough to drink to be intoxicated after their two and a half hour dinner. She adds that the pictures he provided as evidence don’t add up for multiple reasons.
The mess is confined to easily cleaned parts of the car, such as the plastic dashboard and floor mat. It can also be seen in the front of the car and on the driver’s side door, though Mandel says they had all been sitting in the back seat. Additionally, the color of the spill didn’t make sense considering what they each ate for dinner immediately before being picked up.
Multiple accounts of similar accusations can be found around the web. Uber riders tend to think these incidents are scams rather than mistakes, likely because the cleaning fee goes directly to the driver. There have also been various viral stories about Uber drivers treating customers disrespectfully, which doesn’t help the image of the group as a whole.
Uber responded to the incident in a statement to Gothamist: “We want riders and driver to treat each other with consideration and respect which is why riders who create a serious mess in a driver’s personal car can be charged a cleaning fee. If a rider is wrongly charged a cleaning fee, we investigate the circumstances and then provide a refund, which is what happened in this case.”