Denied refund to passenger whose driver extended ride and used passenger phone to give himself a tip

After a passenger forgot her phone in a driver’s vehicle, the driver realized — and drove a lengthy additional route, plus gave himself a large tip. He also used the Uber app to file a complaint against the passenger and, using the passenger’s phone, wrote a fake response.

The passenger complained to Uber, which initially gave her a partial refund but then removed that refund. Uber later suggested that she contact local law enforcement, and only after she did so did Uber refund the charges (ultimately adding a gift card for a future trip).

Encouraged Argentinian users to pay via Bitcoin-backed credit card issued from Gibraltar

After credit card processors were ordered not to process payments for Uber in Argentina, Uber found a workaround. In particular, Uber encouraged Argentinian users to get credit cards from Xapo, a startup that issues credit cards that draw funds from a customer’s Bitcoins. Xapo issued cards out of Gibraltar and thus escaped the Argentinian injunction that targeted local credit card issuers.

Drivers in Nigeria use fake GPS to inflate fares

In Lagos, Nigeria, Uber drivers used apps to override phone GPS, causing Uber’s app to record a longer route than was actually taken and inflating the fares charged to passengers. Quartz reports many drivers inflating fares by 1000 to 2000 naira ($3 to $6), though some inflated far more than that.

Drivers reported using this tactic in response to Uber reducing the amount they were paid. They describe protesting unsuccessfully, and resorting to GPS trickery for lack of other ways to get the payment they thought they deserved.

Some drivers said Uber knew about their methods and allowed them to continue. One driver described the Uber app reporting “fake location detected” yet allowing the driver to proceed and charge an inflated fare.

Uber says it refunds all riders who report fraudulent activity.

Fuel Card duplicate charges

Uber provided some drivers with “fuel cards” usable for gasoline, carwashes, and other services, at a discount, with charges deducted from future Uber earnings. Multiple drivers reported duplicate charges. Representative quotes:

“Double charged for gas with Uber card. Same transaction. Exact same time and date stamp. You took double from my earnings…The rep last night said they have had multiple calls for this same issue. That it would be cleared up by midnight. Today it’s still not fixed and the rep said he couldn’t do anything about it! Uber this is unacceptable” (September 6, Facebook, Florida driver).

“Gas card is very funny…Something is fishy about how this card works. Once I was triple charged and no one caught on until I bought it to Uber attention and the fixed it. I no longer want to use card” (September 2017, YouTube, Curtis J.).

“I was looking over my transaction history and there is two gas card purchases. Same amounts/ days. I was charged twice for 1” (June 28, Twitter).

“Hey my uber gas card was charge 3 times at the same time and day, but different days each” (June 28, Twitter, Oregon driver).

“It’s been 4 days since I wrote to customer care to review my fuel card charges, there were duplicate charges on it and I was overcharged, I have sent screenshots of duplicate charges but so far I got only one reply yesterday with copy pasted text that has nothing to do with what I asked for.” (April 4, Facebook, New York driver).

Drivers reported heightened difficulty resolving the problems because Uber told them to contact FleetCor, which operated the fuel card program. FleetCor in turn told them to contact Uber.

Drivers also reported that Uber and FleetCor suggested that the drivers conduct their own investigations into the disputed transactions such as interviewing merchants and requesting refunds from merchants. Most drivers found these approaches untenable, particularly because the fraudulent charges could occur at distant merchants far from where the drivers lived.

A further challenge for drivers is that many did not know how to contact FleetCor. The Uber-provided FleetCor card does not include a customer service phone number. Drivers would need to find the number in the original card materials that provided in an envelope along with the card — easily overlooked or discarded.

An October 5, 2017 report from The Capitol Forum (paid subscription required) analyzed these concerns and tabulated these and numerous additional driver complaints.

Fuel Card charged drivers for unauthorized purchases; Uber refused to investigate

Uber provided some drivers with “fuel cards” usable for gasoline, carwashes, and other services, at a discount, with charges deducted from future Uber earnings. Multiple drivers reported unauthorized charges posting to their cards.

When drivers reported the problem to Uber, Uber told them that records indicated that the charges were requested with the driver’s PIN, so Uber declined to investigate or look up the charges. (One Uber response: “We’re sorry for any inconvenience this has caused you. I have checked our system and it shows that your PIN Code was entered for each transaction that you have mentioned. Since your PIN Code is unique to your Fuel Card, it is not eligible to file a dispute.”) But some drivers found that charges could be made without PINs. Moreover, skimmers and concealed surveillance devices allow attackers to obtain driver card details and PINs without authorization.

Drivers who requested a phone number for the fuel card issuer — necessary to file police reports in some jurisdictions — were rebuffed by Uber, whose staff said they contacted the issuer only by email.

Drivers report never receiving terms and conditions for the fuel card, noting that no such terms were included in the postal envelope that delivered the card. Requests for the terms through Uber support and in-person visits to Uber local offices were also unsuccessful. However, fine print on the back of each card said drivers were bound by the terms.

Representative complaints from Uber drivers on online discussion boards and social media:

• “I do not use the Uber Fool Card”
• “Veteran drivers call it the Uber Fool Card.”
• “I should have never gotten that damn Uber fuel card.”
• “Just cancelled my Uber fuel card because it took a huge chunk out of my earnings for this past week and left me with nothing but chump change, which I spent on gas. I’m better off using my debit card to pay for gas.” (=

Some drivers explained in greater detail:

UBER SHOULD BE ASHAMED BECAUSE INSTEAD OF INVESTIGATING THEY ARE SIMPLY TRYING TO COVER THIS UP!,, I have been trying to get UBER to correct the fuel card issue but they only blew it off saying the excuse about the driver pin code which is the pin that can be cloned and UBER has had the same issues across the USA! They haven’t investigated a video I sent that showed the tall male of Caucasian or Hispanic descent using the card on a NON-UBER vehicle that was a totally different color.

My fraudulent charges are now totaling over $400. This all started on March 22 and I still have not been refunded! They keep telling me that they are waiting on the credit card company to finish their investigation. I have filed a claim with my local police department and they said since the fraud happened in another state they couldn’t do anything so I should file a complaint with the DOJ. In order to do that you have to have a phone number of the company you are filing a complaint against so I asked Uber to give me the credit card company’s contact info. They said that they didn’t have it and that they only dealt with them through email. You know this is a lie because how would they not have the contact info for a company they do business with.

An August 29, 2017 report from The Capitol Forum (paid subscription required) analyzed these concerns and tabulated these and 30+ additional driver complaints.

Passengers claim they were wrongly charged cleaning fees

Numerous passengers reported being charged cleaning fees, $50 to $150 or more, despite not making messes. Drivers can report that passengers caused messes (spilled drinks, urine, vomit, etc.) and receive compensation. But Uber has limited methods to assess whether drivers’ reports are accurate. Some passengers claimed that drivers sent false pictures or pictures taken on other occasions.

The Better Business Bureau said it has received more than 130 complaints about cleaning fees.

Details from CBS Philadelphia

Charged passengers almost $900 for a single ride

Milwaukee passengers accepted a 8.6 surge and a quoted price of approximately $200 to get to the specified destination. When they asked the driver to make other stops, he agreed. Uber calculated the adjusted route at $898 — a price which the passengers were never told about and never accepted. When the passengers complained, Uber said the charge was correct. The passengers pointed out that they could have rented a limo for the whole night, getting better service at lower cost.

Overcharged commissions to New York drivers

For New York drivers, Uber took its commission based on gross fares including state taxes, rather than net fares after deduction of taxes. The New York Times estimated that this overcharged New York drivers by more than $200 million — and increased Uber’s revenue by the same amount.

A subsequent New York Times analysis compared Uber’s tax and billing practices across jurisdictions, examining receipts to assess irregularities and comparing changing contract language to understand Uber’s shifting approach.