Uber passenger refunded disputed $80 cleaning fee

Uber says it has no way of knowing who is telling the truth about who left the bottles in the taxi. Photo / AP
Uber says it has no way of knowing who is telling the truth about who left the bottles in the taxi. Photo / AP

A woman who was charged an $80 cleaning fee by Uber was sent a photo of beer bottles as proof of the mess left behind.

However, the woman says the bottles were not hers and has challenged the company.

Uber says it has no way of knowing who is telling the truth about who left the bottles in the taxi. It will however "always listen to both sides" of the story and has refunded the money.

Auckland woman Makere Edmonds-Phillips booked a ride from Te Arawa St in Orakei to the Rydges Hotel in Federal St early on Sunday morning.

Makere Edmonds-Phillips was charged an $80 cleaning fee for a mess she says she didn't make in an Uber taxi. Photo / Facebook
Makere Edmonds-Phillips was charged an $80 cleaning fee for a mess she says she didn't make in an Uber taxi. Photo / Facebook

She and her flatmate shared the ride to the city, which cost $17.71.

But about four hours later she received an email saying an $80 cleaning fee had been added to the bill.

"I checked my history the next day and I saw $97 and I thought 'oh my gosh.' I checked my email and saw he'd charged us an $80 cleaning fee."

The original charge for the ride from Orakei to the city was just under $18. Photo / supplied.
The original charge for the ride from Orakei to the city was just under $18. Photo / supplied.

Edmonds-Phillips said she contacted Uber to find out why the fee had been added on, and was sent a photo of a mess "that we had apparently caused, but it's not ours".

She said she tried to explain the situation, and was told the money would be refunded.

"We treat the rider and driver experience seriously and will take appropriate steps in response to feedback," an Uber spokesman said.

"We handle cleaning fee claims on a case by case basis and will always listen to both sides."

According to company policy, an $80 cleaning fee will be charged for vomit and larger food or beverage spills on fabric or other hard-to-clean surfaces inside a vehicle.

Photographs provided by the Uber driver show two empty beer bottles and a small amount of liquid on the floor and seat.

Photos were provided by an Uber driver after a woman was charged an $80 cleaning fee.
Photos were provided by an Uber driver after a woman was charged an $80 cleaning fee.
Photographs provided by the Uber driver show two empty beer bottles and a small amount of liquid on the floor and seat.
Photographs provided by the Uber driver show two empty beer bottles and a small amount of liquid on the floor and seat.

Edmonds-Phillips said she and her friend did not have anything in the car other than their handbags.

She's used Uber before about 20-30 times, and said Sunday morning's incident was the first bad experience she'd had.

"It kind of put me off Uber."

She said she didn't blame the company, but was unhappy with the driver.

"I only had a clutch bag - nothing else. It really annoyed me how he took a photo of beers that didn't even belong to us. I don't know why he would've done that."

"For all we know it could've been someone after us."

- NZ Herald

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