Are Uber drivers using fake vomit to scam customers?

Uber drivers are using a fake vomit scam to force customers to pay hundreds of dollars in ‘clean up’ fees, a passenger claims.

Meredith Mandel had caught an Uber home to Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York, with her boyfriend and a friend after enjoying dinner out, the Gothamist reports. The ride, which was uneventful, ended at just before 1.30am.

uber.fake.barfBut when Mandel, who says she and the rest of her party were sober, checked her e-mail the next morning, she discovered she’d been charged more than $200 for the two mile trip from Fort Greene.

After challenging Uber over the extortionate fee, she was told that a $200 cleaning charge had been added to her $19 fee after the driver claimed she had thrown up in the car.

He even provided photographic evidence – all of which Mandel insists is fake.

‘I was infuriated, because I realized that it actually is a scam,’ she told The Gothamist. ‘At first I was trying to actually give them the benefit of a doubt, but I realized [it] because all of the money goes to the drivers.’

The Manhattan art director began picking apart the driver’s claims, stating that the pictures showed vomit in the front seat while she and her fellow passengers had been sat in the back. she was also suspicious that the throw up seemed contained to easy-to-clean plastic surfaces.

Mandel, who temporarily closed her Paypal account, was still mid-dispute with Uber when she realized the driver had even attempted to take a second $200 installment.

And it appears she isn’t the only Uber customer to be fall victim to the alleged scam.

Last year, another New Yorker, who is only referred to by his first name as Billy, described a similar scenario.

Billy writes that he was eventually able to get his money back but other incidents have been reported across the United States including one in Los Angeles and two in Tampa, Florida that resulted in the driver getting fired.

Uber say that passengers who soil driver’s cars are charged a cleaning fee and are sent an explanation of the charge.

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About Douglas Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time