COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Uber riders across the country are reporting receiving extra cleaning fee charges for in-car messes they say they didn’t make.
Crystal Parker, a kindergarten teacher from College Park, says on July 3 she took an Uber home from the grocery store and awoke to a $150 charge the next day. In an e-mail, Uber attached photos of the alleged mess caused by Parker. In several exchanges with Uber, the company accused her of urinating in the back seat.
Parker says the allegations are ludicrous. She is fighting the $150 cleaning fee and suspects drivers are reporting made-up damage or charging the wrong riders to make extra money.
“I was like that is absurd,” said Parker. “Because one – I wasn't even sitting behind the driver where the spill was, and two – I didn't urinate on myself.
“I tried to reason with them [in] five or six emails and they kept saying I understand how you must be feeling and I am like no you don't because if you did, you wouldn't believe this driver. It doesn't make any sense.”
In a statement, Uber told FOX 5, "Cleaning fees compensate drivers for the cost of cleaning up a mess made by a rider which includes lost time on the road. Drivers must submit a clear photo of the mess shortly after the ride. Claims are verified using a variety of methods."
When pressed, the company would not elaborate on the verification methods.
Riders have disputed similar cleaning fees in Philadelphia and Orlando. In one such case in Orlando, Uber admitted Thursday that they charged the wrong rider.
It may seem like a hassle, but to protect against untrue damage allegations, riders could take their own pictures before and after their Uber ride.
Uber says it is looking into Parker’s dispute of the cleaning fee. Fees can range from $80 to $150.