Home Ground Transportation (Bus, Lyft, Subway, Taxi, Train, Uber, etc.) Be Aware Of This New Uber Scam – It’s Called Vomit Fraud

Be Aware Of This New Uber Scam – It’s Called Vomit Fraud

by SharonKurheg

It’s sad to say, but it seems like we’ve come to an age where lying and cheating seem like good ways to get yourself ahead, regardless of the effect it has on others. The latest way it appears to be happening? Uber.

This is how they do it…

You request an Uber and the ride goes fine, without any mishaps. You exit the car, send the electronic tip and not long afterward, maybe in an hour, maybe the next day, you get a note from Uber with an extra bill of $20 to $150. You figure there must be some mistake, so you click the “Help” button on the app, and the reply from Uber is something to the effect of, ““I understand that it can be disconcerting to receive adjustments to the tariff after your trip ended … In this case, your driver notified us that during your trip there was an incident in the vehicle and therefore a cleanup fee of $XXX was added.” That “$XXX” can be anywhere from $20 for a spilled drink to $40 for vomit to $150 for  a “significant amounts” of blood, urine, or vomit that need to be cleaned up.

Except that it never happened. You were a 5-star, well behaved passenger who tipped well and definitely did not release any bodily fluids in the car. Not that it matters, because, according to this Miami Herald report, your Uber driver has already sent Uber a photo of the mess you allegedly made. Even though you never did it. But it doesn’t matter because according to Uber, it’s enough evidence to bill you so they can reimburse the driver for the time and money it will take to clean their vehicle. So the driver, who seemed so nice, just got another wad of money from you. Because he lied.

Some people don’t check their bill so they never even notice when they’re suddenly charged a $150 “clean up” fee for vomit that didn’t come out of them.

You can dispute the charge with Uber but the ride sharing company tends to side with the drivers, because they’ve shown photos of “proof.” And yeah, you can put the charge into dispute with your credit card company…and then find that your Uber account has been permanently closed.


Some passengers have won, and at least one person was released from his/her duties as an Uber driver after showing alleged messes that all looked exactly the same. In a statement sent to Business Insider, an Uber spokesperson said, “Participating in fraudulent activity of any kind is a clear violation of our Community Guidelines. We are constantly evaluating our processes and technology related to these claims and will take appropriate action whenever fraud may be detected.”

So I guess if you decide to use an Uber, maybe consider quietly taping your ride and holding the footage for a couple of days? You know…just in case. Personally, I’ve always been a little leery of Uber and generally only agree to use it when we’re out of town and don’t have access to a rental car or public transportation. Frankly, this “vomit fraud” thing doesn’t make me feel any better about utilizing the ride sharing company.

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christ July 26, 2018 - 8:39 am

so glad to hear this is a “thing” – it happened to me a few months ago in LA. uber refunded the fee after a couple of messages back and forth, but it was a shock to see the clean-up fee after a very amicable ride during which the young female driver and i had a very interesting conversation. just shows how deceptive appearances can be – she seemed like an honest, caring person.

SharonKurheg July 26, 2018 - 9:15 am

Oh wow, that’s a shame! I’m so sorry to hear it happened to you! 🙁

Aisha November 3, 2019 - 11:24 pm

I just experienced this today and it is very disturbing since my daily mode of transportation is either Uber or Lyft. I took a short ride with Lyft pool and was dropped home without incident. I noticed the $100.00 dollar charge right away as my credit card company messaged me as I have a fraud alert on my card due to Id theft and so contacted Lyft right away to dispute the charge.
After couple of texts with the support team I was told I would be emailed by a different department. Within 10 minutes I received an email informing me that they had reviewed the case and after an “extensive review” of the info provided by the driver no adjustments will be made. In other words my $100.00 loss. I refuse to let this go and want to do what I can to not only get a refund but also expose this unscrupulous driver but am at a loss as to what is possible at this time. Any guidance and suggestion will be appreciated.

SharonKurheg November 3, 2019 - 11:49 pm

I’m sorry to hear that it happened to you! We’ve, fortunately, not had it happen yet – although I make sure to always take a photo of the back of the Uber/Lyft before I leave the vehicle, just in case.

I have read potential victims ask for a copy of the photo with a date/time stamp so they can send it to their lawyer. Other than that, I suggest try Googling VOMIT FRAUD WHAT TO DO and go from there? Good luck!


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