On Your Side: Customer warns of ‘vomit fraud’ with rideshare app

Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 5:14 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Here’s a scam warning if you use ride-share services like Uber and Lyft.

It’s coined as ‘vomit fraud.’ There are several reports across the country about it. A rider reached out to On Your Side, stuck with an $80 cleanup fee and vows she did not get sick.

Trish Curran lives in St. Louis. She was in Springfield to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Then got an unexpected stomach-turning bill.

“We were trying to do the right thing by making sure we were not drinking and then driving. And then this happens,” said Curran.

Curran and her friends were headed to a hotel for the night.

“Got in the car, everything seemed fine. Had a nice conversation with this driver. She told us about her life. Talked about her daughter,” said Curran.

She paid for the ride and tipped the driver.

“About 10 minutes later, I received a chat from support that said the driver reports there’s damage to her vehicle, and you’re the last known person who requested a ride. There were two photos of what looked like to be vomit in the car,” she said.

Her $18 ride jumped to a $98 ding, stuck with a cleanup fee.

“I’m a 45-year-old professional woman. I’m not going to be puking someone else’s car. I’ve asked for the original photos, five or six times to check them out and to see when these were taken. They won’t give them to me,” she said.

She got an email saying ‘no adjustments will be made to this claim.’ That was about one month ago. On Your Side reached out to Lyft on Monday and got results.

The company gave us this statement:

“We take damage disputes such as these very seriously. Lyft’s support team investigates each incident individually and makes a determination based on the evidence available, such as photos and statements from involved parties. After further investigation, we have refunded the rider.”

“I was happy they were taking it seriously, and it indicated in the voicemail I got they were going to review the way they handle these. After they researched it a little more, this driver had quite a few damage claims,” said Curran.

Lyft waived all charges. The damage fee, ride fare, and tip.

Advice to dodge the ‘vomit fraud’ scam

-Take a photo of the inside of the car before you get out.

-Pay with a credit card so you can dispute the charges.

-Check driver reviews.

If you still can’t get a refund, file a complaint with the Attorney General and Better Business Bureau.

To report a correction or typo, please email digitalnews@ky3.com

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