I am not a big user of Uber. It’s not that I have anything against them or Lyft or any of the other ride-share companies. I think that they definitely fill a niche – it’s just not one that I personally have a ton of use for. Even when I had a few Uber credits from writing a New Year’s Eve Uber codes post, I had a hard time using them all. I don’t drink alcohol (so don’t go out to many bars), and I live in the suburbs so if I need to go somewhere…. I generally just get in my car and drive there : -)
One time that we will use Uber
One scenario has been pretty useful for Uber – when we need to take one of our cars in to the shop. Previously we’d have had to play rotating car shuffle where we’d do something like drop off the car, have Carolyn take me to work, etc.
But a $5-6 Uber ride is a pretty good scenario for this, especially given the $15 monthly Uber credits that come from our new Platinum Card from American Express
[SEE ALSO: One bonus per lifetime? I just applied for a 2nd Amex Platinum card]
A strange Uber experience
So that is what we were attempting to do this morning. The ride into the shop went well. My wife drove to the shop, dropped off our van, and then Uber’d home. Shortly afterwards, they called and had the car fixed up, so she logged on and requested another Uber.
Right away something seemed off. Here is how Carolyn described it, in chat
- Hey so I contacted an Uber and it’s at least 10 minutes away and not moving on the map at all.
- Should I cancel and try another person or will it link me back to the same person?
- It’s finally moving on this direction. It sat there for a long time. We all thought he/she might be stopping by McDonald’s. 😉
- This driver is a doofus, I’ve seen her pass at least two streets that lead right to my house. She is taking some crazy back way. Now it looks like she’s turning around oh nelly. Heaven help me. 😊😉 OK I’m wrong she went all the way down to <redacted>. And now she’s even further away from my house then she was before. Any suggestions of what I should do? Is she like not coming?.
- Her ETA was 10 minutes about 15 minutes ago and she’s still not close to my house
- And according to the map this person keeps turning down random side streets versus taking any direct roads. It’s really weird I mean I know there’s a lag on the satellite so it’s not exactly accurate but still I’ve never seen someone take such a random roads to get somewhere
Would you have gotten in the Uber? Is this a scam?
So something seemed weird and we probably should have just canceled things
Again, here were Carolyn and my chat logs, with a few of my annotations / comments
- So that was really weird. and i probably just wasted 6 bucks on an Uber i didn’t take
- I was waiting at the corner for the car (PWaC: when we’re getting Ubers from our house many times we will walk down to the corner rather than picking it up from our house. I have no idea if this has any real impact or is more “security theater”), and a car pulls up that isn’t the right make or license plate. and a guy asks if i called for an Uber. and i said, yes but that isn’t the right car.
- And he said yeah, his car is in the shop and it’s a rental (PWaC: Another thing was that the name on the Uber account was definitely a female name but this driver was a male)
- He suggested i try to contact him through the app and it should ring on his phone.
- I tried that, and it seemed to. i said okay and then got in the car. but i just didn’t feel good about it, so I got right out
What do you think? Did she make the right call? Personally I think so – this was just one of our 8 travel safety tips that we posted about last week – Don’t hop into just any Uber or taxi.
I’m curious to see what others would have done in that situation, or what the best way is to contact Uber to report this driver. Unfortunately she didn’t get the car’s license plates
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Going against your gut is a bad plan. The driver made $6 for his trouble and you bought a $6 insurance policy against being injured. Good deal for both.
If you report this to Uber they will refund you the fare. Ive called a second Uber when the first was acting as strange. They both showed up at the same time. We complained to Uber and were refunded the first fare.
Turns out we weren’t charged
I would never get in an uber that doesn’t match the car/license/driver. If that happens, request support from uber. Cancel and re-request.
That being said, plenty of drivers will drive stupidly trying to get customers to cancel if they have another ride. They get penalized for cancelling, but can still collect some payment if the customer cancels late. So many play that game…
I’ve had this happen too when a 2-door car pulled up and the person was the female when the app clearly had a male as the driver. I’m pretty sure it is just their friend using their uber account. Probably because they failed some aspect of the uber hiring process and aren’t qualified to sign up and drive for them. I contacted uber about mine and was refunded for my ride, which really all I wanted was to inform them of this so that they could put a stop to it before something happened.
Wrong gender, wrong car, wacky route–there’s no way I would have gotten in that car. In fact, I would already have cancelled after watching the circuitous route to me for a few minutes, but if it had gotten to the point of the driver arriving I would not have gotten in, especially as a woman getting into a car unexpectedly driven by a man.
If I had cancelled and gotten hit with a cancellation fee, I would have emailed Uber customer support and said that I cancelled because the driver wasn’t driving directly to me. They have the driver’s trajectory, so they can see that he took a crazy route.
One way to authenticate the driver with near certainty would have been to ask him what name he’s driving under and what the *passenger’s* name is. If he gets both of those right he is almost certainly the driver that Uber matched to you. But still, there are just way too many red flags. If he drives that randomly getting to you, why would you expect him to drive less randomly once you’re in the car?
Your wife did the right thing. When your lizard brain senses danger, it’s a good idea to pay attention to it.
There’s known cases of fake Uber drivers picking up passengers (females) based on tell-tale signs – the passenger is waiting on the curb looking at her phone. Fake Uber drivers can be sex offenders trying to pick their next victim. BEWARE.
Trust your gut. Sure, it COULD have been legit, but when your spidey sense is tingling, listen. You made the right call.
This is probably an example of an approved driver loaning an account/phone to a friend or relative.
Not sure if the vehicle would be insured or if Uber would accept responsibility should something go wrong. Really no way of knowing who is behind the wheel and tapping the buttons on the phone.
That sounds like a pretty reasonable guess to me too but I still think it was the right move to not get in and report the driver
I had this issue in Baltimore. Called a Lyft at BWI to go downtown and we wanted an XL since there were 4 of us. The guy told the app he had a minivan but showed up in a corolla with a different licence plate. Gave a similar line about his car being broken and just not getting a chance to switch it in the app. I took a picture of the plate and car and reported it to get the difference in fare back.
Lyft’s safety team actually called me the next day to inquire and said they removed the driver from the platform for doing this. Got a refund for the fare difference a day later. Glad that it seems they take this behaviour seriously.
@Gino, after Uber added tipping I switched to Lyft, i know they had tipping before Uber but your experience is another example of why I use them instead. Much more customer focused, thanks for the example of this mentality.
Why would the tip implementation cause you to switch.
Uber drivers were giving 5.5 million rides a day as of a year ago and have given 5 billion rides in the time they’ve been doing this.
In that time I’ve heard dozens of people talk about things like “security theater” (great phrase, btw) but have yet to hear of one incident worse than a smelly car with dog hair in it.
Joe ,Uber drivers have actually shot people but I guess a smelly car with dog hair is much worse than getting shot .