Saturday, February 4, 2017

How to Overcome an Uber Scam

Louvain-la-Neuve, by night
When I was in the US, all the Uber and Lyft drivers I met were honest and professional. This may be also because of my limited experience with Uber or Lyft.

Arrived in Brussels airport (BRU), we got to know that the Uber is not allowed near the main entrance. So after ordering the Uber, we meet him at the car park level 3. From the beginning, he started insisting that we pay in cash or by credit card. I told him that does not make sense to me as we pay by the application and this would lead to a double payment. He said, he would cancel the ride and then we can pay. He explained that this would help him avoid paying commission to Uber. He told us that when we pay 60 euro to uber, all he gets may be 50 euro. He repeated in French and his broken English that he prefers cash, throughout the journey.

We met a friend in the university, and continued to our apartment in Louvain-la-Neuve. After making him wait till we locate the apartment and unload the luggage, we finally said good bye. He smiled and asked for a 5-* rating in Uber nicely. Since everything went well (and he did not force us to get out though we did not accept his demand by payment in cash or credit card), I told him, "Of course, sure". I also got his phone number, since he explained that Uber does not work in Louvain-la-Neuve (LLN) - This is true. I verified it myself.

This is where the scam begins. After dropping us and leaving, he continued his journey (probably a return to his home or Brussels) - as we saw in Uber app. We noticed he did not end the trip though we have already got down a few minutes ago. We did not know what to do now, as this was our first experience - usually the drivers ended the journey the moment we got down. We were contemplating should we call him and ask him what is going on? We were thinking shall we cancel the trip. Our worry was, what if we cancel the trip and he does not get even any money at all (which is bad, as we indeed have arrived at the destination). That is my lack of knowledge on how Uber works.

Eventually, we decided to cancel the trip, to avoid getting charged like 200 euro, as he continues his journey, pretending to be riding us. We cancelled after a few minutes. I was still worried whether he would return and demand me pay by cash since I have now cancelled the journey. We were charged 76.14 Euro from Uber for this ride (I actually felt relieved to see that I was indeed charged!). However, I estimate this ride has cost us 15 Euro in addition to what he deserved. 

So the learning experience: after getting down from Uber, always check that the driver has stopped the journey and not continue to charge you for a journey that you never even had!

Of course, he has received a 1-star rating from me for overcharging and annoying us throughout the journey in French and broken English that we should pay in cash or card. Probably he was planning to double charge us - charge by app, as well as cash! Probably we were lucky that our lost was minimal compared to what he was planning for (for example, if we accepted to pay by cash, he may have demanded 85 euro, the regular taxi rate from BRU Brussels Airport to LLN), or even more.


We reported this to Uber the next day. Mentioned how the driver overcharged us and also insisted that we pay by cash. Uber refunded 12.39 euro in 4 days since we reported. This was an effective and quick resolution. Thanks, Uber!

The response from Uber:
My driver asked for cash payment

Wednesday, February 1, 2017 at 6:39:09 PM · uberX
Hi Pradeeban,

Thank you for giving me notice of this problem. Feedbacks from our users are important in order to provide a high quality service. I am sorry for the driver's attitude, such a behaviour does not meet our standards and I will have a talk with the driver.

Indeed, it appears that the trip has not been cancelled directly beyond the destination therefore I will adjust the price.

Let me know if you have any other questions or feedback.


Previous Charge - 76.14
Refunded Personal - 12.39
New Total - 63.75 Euro
P.S: Keep using Uber. Just be careful of the scam drivers in Brussels or anywhere else. Feel free to use my referral code: pradeebank2ue to get your first ride free!

If you are an Uber driver, don't assume that all the foreigners are easy prey for your scam. Of course they are new and may be naive. But does not worth it. Any rider can report these scam behaviours, and hopefully get it resolved. Pls avoid giving bad first expressions to your country when probably you are the first local he/she would meet.

P.P.S: Finally, getting settled in LLN for the second part of my PhD.

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