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Beware the uber cleaning fee scam.

I took a short uber ride in Gdansk Poland and was charged 10 zl. The next morning I received an email saying that I was charged an additional 50 zl for cleaning fee. When I questioned the charge, uber sent me a photo of a muddy car floor. Uber is unwilling to reverse the charges for this scam. Driver Oskar and customer support rep Andrzej in Gdansk probably split the bogus fee. I use uber frequently while traveling and have never been scammed this way. I will spread the word on as many travel sites, social medial sites, Polish government, and uber corporate. THIS IS A SCAM AND OUTRIGHT THEFT.

Posted by
4681 posts

Hey, kat, I don't use uber and similar "disruptors" because I disapprove of their Silicon Valley disregard for established rules, laws, and norms. I'm not surprised that a participant in the New Wild West took advantage of you. That's one reason (just to refer to my own area of life) big-city taxicabs are so "over-regulated". They're regulated to weed out psychopathic drivers, fix rates and prevent "surge pricing"(!), and reward businesses that make long-term investments in a city's soft-infrastructure. Yes, the world has changed, and the regulations need to be adjusted sometimes. But, when NYC needed more taxis, the city forced "medallion" owners to split their medallions in two, so the city could not be accused of "taking" their investment property.

Posted by
6031 posts

Are you saying it's a scam because you were not the one who tracked in or left the mud on the car floor? Or are you saying that it's a scam because there should be no 'cleaning' fee, even if you did bring in the mud? Just need clarification for my own satisfaction. I've not used Uber before but there may come a time and I'm not familiar with their methods or their standard charges and what to watch out for.

Posted by
4 posts

I say it is a scam because the car floor was noticibly muddy when I got in. The photos were accurate showing the muddy floor....but I wasn't the one who did it. The customer service of Uber Poland is a joke. I will definitely challenge the charge with my credit card company. Just wanted others to beware. When I looked it up I see that there are lots of people talking about this cleaning fee scam from Uber.

Posted by
6144 posts

The bigger question is....why do people do business with this highly unethical cutthroat company to begin with? How many data points do you need to realize this?

Posted by
8293 posts

Why do people do business with this company? To save a buck. Ethics be damned.

Posted by
12090 posts

This is all another reason why I boycott uber. If i avoid them here in SF, why should I consider the possibility of using them in Europe?

Posted by
7125 posts

kat, I’m sorry this happened to you.

I’ve been scammed by taxi drivers in Paris at least three times when they assumed I didn’t know my way around.
I’ve never been scammed by Uber, and neither has my son who uses Uber often, all over the US and Europe. I do believe you though. There are dishonest people everywhere and in all jobs.

Posted by
30931 posts

My opinions about Uber are pretty much the same as Tim articulated in the first reply, which is why I won't be using them when they finally start operating here later this year.

I have to wonder if the driver in this case charged the "cleaning fee" for all passengers he transported that day? Minor cleaning should be just part of doing business, unless of course the mess is excessive (ie: customer barfing in the back).

Posted by
8293 posts

I often use cabs here in Montreal. A lot, and I do mean a lot, of the drivers are from the Middle East. Arabic or Farsi is their native language but here they are in Quebe where they must learn both French and English to serve the public. Then they have to find employment and even if they are scientists or university professors in their native land, their credentials are not recognized in Canada. So they borrow the many thousands of dollars needed to get a taxi driver licence and the struggle to survive and educate their children begins. And then along comes Uber. Never will I give a penny to a person with a car working for Uber. To save a buck or two? Never.

Posted by
1878 posts

I am not crazy about Uber myself, their business practices seem questionable. But I have had some bad experiences with taxis and airport shuttles too, both in the U.S. and overseas. The airport shuttle experience flying out of SFO is laughably bad and taxis are very expensive. When traveling with my wife we actually take Lyft. I use Uber when on my own to get to the airport only because they have an app for my Windows phone and Lyft does not (yes I am one of the five people in North America with a Windows phone) .

I could write a top ten list of bad situations that have happened to me with taxis (drunken driver in Lisbon, taxi driving 100 mph to Rome airport, being charged 15 Euro for going three blocks in Nice, taxi driving off with my bags in the trunk in Taipei, car breaking down in the middle of multi-lane street in pouring rain in Paris, etc.) Eventually I'll probably have a bad experience with Uber, too. But so far with Uber and Lyft the cars are clean and the drivers are nice. Lack of competition created a system that is bad for consumers, hence the opening for a company like Uber to enter the market.

Thanks for sharing this, I am going to Poland myself soon and was wondering whether one has to be wary of these types of things. I would definitely dispute the charge on your credit card and slam them on the review. One thing about sites that have reviews, service providers have a measure of fear about being slammed. I don't do it lightly, but it's justified in some cases.

Posted by
12090 posts

I saw a program on TV5 (the francophone channel) few years ago where it was featured that Middle East refugees admitted to Quebec were required to learn French, even if they were already functional or fluent in English. Among some of them in this reportage, they had not reckoned on the requirement to learning French, most likely only English. Bottom line was there was resistance among them.

I used to use the shuttle quite often going to SFO and returning. Now I use BART, the subway train, as it goes to both SFO and OAK. Uber (and Lyft) won't get my business to the airports.

Posted by
1878 posts

I find the shuttle drivers at SFO when we arrive there often want to circle excessively for additional passengers, even though the rule is they have to leave within fifteen or twenty minutes after the first passenger gets on. I have had them do this for up to an hour, but SFO cracked down on that at some point. The shuttles also require an extreme lead time for a journey to the airport and then call you on the day of travel, after you have gotten up at 3 a.m. to accommodate them, to say no we are coming an hour an a half later than we told you. Often the shuttle drivers drive in a really crazy manner, excessive speed, tailgating, etc. After an evening arrival the shuttles often smell of food eaten on board, like cheeseburgers or something. The drivers are often not very polite at all. I feel for them though, it's not a good job. I would love to use Caltrain, but not great for early departures. With Caltrain on any given day if someone gets hit by a train the whole thing shuts down while they deal with it. Also, Caltrain does not go directly to SFO but requires a connection to BART which is fairly convoluted at certain times.

Posted by
6031 posts

Can someone explain why Uber (to taxis) is any different from Airbnb (to hotels)? Just a curious question from someone who has not used them and don't understand why it's 'unethical'. I know lots of people who use Uber and Lyft because they are more convenient and less costly than taxis.

Posted by
6144 posts

Can someone explain why Uber (to taxis) is any different from Airbnb
(to hotels)?

In short, they are similar in that they are unapologetically aggressive disruptors who claw their way to gain market share using any tactic available - misrepresenting their products, lying, cheating, evading regulations and painting their opponents as out of touch and even "against the people" if you can believe that. They're popular because they can undercut their competition on price and they've built up a lot of social capital to present themselves in a positive light (call it the hipness factor that appeals to tech-savvy young people who are more swayed by convenience vs what's the right thing to do).

Uber will be a great case study in business school, if it isn't already. The company has been under DOJ investigation for cheating, corrupt practices with competitors (stealing their methods, even their customers by "faking" ride requests, etc.), lying to Federal/local authorities, and using technology to hide from regulation/regulators (Google "Greyball"). Their former CEO, Travis Kalanick, was described by others who know him as almost pathologically unmoored to any sense of ethics (I've followed pretty much every article on Uber in business magazines and newspapers). He is driven by winning at all costs and he's operated that way even before starting the company. Sound like anyone else? That's why he was forced down out of his position though he singlehandedly built it and made it so valued and successful. Everything flows from the top, and a CEO who thinks nothing of deliberately cheating and maneuvering at every turn just to eke out some advantage reflects on the entire operation. There have been COUNTLESS negative articles written about Uber (just Google them all), and it's not because their ideas aren't innovative - it's the way they operate, which is pretty ruthless. They don't even have "employees" and they'll throw their contracted drivers under the bus too as soon as they can get driverless cars going.

Posted by
7630 posts

Agnes, thank you so much for your explanatory post. I did not know all of that but I live in a fairly rural area so no exposure.