On February 19 I began learning what happens when an Uber passenger damages your vehicle. It’s not what I expected, nor does it make any sense.
I was driving for Uber when I got a request at a grocery store. As soon as I realized where I was picking up the passenger, I contemplated canceling the ride. Grocery store pickups are the worst for a whole host of reasons. Firstly, they usually have a lot of groceries that require loading in the trunk, taking a lot of time. Secondly, they normally always insist on standing at the front of the store requiring you to park your vehicle in a non-parking area and waiting while they load their groceries. Lastly, they usually always live near the grocery store, resulting in a short-distance, low-paying fare. Additionally, I’ve never received a tip from a grocery store pick-up, even when I help in loading and unloading the groceries.
As I pulled up to the front of the grocery store, I saw what I believed was the rider. It didn’t appear that he had any groceries. I didn’t see a cart. Good. I opened the front passenger window and verified he was my passenger only to see him then turn around and go over to a woman with two shopping carts. He grabbed one of the carts and proceeded to push it to the back of my car. The woman then walked to my car and moved to get in the back of the car, leaving her cart where it was.
The unattended cart then began rolling, heading towards my car. It slammed into the right-front quarter panel.
I got out of the car and looked at the damage. As the photo shows, there was a dent above the wheel and a scratch in front of the wheel.
To say the least, I wasn’t very happy
As soon as the unattended cart hit my car, the man met me to look at the damage. The woman got out of the car to join him. I turned to him and calmly asked him to please remove his groceries from my vehicle. I then proceeded to get back into my car. My plan was to end the trip, go home, and call Uber support. That was a mistake.
I started up the car and began to close the front passenger window. The rider wanted to talk to me. I didn’t want to talk to him. I was mad and wanted to avoid drama. As the window was going up, I heard him call me a “rude motherfucker.”
He and his significant other damaged my vehicle and he called me a rude motherfucker? Nope. I wanted to avoid drama, but I can only take so much.
I turned off the engine and got out of the car. An argument ensured.
He and his lady-friend proceeded to yell at me and accuse me of being unprofessional. I guess they didn’t understand why I would not drive them to their destination after they damaged my personal vehicle. An employee from the grocery store came outside and told them to leave. They proceeded to yell at her too, telling her it was none of her bussiness. She took out a phone and called the police.
And to think I was trying to avoid drama
I turned around and went back to the car. The passenger’s lady-friend then called me a “fucking racist.” Imagine having that particular insult cocked and ready when your direct negligence causes damage to someone’s property. Their unattended cart full of groceries damages my car and when I react negatively to that, I’m a “fucking racist.”
The store employee wanted me to stay so I could file charges. I told her no, I was going to contact Uber and let them deal with it. That was a big mistake.
I went home and called Uber. The person in the Philippines didn’t seem to understand the issue. She told me that the rider would not be assigned to me again. I remind her about the damage to my car and I needed to get it repaired. She transferred me to the Safety department. After asking me questions that didn’t apply (did anyone need medical attention?) she told me they would investigate further and contact me.
The following day, I received a message from Uber about the incident.
I made him feel uncomfortable? He started the argument when he called me a “rude motherfucker.”
I replied to the message reminding them this was the passenger who damaged my car and used profanity towards me. They replied by saying they understand there are two sides to every story. Yes, there’s truth and there’s fiction. I told the truth about what happened. Who knows what fiction the passenger tried to pass as fiction.
I also heard back from Uber about the damage to my car.
After I submitted three (3) photos of the damage, they deemed it to be “general wear and tear” to the vehicle. As such, I was responsible for repairing the damages. Uber was not.
When a rider damages your vehicle, Uber is not responsible
What this means is that when a passenger’s negligence causes damage to your vehicle, not only will Uber not pay to have it repaired, they will protect the passenger from having to pay for the damages too.
What to do when an Uber passenger damages your vehicle
This incident taught me a lot. This is what I will do in the future when something like this happens:
- Call the police. As soon as I saw the damage, I should have called 9-1-1. If I had done that, I would have a police report containing all of the passenger’s information.
- Record everything. I have a two-way dashcam, but it doesn’t record what happens outside the vehicle. I should have recorded the passengers with my iPhone until the police showed up.
- Do not count on Uber to help you. When something like this happens, don’t expect Uber to have your back. I would still call Uber support so that I had it on record what happened. I just would not count on Uber being my partner with something that costs them money. The fact they would consider something like the dent the passenger caused to be “general wear and tear” is stupid. Not providing the passenger’s information so I could seek restitution in small claims court seems to me to be borderline criminal.
I wish Lyft was more popular in my area so I could delete the Uber app and drive solely for Lyft. Who knows, maybe Lyft would have reacted the same exact way under similar circumstances. The difference is, I know exactly how Uber treats a driver when an Uber passenger damages your vehicle.
I may just do an experiment and drive a whole week for Lyft and then look at the results. If the results are comparable to when I drive for both Uber and Lyft, I will say goodbye to Uber.