Home Ground Transportation (Bus, Lyft, Subway, Taxi, Train, Uber, etc.) Remembering The First Time An Uber Driver Tried To Scam Me

Remembering The First Time An Uber Driver Tried To Scam Me

by joeheg

I’ve read many stories about shady practices used by some Uber drivers. We’ve written about some of them here. There’s  “vomit fraud.” Or how a driver gets you from Point A to Point B and you end up with a higher charge. Or how a driver manipulates the system so you get no ride, they get paid and you get dinged. Even worse is this claim a driver can put against you.

It took until my business trip before COVID for me to be a victim of a dirty trick from a driver. Since it’s now been over a year since I’ve used Uber, Lyft or any rideshare service, I’m mildly looking forward to being scammed again.

In this instance, I was headed from Queens to Midtown Manhattan. I could have taken public transportation but I was in a time crunch. It would be an expensive ride but a necessary cost to make it to the show I had tickets for in time.

I called an Uber and was connected with a driver. I followed their car to my location and received the text they were arriving.

Almost immediately afterward, I received another notification thanking me for my ride and wanting me to rate my driver.


For my 1 minute ride, Uber charged me $8.01. I ordered another ride which went off without a hitch. My driver was nice and we had a good conversation during the hour-long ride.

That is, except when I was trying to find how to report the other driver to Uber and get a refund. It turns out there’s not an option for “My driver ghosted on me but reported I rode with him for a block and charged me $8 for the privilege.”

I ended up using the heading “My pickup or drop off location was wrong” and added a comment that the reported ride never happened and I requested another ride right afterward.

It took several hours but I received a reply saying they’re looking into the matter and will refund my $8 and further review the driver’s account.

Final Thoughts

If there weasany Uber scam I would be caught by; this was the least harmless of them. It was easy to prove my case and get a refund. Why would I take a trip for 1 minute? Maybe the driver didn’t want to go where my ride was taking him? He could have canceled the ride but instead tried to weasel an extra $8 from me. So I had to report him to Uber, which is something I dislike doing. I don’t want to prevent anyone from making a living, but when you don’t want to work with your employer’s rules, there’s really no other option.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


John Carrigan September 30, 2019 - 2:48 pm

FYI – this could just as easily have been a mistake on the part of an inexperienced driver. Having driven for years myself, I can tell you that this kind of thing isn’t worth getting kicked off the platform over. Not that there aren’t dishonest drivers out there, but I wouldn’t assume this one was trying to scam you.

joeheg October 2, 2019 - 12:45 pm

Driver for 3.5 years with over 3000 trips. Not a rookie mistake.

Jon Ben October 5, 2019 - 3:05 pm

“this kind of thing isn’t worth getting kicked off the platform over.”

Really getting scammed by a fraudulent thief is definitely worth it. Some people have no work ethic and are just dishonest, this was one.

Christian September 30, 2019 - 7:50 pm

My wife and I had something similar happen at Universal in Orlando. I ordered an Uber. The app showed a car approaching, then repeatedly circling around the area, except the driver showed that she had picked us up. After a couple of minutes, the “ride” ended, so I figured there was some mistake and tried again. According to Uber, she took us for a ride a total of three times. I quickly disputed the rides through the app and ended up not paying the woman for hosing us repeatedly, but it was a lesson to watch out.

Rich October 5, 2019 - 2:36 pm

Lyft makes it easier to cancel without a fee. I watched a driver accept my ride but then he went in the opposite direction of my location. After several minutes I canceled without a problem.

Uber screws you on this stuff and makes you jump through hoops. They need to make it easier. And drivers who cancel on riders should be penalized. Only had it happen once but there was no way to give him a low score.

joeheg October 5, 2019 - 11:30 pm

I had a Lyft ride where it said the driver was “waiting” as I saw him driving away. I waited to see if he turned around, but no. I took a screenshot of the map and went to cancel the ride. Lyft’s in-app response was that they see there was a “problem” with the ride so they wouldn’t penalize me for cancelling the ride.

SeattleFreeze November 18, 2019 - 10:00 pm

I agree. I’ve had more issues with Uber than Lyft.

Youno Me (@Porsche924Youno) October 6, 2019 - 6:37 pm

Note 10 allows you to video record the screen – to a ride from the airport said driver was three minutes away – accepted rider was 15 min away finishing a trip – would have cancelled and taken a lyft that showed 5 min away. But honestly take ride share just from airport when it’s more expensive to park or family can’t pick up/drop me off.

tom March 10, 2021 - 2:13 pm

I had a miserable experience where a driver tried to scam me. I was taking a ride from Hard Rock Casino Tampa basically to the airport. I ordered a ride, jumped in the car, projected cost was $20. The driver cancelled the ride when we got on the freeway. I said no worries I’ll just pay you $20 cash. He says no the app is now showing 4x surging so I need to pay him $80. I was like no f’n way, he tells me to get out then. So I jump out of the uber on the shoulder of the freeway. I walked probably 3 miles to the next exit, found myself at a ghetto gas station feeling not very safe with my casino winnings in my pocket. Nobody messed with me cuz I probably looked homeless after the long sweaty walk.

I reported the dude to uber and never heard back. I tried to report him to the police but they didn’t want to hear it. I was going to a bucs game the next day so just chalked it up to a lesson learned. But if something like that happened to my wife or someone less gruff it could have turned out badly.

Roger L Jay March 11, 2021 - 2:51 am

I have worked for Uber for almost 3 years now and I really enjoy it. I get to meet a lot of nice people from all over and for the most part enjoy the conversations I have with each and every one of them. I hate that some drivers have made Uber and Lift to look like they have a lot of scam artist working for them. But like everything if life there are good people and bad in this business. I do hope that the people reading your review will keep this in mind and not be jaded over one bad ride. I have had rides where I have driven 8-10 miles to pick someone up only to have the rider cancel as I am pulling in to there parking lot. This means I am loosing money for that ride. It has wasted my time and my gas. I just right it up to S&@t happens. I do apologize to all the riders out there for the bad apples that have given them bad trips or no trips and charge them and I hope on your next trip you get a conscientious and honest driver.

Anna Jones April 18, 2021 - 12:14 am

On March 22nd, 2021, I scheduled a ride for the following morning at March 23rd, 2021 at 8 am.
I had a doctors appointment that morning on March 23rd, 2021 at 9 am.
On March 23rd, at 9:30 am, I get an alert that a driver is on their way. I cancelled the ride because it was 1.5 hours too late.
I dispute the charge of $6.21 for a ride that never happened, through my bank.
Uber refunds me.
Today is 4/17/2021.
Since then, Uber sends a charge of that $6.21 three times.
Three times it is disputed through my bank.
Why is Uber repeatedly trying to charge me that $6.21 for a ride that never happened, and that was 1.5 hours late?

joeheg April 22, 2021 - 9:32 am

Sorry to hear about the problem and hope it gets resolved.

Mike April 30, 2022 - 5:08 pm

Mine was he parked a block of street away and he said he is waiting.


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