My Passenger Got Sick! How to Collect an Uber Throw Up Fee

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There’s no question about it – picking up drunk people is always an adventure.

Driving around bar close can be one of the most lucrative times to drive. There is often surge pricing and sometimes drunk people are a little looser with their wallets.

But there are downsides as well.

You don’t know how much they’ve had to drink and as a result, it’s a gamble every time they get into your car.

Sometimes, you lose that gamble and the passenger throws up in your car.

We hope you never have to experience such a gross situation. Cleaning up someone else’s puke is not anyone’s ideal night. To make matters worse, even after the puke is gone the smell can linger.

And as any Uber driver knows, a smelly car can quickly lead to a low rating.

Due to this, many unprepared drivers have to call it a night after someone throws up in their car. But if you are ready to deal with this type of situation, you can keep on trucking.

Read on to learn how to do this. We go over all the tips you need to know in regards to sick Uber passengers and how to keep on working afterward.


Prepare for the Worst

It’s no secret: people like to drink.

17.1% of U.S. adults (37.4 million) are considered binge drinkers according to the American Journal of Preventative medicine.

With such a high number of drinkers in the United States, it’s no surprise that following the alcohol is very lucrative for Uber and Lyft drivers.

If you’re hungry to increase your driver earnings (and if you can deal with the clientele), it makes perfect sense to drive late at night. And when you do, you will inevitably run into your fair share of intoxicated passengers.

Eventually, one of those drunk passengers is going to be so inebriated that they throw up in your car. It’s unfortunate, but it’s the sad truth for many Uber drivers.

The best way to deal with this type of situation is to be prepared well before it even happens.

Although the items you may want to include may vary, we recommend starting with the following essentials:

  • A bucket or barf bag
  • Cleaning wipes
  • Air freshener
  • Paper towels
  • A scrub brush
  • Trash bags

Another item to consider is a carpet cleaner. Regardless of what you decide to include, keeping this handy kit with you as you drive will give you peace of mind.

Prepared drivers can pick up passengers throughout the night without having to worry about whether they have to end early.

Someone Puked in Your Car… Now What?

Being prepared to deal with a drunk passenger is one thing, but having to clean up after one is a pretty gross experience. The smell is disgusting, the visuals are horrible, and even though you want the clean up to be over as soon as possible, it can be tedious.

Still, remain calm. Roll all your windows down to get fresh airflow.

The first thing you should confirm is that the passenger is in any danger. If they are unconscious or you suspect they are a risk to their own health, you may want to consider calling for medical help.

If the person is awake, ask them if they are ok. If they respond positively, ask them if they think they are going to get sick again. If they say yes, it is time to pull over and let them get out of the vehicle.

If the person responds that they are not going to get sick again, explain to them that there is a cleanup fee associated with making a mess in someones Uber. You can ask them to help with cleanup, which could reduce the fee for the passenger.

If they are willing to help, hand them your cleaning supplies.

If they cannot help clean, do not pull over and try to clean the car. Complete the trip before you try to clean the car up. Once you have arrived at the rider’s destination, find a well-lit area, such as a gas station.

While you are inspecting the mess, no matter how gross it is, take pictures of the damage. Documenting the mess will make it much more likely that you can collect a cleaning fee through Uber. The cleaning fee is something that Uber will charge passengers for on their trip receipt, which is a small form of justice for Uber drivers.

In scenarios like this, gathering proof is an absolute must. After you have documented the situation, roll up your sleeves and get to work. Drivers that have prepared a car clean up kit beforehand should not experience much downtime if the vehicle is aired out.

Be sure to double check that the entire mess is clean before you head back on the road. The only thing worse than having someone get sick in your car is realizing you did not clean everything, which might backfire on you.

Once the inside is clean, check the passenger door. In an attempt to puke outside your car, riders may have missed the window. If there are noticeable traces, use the cleaning wipes to remove it.

Once things are clean, be sure to rinse out the bucket and take note of any supplies you need to restock.

If you are unable to clean up the mess yourself, call it a night and hire professionals unless you live in Seattle or San Francisco. Drivers in these locations can get in touch with a 24/7 car cleaning company dubbed Spotless. To find out more about this service, check out the Spotless website.

Can You Get a Cleaning Fee Because a Passenger Threw Up in Your Car?

If a mess is so bad that it requires extensive time to clean up, or if you need to pay a cleaning service, always report it to Uber or Lyft.

For both rideshare companies, you should contact Uber or Lyft submit a claim through the driver app. You should also make sure your photos clearly show the extent of the mess.

Uber uses a tier system to determine how much money to issue for the Uber cleaning fee, so if the mess goes over the max payout, you may be footing the remaining bill.

As for Lyft drivers, if a rider gets sick when you are giving them a lift, you can go here. Lyft needs at least two photos, identifying info about the rider that got sick, and a description of the events that unfolded causing the damage.

Due to the required detective work, drivers should note when the ride started, ended, and how long it took to clean up the mess.

Once this information is sent to the rideshare companies, they will use the evidence to make a case for the driver. After evaluating the severity of the issue, they administer a payment that is appropriate.

Depending on where you live, this may be more or less than the actual cost you paid to have the ride clean. To reduce the odds of experiencing such an irritating issue, keep your cleaning receipts.

In some severe cases, passengers can be made to pay up to $250 for a cleaning fee. This is becoming increasingly uncommon, with the vast majority payouts now in the $50 – $100 range. It is becoming uncommon to get the $250 because of fraud cases involving different drivers using “false vomit” to get extra money, which is unethical and against Uber community guidelines.

For smaller cases, such as food spills, you are lucky to get a couple of bucks out of Uber.

How Do You Rate Passengers Who Got Sick?

The passenger rating system is just about the only defense a rideshare driver has against bad passengers. If someone pukes in your car, take the appropriate action and leave a rating.

Be honest with your rating if someone was sick. If they were a complete mess, do not hesitate to give them a 1-star rating.

If they were willing to help and expressed genuine remorse, consider a slightly better rating.

If a rider was so bad that you never want to see them again, definitely give them a 1-star rating. Per Uber:

“Should you choose to leave a 1 Star rating for a rider, you will not be matched with that person again.”

Driving for the bar crowd and night shift can be a lot of fun. People that are partying late are usually in a festive, happy mood. Often this type of behavior leads to a lot of generous donations in the form of tips.

But, it’s not all fun sometimes. One of the drawbacks related to driving for this crowd is when a rider gets sick in your ride.

As soon as you hear the telltale sounds of what is about to happen, you know things are going to be nasty. The rider’s sickness can make you or other passengers sick, which is never a fun time.

This is something you may experience if you opt to drive for the bar crowd.

Drivers that have prepared to deal with sick passengers will be glad they took the time to do so.

Having the tools you need to clean up the mess will ensure that you can get back on the road without much downtime.

If you aren’t able to clean up the mess on your own, you might have to call it a night and hire a professional to clean your car. Use your best judgment to figure out what you should do.

No matter how bad the mess is, take the time to record what happened. Take photos of the interior of your car, since you may need to use this information when reporting the issue to Uber or Lyft.

Furthermore, rate your passenger appropriately and leave a comment about what happened.

Giving riders a fair and accurate rating will ensure drivers know what they’re dealing with in the future.

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