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If you’ve ever been hit by an unexpected Uber fee, you know it’s not fun.
Uber charges cancellation fees, cleaning fees and other fees to passengers all of the time. Most of the time it is justified, but it can be a little confusing if you didn’t know it was coming.
To help you better understand the plethora of Uber passenger fees, we compiled a list.
In this article, we will do our best to describe all of the possible Uber passenger fees. We will also explain why and when they are charged. Lastly, we will dive in to see if you can get a refund on any of these fees.
- Uber Booking Fee
- Uber Cancellation Fee
- Uber Cleaning Fee
- Lost Item Fee
- Airport Surcharge
- Bad Weather Fees
- Toll Charges
Uber Booking Fee
The Uber booking fee, unlike many of the other fees on this list, is unavoidable.
This built-in “fee” is charged on every ride. It is (part of) Uber’s cut for using the app. The other part of Uber’s cut comes from an actual percentage of the ride total.
Uber drivers do not receive any of this fee.
Can you get an Uber booking fee refund?
We have not heard of a time when Uber refunded a booking fee.
That said, Uber will sometimes refund the total cost of the ride, including the booking fee. This will only happen if your ride was a disaster because of the driver. To find out more, here is a link to Uber’s guide on how they go about issuing a refund.
Uber Cancellation Fee
The Uber cancellation fee is the most common fee issued to passengers.
When a passenger requests a ride, it is then accepted by a driver. If the passenger cancels the ride, they might charge a cancellation fee.Fees for the above infractions are put into place to compensate the driver for his or her time. For a rideshare driver, wasting 5+ minutes of driving time is a big loss in potential revenue. As you probably noticed, the cancellation fee rules for UberPOOL are a little more strict. That is because when you do any of the above things, you not only waste the time of the Uber driver. You also waste the time of other UberPOOL passengers.
It is important to note that you will not be charged a cancellation fee on uberPOOL requests if you cancel before a driver accepts. You will also not be charged if your driver cancels before waiting 2 minutes at your pickup location.
The cancellation fee is usually $5.
Can you get an Uber cancellation fee refund?
Even if you are charged a cancellation fee, there is a chance that Uber will refund it.
If you feel that you are unfairly charged for canceling an Uber you can request a refund by using this link.
To figure out whether or not your cancellation fee qualifies for a refund you can contact Uber and explain your situation. If they find the cancellation fee was issued in error, they will issue a refund.
Related: How to Contact Uber Customer Service
We have seen this happen a few times due to weird driver behavior. For example, a driver accepting a ride request and driving in the opposite direction. Since this is the fault of the driver and not the passenger, so Uber is very understanding.
Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), Uber has GPS tracking for all of their drivers. That means they can review their records and confirm your story. So as long as your story aligns with their data, you will likely get a refund.
Having said that, if you canceled because you changed your mind or were not ready, you are very unlikely to get any sympathy from Uber.
Uber Cleaning Fee
In the rideshare business, drivers rely on their vehicle. So, it should come as no surprise that drivers may charge passengers a cleaning fee in the event of a mess.
Leaving a couple crumbs on the seat usually isn’t a big deal, but anything larger could result in a fee. The most common “mess” that results in a cleaning fee is left behind by an intoxicated passenger who is unable to handle their liquor.
Cleaning fees range between $40 to $150 dollars, depending on the size of the mess. Anything involving bodily fluids (such as vomit), usually results in an immediate $150 fee.
It is worth mentioning that some rideshare drivers have started capitalizing on the cleaning fee. Long story short: some drivers make money by charging a cleaning fee and then cleaning up the mess themselves.
Can you get an Uber cleaning fee refund?
There are a few specific situations where the cleaning fee is waived, however, for most passengers it is unlikely.
There have been a couple of stories in the news about drivers allegedly making false cleaning fee charges. The woman mentioned in this article was able to get a refund after receiving a bogus cleaning fee. The lady also went on to suggest taking photos of every ride to ensure this does not happen ever again. This would be a big hassle, but might save you $150.
When an Uber driver submits a cleaning fee request, they are required to provide photo evidence. By doing so, all parties involved can see the included timestamps and match up when the mess was made to Uber.
Without solid evidence, it will be hard to dispute a cleaning fee.
Lost Item Fee
In the early days of Uber, there was no lost item fee. If you left an item in the back of an Uber, it was easy to contact the driver and have them bring it back.
This started to happen regularly and Uber drivers took notice. Drivers were spending valuable hours finding and meeting up with people instead of actually proving rides. To make up for this lost time, Uber started charging a lost item fee.
This $15 lost item fee is issued to compensate drivers for the time, gas, and money used to deliver the item to a rider. The rideshare company opted to add the fee last summer once they discovered that lost item requests were taking up a good portion of a driver’s time.
Can you get a refund on a lost item fee?
Doubt it. If a driver has to go out of there way to return an item, it makes sense that they should be compensated.
It is definitely in your best interested to check your pockets and the seats of the vehicle before exiting your Uber.
Some airports charge Uber for letting a driver pick you up passengers. If the airport you use issues this type of fee, anticipate paying an additional airport surcharge.
The fee is technically charged by the airport to Uber. But Uber passes the fee onto the passenger.
Uber has been making headlines lately because they are fighting some of the larger airport fees. These disputes recently lead to Uber stopping airport rides altogether at the Providence, RI airport.
Can I Get a Refund for An Airport Fee?
Nope. The only way to avoid an airport fee is to not get a ride to or from the airport. Uber is very transparent about this fee when requesting a ride. Due to this, there is no reason for them to ever refund the fee.
Remember, not all airports charge an airport fee. So if you are new to the airport, check to see if they charge an airport fee before booking a ride.
Bad Weather Fees
Storms, blizzards, and iced over roads happen. Despite the danger, Uber does not charge an extra fee for driving in bad weather. At least not directly.
During inclement weather, the demand for Uber’s increases. The reason is obvious: people don’t want to drive or walk or ride their bike during bad weather. The same is true for many drivers. They don’t want to risk their vehicle or their safety.
This leads to a decreased supply of drivers and an increased demand.
Anyone who has ever taken a basics economics class knows what happens when supply is low and demand is high. Increased prices.
Uber calls it SURGE pricing. SURGE pricing means an increased cost to the consumer and increased wages for the driver. This helps incentivize drivers to pick up passengers when demand is high.
SURGE pricing is not technically a ‘bad weather fee’ it can seem that way to riders.
Can I get a refund for bad weather surge pricing?
No. Uber does not offer refunds for SURGE pricing. Bear in mind, the expense is available for review before you request a ride.
According to Uber, passengers are required to pay all tolls. So if a passenger doesn’t pay a toll in cash during the ride, they will be charged for the toll through the Uber app.
This makes complete sense for Uber and Uber drivers. Drivers should not be expected to pay for tolls out of their own pocket.
If you paid for a toll in cash AND you were charged through the app, contact Uber customer service.
Can you get a refund for Uber toll fees?
In the event that you went through a toll and did not pay, Uber will charge you for the toll as part of the final price of the ride. If you do pay in person AND the charge for the toll is also included in the fare, contact Uber for a refund.
Although the fees Uber charges can be a bit frustrating to deal with, there is a good reason behind each and every one of them.
Hopefully, after reviewing this article, the logic behind Uber fees is clearer. But if you are charged unjustly, you should not hesitate to contact Uber.
If you have a good reason behind why you deserve a refund, you can get your money back.
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.