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What Happens If Uber Eats Can’t Find A Driver?

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Key Takeaways

  • Uber Eats may cancel and refund orders if no driver is found.
  • Customers can switch to pickup or choose a different restaurant.
  • Tipping well and ordering during off-peak hours may help.
  • Canceling orders through the app is possible before completion.

What Happens if Uber Eats Can’t Find a Driver?

If Uber Eats cannot find a driver for your order, you have the option to cancel the order and receive a refund directly to the payment method you used.

This is a rare occurrence as Uber Eats typically does find a driver eventually. However, if you’re experiencing a significant delay, you can use the Uber Eats app to contact customer service for assistance in canceling the order.

Once it’s confirmed that the latest expected delivery time cannot be met, you’ll be eligible to cancel and get a refund.

In some cases, Uber Eats may offer credits instead of a full cancellation, like giving you 20% of the purchase price in Uber Eats credits if you choose to keep your order.

How Do You Know Uber Eats Can’t Find a Driver?

When you order from Uber Eats, the app shows you an estimated delivery time and a deadline. However, if the service fails to find a courier, you’ll receive either message on your Uber Eats app:

  • No Uber Eats Couriers Nearby: This means that no delivery people are available near you because they’re either off-duty or busy with other orders.
  • Oops, Finding Another Delivery Driver: This means that Uber Eats is trying to replace your current Uber Eats driver, who can’t complete your order for some reason.

No matter the error message you receive, there are steps you can take to salvage the situation.

How Does Uber Eats Handle Delayed or Undelivered Uber Eats Orders?

Uber Eats allows you to request a refund for incorrect or undelivered items and orders within seven days of the order date.

It also estimates a delivery timeframe for each order. It considers an order late or missing when you don’t receive it within it. The latest expected delivery time is adjusted based on factors such as traffic, weather, etc.

If you cancel your order before it ends, you generally won’t be eligible for a refund, unless there’s an issue with your order, such as an incorrect address or a missing item, and you might be charged a cancellation fee.

Note that this fee depends on the status of the order, and Uber Eats doesn’t refund tips.

How to Cancel an Uber Eats Order

When your wait time exceeds the delivery deadline, you can cancel your order and request a refund. To do this,

  1. Open the Uber Eats app.
  2. Tap “Orders.”
  3. Tap “View” to see the details of your current order.
  4. Tap “Cancel Order.”
  5. Tap “Confirm Cancellation.” Ideally, you should provide a reason to serve as feedback.

If your order was properly canceled, you’ll find it in your “Account” section alongside a “Get Help” button. Tap it to initiate a chat with Uber Eats’ customer service in case you were unfairly charged a cancellation fee or have a different issue at hand.

Before you contact Uber Eats, take screenshots as you proceed with canceling your order. It’ll be proof that you tried to cancel it quickly but faced challenges within the app, which are occasional.

Depending on the circumstances surrounding the delayed delivery, the app may also offer you Uber Eats credits in place of canceling your order entirely. Typically, these credits are about 20% of the value of your purchase.

Why Can’t Uber Eats Find a Delivery Driver?

There are several reasons why Uber Eats may be unable to find a driver to deliver your food.

1. Driver Availability

One possible reason why Uber Eats can’t find a driver is that there aren’t enough drivers in your area. This is more likely to happen during off-hours, such as late at night or early in the morning, when fewer drivers are online.

However, you might also have trouble getting your food delivered due to your delivery location.

2. Delivery Location

Some areas may be harder to reach or have less demand for Uber Eats services. Uber Eats pays its couriers based on the number of deliveries they complete.

If you live far away or request a delivery to a secluded location, Uber Eats drivers might decline your order—the gas costs to profits might not be worth it for them. Remember, they’re independent contractors. They have to account for all their operational expenses, including the cost of travel.

3. Tip Sufficiency

Uber Eats drivers earn money through:

  • The Base Pay: This is the set amount paid out by Uber Eats for deliveries.
  • Customer Tips: The complimentary money customers offer for the delivery service. A generous tip can greatly motivate your courier to provide you with excellent service.
  • Promotions and Bonuses: These are occasionally offered by Uber Eats as a means of boosting driver incomes.

The base payment rate offered by Uber Eats is low—usually just enough to cover expenses.

As such, Uber Eats delivery drivers often rely on customer tips for profit. If you don’t offer a good tip, some drivers will reject your order.

Other reasons include:

  1. Uber Eats App Issues: Sometimes, the Uber Eats app may be down, disrupting connections with available drivers.
  2. High Demand: Peak times often see more orders than available drivers, leading to potential delays in courier assignment.
  3. Driver Preferences and Constraints: Drivers may decline orders that involve long drives or waits, preferring shorter, more lucrative deliveries.
  4. Late Night Orders: Fewer drivers are active at night, reducing the likelihood of finding a courier for late orders.
  5. Market Dynamics: Drivers tend to target times and areas with better earning potential, affecting driver availability in certain situations.

What to Do When Uber Eats Can’t Find a Driver

If Uber Eats can’t find a driver, you can take a few steps to ensure you still get your food delivered.

1. Switch to Self-Pickup

If Uber Eats can’t find a delivery driver to complete your order, change your delivery preference to Uber Eats pickup and eliminate the need for a driver and the charges they come with.

This option further ensures that the restaurant will have your food ready for immediate pickup.

This is also a great way to save on delivery and services fees. I personally use this method quite often.

Using the Uber Eats pickup option allows me to order ahead so I don’t wait to wait in line, but avoid paying expensive fees at the same time.

2. Find a Different Restaurant

If self-pickup isn’t viable, you can order from a different restaurant. Changing to a more popular restaurant or one within your area will improve your likelihood of finding an available driver to complete your order.

3. Personalize Your Restaurant Search on Uber Eats

Customize your search on Uber Eats by considering factors like popularity, ratings, dietary options, price range, and estimated delivery time.

Opting for restaurants with full menus and shorter delivery times, such as Shake Shack, McDonald’s, or your favorite local sushi or pizza place, can help avoid the issue of unavailable couriers.

4. Choose Priority Delivery

Priority delivery is an Uber Eats delivery option that allows you to pay a surcharge to ensure your food orders are prioritized. This is ideal if you’re in a rush or you’d like your food delivered as fast as possible.

This feature can be particularly beneficial for restaurants with their own rewards programs, similar to Uber Rewards, to offer an enhanced service.

Brett’s Take: Thoughts From an Expert

In my experience, drivers can be incredibly selective on the size of an order and the amount of the tip to go with it.

And I don’t blame them. The last thing they want to do is take a low-paying order and then spend a bunch of time and effort only to have it not be worth their time.

This is especially true of drivers who have been tip-bated by customers in the past. It’s a very sore subject among drivers.

While they can’t directly see the tip, they typically have a good understanding of the tip amount before they accept the order.

Smaller orders and ones with minimal tips are less attractive to drivers, to they’ll oftentimes pass on the order because it really isn’t worth their time.

As a customer, it is important to understand that drivers aren’t paid for the distance to the restaurant, only from the restaurant to the customer.

My Suggestion: Knowing all of this, the trick is to incentivize drivers to pick up your order. Tip well and place larger orders, and you’ll increase your chances of it getting picked up by a driver.

Wrapping Up

While rare, Uber Eats will sometimes fail to find a driver to complete your delivery. However, this doesn’t have to spell doom for your order; there are plenty of options available that’ll help ensure you recover your cash and have a smoother experience in the future.

And if all else fails, you can always try another one of the top food delivery services on the market, like DoorDash.

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