• Steve Williams

A Painful Uber Experience - my phone and wallet was stolen by an Uber Driver

Read about Steve's painful experience with the 'disruptor' of experience in the transport sector...

I recently left my phone and wallet in an Uber which turned out to be a painful experience. The disruptor of customer experience in the transport sector may have lost it's way in my opinion.. 

After realizing I had left my phone and wallet in an Uber on a Sunday morning, I called the Uber driver to ask where I could pick it up from. He said when he's in the area, he would kindly drop it off, but at his convenience (understandable).

At 12pm I saw on track my iPhone he literally dropped a passenger off 300 metres from my home so I called him and asked if I could meet him on the corner. He demanded an extra $50 cash on top of the $15 Uber lost item delivery fee. As he had all my cards it wasn't possible to get cash. My housemate offered to lend $20 cash plus the $15 Uber fee, but the driver said to he wouldn't accept that and was leaving the area.

At 5:30pm After refusing to drop it off or allowing me to collect it somewhere I noticed again that he was at Penn Station where I was. I called and he said again he wouldn't meet me unless I paid up. I said I will make it easy if he can drop it off somewhere or I meet him, therefore it's not taking up his time. He then said it's not his responsibility and that he had smashed my phone and if I'm lucky the police will have it handed in.. At this point, the track my iPhone went dead.

During this process I contacted Uber and still after 48 hours there was no word or reply. FYI, they don't have a contact phone number. After following up again the only solution they had was to go to the Police. As you can imagine, the Police had bigger things to worry about and apart from logging a Police report they said I should threaten him that he would lose his job (interesting advice). They acknowledged it was extortion and considered grand larceny, a criminal offense.

After following Police advice and sending texts demanding the phone be returned or the Police would visit his house and charge him with grand larceny, three days after loosing it he dropped it off at a Police Station at the other side of Brooklyn NY (a 1 hour train ride from Manhattan where the driver usually works). I received a call from a Police Officer at 1am, which was a massive relief.

Even after advising Uber of the situation, they said the drivers are independent contractors and not their responsibility. Uber said if I wanted to pursue it I could undergo their 'lengthy complaint process' - the words they used.

Interestingly after posting this on Facebook a friend had a similar situation in which the driver demanded a $500 fee. My friend paid this fee and Uber lated refunded it. Note to everyone if this happens to you...

The point is not the money, it's the difficulty the driver created from the situation when he could have dropped it at a Police Station or designated Uber lost property pick up point or be comfortable with the standard Uber see plus the generosity I would have displayed in tipping if he acted with good intention.

Thankfully there is other options such as Lyft....

About Steve

Steve is Experience Champion at Experience Champions, a New York City based consultancy and training company that helps small to medium business create a customer-focused culture with team members inspired to make a difference in their role through empowering and fun workshops.

Learn more about our customer experience team building workshops here: https://www.experiencechampions.com/workshops

Uber Fail


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New York City, USA

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