Identified Scam:

Uber Cancellation Fee Scams: Beware of Sketchy Uber Drivers

If your Uber driver is a no-show, be sure you follow up and make sure you're not charged a cancellation fee—you could be falling into a scammer's trap.
Updated 17 August 2021
Uber Cancellation Fee Scams: Beware of Sketchy Uber Drivers
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Identified Scam:
Key Finding

Uber drivers that accept your ride don't arrive at your location, and then your ride is canceled.

Key Risk

You're charged a small cancellation fee which is given to the Uber driver—you pay the money even though you weren't at fault.

Sections on this page
  1. What is the Uber Cancellation Fee Scam?
  2. Examples of Uber Cancellation Fee Scams
  3. Have You Fallen For This Scam?
  4. Frequently Asked Questions

To beat Uber cancellation fee scams, it's important to dispute your cancellation fee with Uber immediately after you cancel your trip so you don't forget. These scams can be difficult to avoid, since you don't know what kind of driver you're going to get, but the good news is it's fairly easy to get your money back.

What is the Uber Cancellation Fee Scam?

In an Uber cancellation fee scam, sketchy drivers take advantage of Uber's cancellation policy that requires you to pay a fee if you cancel your ride after a specified amount of time (2-5 minutes depending on your location and type of ride). This fee, usually between $5-$10, is put in place to recognize the time and effort a driver spends getting to a location, which makes sense.

In most cases, this model is fair, but it does create a loophole that some unscrupulous drivers try to take advantage of. Here's how the scam works. 

Your Uber Driver Doesn't Arrive

After booking an Uber ride, you follow the driver's route and notice they have stopped short of your location. They seem close but aren't quite there yet. You try to contact the driver, but they don't pick up, and you've exhausted your options.

Your Ride is Cancelled

After being ignored by your Uber driver, your patience wears thin, and you cancel your ride. The app will warn you that you'll be charged a cancellation fee, but you don't have any other option at this point since the driver isn't getting any closer to you. 

Uber cancellation screen

In some cases, the driver may be the one to cancel the ride. They will drive close to your pick-up spot, then cancel, making it look like you didn't show up to be picked up.

The Driver Pockets Your Cancellation Fee

The cancellation fee you pay is sent to the Uber driver, per Uber's policy. The driver, at this point, will be hoping that you don't dispute the charge and they can keep the money even though they didn't drive you anywhere.

Examples of Uber Cancellation Fee Scams

These Uber scams occur all over the road, not just in the U.S. There are several examples found all over Twitter and Reddit from people who had to cancel an Uber ride because the driver wouldn't drive to the pickup spot.

There's also a slight variation of this scam where the driver cancels the ride themselves, claiming you didn't show up or were at the wrong location. 

Your driver may even drive right past you to show that they arrived at your pickup point, but they won't stop to actually pick you up. 

Have You Fallen For This Scam?

It can be really annoying when it happens and feel like an absolute waste of time, but it is pretty simple to get your money back after falling for an Uber cancellation fee scam. Just follow these steps to dispute the cancellation fee:

  1. In the main menu of the app, go to "Trips."
  2. Go to the trip, and you will see the cancellation fee.
  3. Select "Get trip help?"
  4. Select "Dispute my cancellation fee."
  5. Select "Review my cancellation fee & submit."
  6. Select the reason for canceling from the list and "Submit."

Based on other riders' experiences, it seems pretty straightforward and easy to get a refund if you've unfairly been charged a cancellation fee.

It is essential because scammers rely on people either forgetting to dispute the charge or not caring enough. Uber's Community Guidelines state that they review these disputes and remove drivers that are caught scamming customers. 

Uber's Community Guidelines

Fraudulent activity may also include, but not be limited to: accepting trip, order, or delivery requests without the intention to complete; claiming fraudulent fees or charges, like false cleaning fees; intentionally requesting, accepting, or completing fraudulent or falsified trips or deliveries; claiming to complete a delivery without ever picking up the delivery item; 

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Frequently Asked Questions

How much are Uber cancellation fees?

Cancellation fees will differ depending on your location and how long you waited before canceling. They are generally around $5-$10. 

When will I be charged for cancelling an Uber?

You're charged cancellation fees at different times, depending on the type of ride you've ordered:

  • Shared:
    • If you cancel more than 1 minute after a driver accepts your request. 
    • If your driver waits more than 2 minutes at your location and cancels.
  • Economy:
    • If you cancel more than 2 minutes after a driver accepts your request. 
    • If your driver waits more than 5 minutes (10 minutes for Comfort rides) at your location and cancels. 
  • Premium:
    • If you cancel more than 5 minutes after a driver accepts your request. 
    • If your driver waits more than 15 minutes at your location and cancels.

Am I charged for Uber Eats cancellations?

Depending on how quickly you cancel your Uber Eats order, you can be refunded your entire amount. Generally, a refund should be easily obtained as long as you cancel the order before the restaurant starts preparing your meal.

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