‘Vomit fraud’ on ride shares, passengers charged high fees


Close-up of vertical sign with logos for ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft, with wheels of a car in the background, indicating a location where rideshare pickups are available in downtown Los Angeles, California, October 24, 2018. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — ‘Vomit fraud’ has been happening on ride shares, when drivers stage throw up in their car after a ride to charge their passenger a high fee.

As thousands of people will be taking ride shares up and down the Las Vegas Strip on New Year’s Eve, passengers should take extra steps before they get in a car to protect themselves and their wallets, says Ryan Pinto, a man who was a victim in one of these ‘vomit fraud’ scams.

According to Pinto, he took a 10-minute Lyft ride from his hotel to the airport, but an hour after he was dropped off, he received an $80 damage fee — the highest damage tier — for throw up.

Although he assumed he had been mistaken for the passenger who came after him, after he saw the photos taken by the driver, he knew it was a scam.

“I told them, you know, I’ve got five stars and over 200 rides. I’ve never thrown up in someone’s car, and I’m showing up to work. They can see it’s a 10-minute drive. I’m showing up to work to fly an airplane, obviously I’m not sick or intoxicated,” Pinto told 8 News Now’s Kate Houston.

While Lyft said it will be looking into Pinto’s incident directly, he says the disputing process was frustrating because he was only able to communicate over messenger and not over the phone. He recommends passengers take photos or videos of the car before and after their ride to ensure that they aren’t hit with these fees.

A Lyft representative responded to the allegations, saying that the company takes them seriously, and if riders believe there was an error, they should reach out to Lyft support directly.

According to Lyft’s website, passengers will be notified about damage fees over email or on the ride history tab on the Lyft app. Passengers can reply directly to the follow-up email.

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