Uber just can't get anything right lately.
It's been embroiled in controversy this past year - thanks to scathing allegations of sexism and aggressive workplace culture inside the company, a bitter legal fight with investor Google, the leaking of its controversial Greyball tool, and the departure of several key executives - and yet, nevertheless, it thought quietly introducing a new fee on riders would be a good idea. Um, how about no?
Here's the deal: Have you ever used an Uber after a late night out, and as soon as the car dropped you off, you noticed you left your phone or wallet inside the vehicle? No? Just us? Either way, all you had to do was log on to your Uber account from a friend’s phone or a web browser, then contact the driver, and coordinate where to meet to get your stuff.
We all know it doesn't exactly happen that way, though. Uber's forums show a string of users and drivers who have complained in the past about being in this situation and ending up not happy with the outcome. So, in an effort to mitigate any future problems, Uber has apparently determined that passengers need to pay their drivers a flat fee of $15 if they ever hope to get their items returned.
"In some US cities, a $15 fee is charged to you once your lost item is returned. Learn if a fee is charged in your city by selecting the 'Lost Item Fee' link below. Drivers are independent contractors and this is to compensate them for their time. The entire fee is passed on to the driver."
Uber’s is essentially calling the new charge a delivery fee, as it estimates that drivers return an average of 11 lost items a year. There's no word yet on if and when this fee will roll out to other countries, but according to Uber's forums, Uber recently began piloting the delivery fee in Los Angeles before ultimately deciding to roll it in the US.
We've contacted Uber for a comment and will update if we hear back.