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So your passenger just got sick. That’s part of the territory as an Uber or Lyft driver – you’re transporting intoxicated passengers late at night, and sometimes drunk people get sick. This is understandably frustrating because vomit results in lost time and wages. Luckily, Lyft and Uber acknowledge that their drivers are no strangers to these types of messes and they have made it simple for you to get reimbursed.
Handling a Sick Passenger Post-Vomit
First things first, you want to make sure your passenger does not need medical attention. Ask if they’re alright, and make sure they’re conscious. Roll down your windows to increase airflow in your vehicle. If the passenger is still feeling nauseous, offer them a puke bag if you have one on hand. Alternatively, find a safe spot to pull to the side of the road to prevent any further mess inside your vehicle.
You want to make sure you get your passenger to their destination safely. After you drop off your passenger, find a well-lit area to park your car. Documenting the mess is essential if you want to receive compensation in the form of a cleaning fee.
What is an Uber/Lyft cleaning fee?
Ultimately, both Uber and Lyft will help you get reimbursed. This payment goes entirely to you, and it should be used only to clean and repair your car to get it back into operational condition. Yes, this is not a fun situation to be in, but luckily there’s a quick and easy way to work through it.
How to Report a Sick Passenger
First, record what happened and give honest feedback about the situation on the passenger’s profile. It might be helpful to take a screenshot of what you wrote in case it comes up later.
After that, take multiple photos and videos of the mess. These photos need to be well-lit, even if the incident happened late at night. It may seem gross, but documenting the mess with videos and pictures is extremely important. Remember, the passenger can try to dispute the additional cost so this is a necessary step to protect yourself.
If you have a dashcam (you should), and it was functioning at the time of the incident, you may want to consider submitting that video as well. The video may help your rideshare company identify the passenger and ensure that the claim is valid. The more information you can offer to bolster your report, the better.
Uber Cleaning Fee: Sick Passenger Report
When it is time to submit a claim directly to Uber, you’ll want to have documentation on hand. Make sure you have the following information before submitting your claim:
- Photos of the mess
- A cleaning receipt if you chose to use a professional service
- A receipt for cleaning supplies purchased if you choose to clean it up yourself
(Uber may deny your claim if you don’t provide a receipt, so be proactive.)
You’ll also need to offer Uber a description of events. This might include the date/time the ride started and ended, what happened during the ride, and identifying details about the passenger.
Requesting a Cleaning Fee in your Uber App
This step is time-sensitive and needs to be done within three days of the trip:
Go into the Uber Driver app > Account > Help > Trips and Fare Reviews > then click on the trip in which the passenger got sick. Then go to Rider Feedback > Fare Adjustment: Request a cleaning fee. Fill out the form and submit a photo. Hit Submit when you’re done.
Be patient afterward, it might take a few days for Uber to get back to you. They might reach out and ask for additional information about the event. In other cases, it might be a few minutes before you receive the cleaning fee.
Cleaning Fees for Uber
At the end of the day, you have to make sure you are properly compensated for the cleaning you have to undertake. Uber’s support page notes that passengers are responsible for vomit, beverage, and food messes in your car. The way the platform keeps them accountable is to properly charge them for the corresponding mess they made. Uber posted another blurb that outlines the cleaning fee breakdown.
The breakdown starts at $80 for “minor bodily fluid messes” and goes up to $150 for “major bodily fluid messes”. The good news is the full fee goes directly to the driver which means that you can go ahead and get the proper cleaning materials to take care of the mess.
Lyft Cleaning Fee: Sick Passenger Report
Lyft’s support site spells out what to do after a passenger vomits. Essentially, you’ll want to start by taking at least two clear photos of the mess. Then, you’ll want to have several pieces of information handy. You need the passenger’s name, their pick-up location, and their drop-off destination.
Requesting a Cleaning Fee in your Lyft App
In your app, go to the Help section and follow these steps:
- In the subject type “Damage fee request”
- Select “Driver”
- Select “Issue with a ride”
- Choose the relevant ride
- Select “A passenger caused damage to my vehicle”
After that, there is a box for the incident details. Make sure you fill it in completely, then attach the photos you took along with any videos of the mess or event if you have a rear-facing passenger cam.
Cleaning Fees for Lyft
Lyft’s platform is a little more difficult when it comes to reporting a passenger getting sick in your car. Uber has a very specific price breakdown depending on the varying levels of messes the passenger caused. Lyft, on the other hand, leaves the compensation up to the sole discretion of Lyft. They will determine the fee amount. The fee can be as high as $250, but typically drivers report commiserate compensation for the mess, so it’s a fair ruling. Same as Uber, these damages will come directly from the passenger and will be paid directly to you.
After documenting the mess, you need to get it cleaned up. Luckily, you have a couple of options. No matter which process you choose, make sure you keep all receipts and document the cleaning efforts.
Professional Car Detailer
When a passenger vomits in your car, it’s essential to get the interior cleaned as fast as possible. One way to make this happen without cleaning it yourself is to take your car to a professional detailer. After you drop off the sick passenger, search for the nearest professional cleaner.
If you use a professional to get the interior of your car cleaned, you MUST keep the receipt in order to get reimbursed. Before you get back on the road, take a quick look at your receipt. Uber requires the receipt to have:
- The date of the cleaning
- The details of the car wash where the cleaning was done – name and address
You’ll need to submit this receipt while making an official sick passenger report in order to be reimbursed for the service.
The old saying is if you want something done right you need to do it yourself. Maybe that holds true in this scenario too. If you’re not afraid to roll up your sleeves and clean up the mess, you might as well take care of it. This method is the quickest and cheapest. You might even get it done in enough time to continue driving.
Keeping cleaning utensils in your trunk is the best way to expedite the process. Here are some popular items experienced rideshare drivers keep on hand:
Some of these items are featured in our 10 Things Every Uber Driver Needs guide. Check it out for more recommendations.
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Elianna S is a freelance writer specializing in legal and technological subjects. Her educational background is politics and American Studies.