Explaining the New Lyft and Uber Cleaning Fee Policy

Puke, vomit, dirt, grime: Uber and Lyft have some new and strict regulations that you got to follow in order to get reimbursed. In this video and article, we’re going to look at those new requirements to claim a cleaning fee because some of our readers have told us that they’re not getting reimbursed.

And that is a problem because passengers damage our cars and we want to get them fixed!

Take a look at the video, then scroll to read the video transcript. And stick around because at the end of the video, I’m going to share with you what I really think is going on here.

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How cleaning reimbursements used to work


For my own personal experience, it was pretty easy in the past to get reimbursed. I had two instances where somebody made a mess. One, a guy was wearing a Halloween costume that had fake red blood on the  front and back, and it got all over my white car seats and it was just a mess.

And then another time a guy dragged his suitcase across my back seat and made these tire marks. Both cases I took pictures, sent in an estimate. Within 24 hours, I got paid $129 each time and then I could get my seats completely front and back cleaned. And everything was simple and easy. Not so anymore.

The Lyft requirements for claiming a cleaning fee

Let’s take a look at the screenshot here. What we can see is that Lyft is requiring at least two photos, a little story about who did it, which customer did it. And you have to report the incident either right after it happened or six hours, whichever is sooner. And if you don’t meet that time requirement, Lyft could refuse you.

They’re also not asking for an estimate, which means that we really don’t have any idea how much they’re going to pay, so that’s pretty crappy. With Uber, both of my instances were with Uber and I could say this is what I spent and they were going to pay me back. Lyft is just going to give you a certain amount of money just based on the picture of the damage and it may not be enough depending on where you live to get it really thoroughly fixed and cleaned.

Uber requirements for the cleaning fee

We can see that here again, you have to provide a little bit of a description. They ask for three photos. But here they give you up to three days in order to report it, which I think is fair. And then you also provide an estimate so that they know how much they’re going to pay you and they tell you that it can really be up to $250. Now, I’m just an honest guy and for me, it was $129 to get it fixed and that’s what they paid me.

Uber has a better cleaning fee policy for drivers

Judging from the two, Uber definitely leads the pack. It makes it a lot easier because you got a little bit more time and you can tell them how much it costs and boom, they’re going to pay you. But now, let’s look at some situations where Uber and Lyft didn’t pay.

What happens when Uber and Lyft don’t pay up?

Let’s take a look at this little Twitter exchange, which occurred on our The Rideshare Guy Twitter account. You can see this guy named Paranormal Discovery. He had a rider vomit in his car last night. He got it cleaned, submitted everything. And then Josie from Lyft just said, “We will not be moving forward with your most recent damage claim.”

What’s up with that? You provide an estimate, you provide a picture and they just say no and they don’t really give you any reason. That’s the frustrating part is this driver was not given a reason. Which kind of leaves you feeling really like, “Well, where’s our driver partnership here?”

Now it’s not just Lyft, Uber also has an instance of not paying, which we were notified of by one of our drivers. Check out this picture. The story behind this picture is that a passenger got so sick they didn’t vomit, they actually pooped and that picture was sent into Uber. And in addition to that, there was also a receipt sent in for only $50 to fix that. And Uber did not pay.

You have to ask, why? Drivers are sending you what Uber and Lyft need. And this is what makes it so frustrating, that we’re not getting any reasons why.

This is a hidden cost for all drivers

These are hidden expenses, because it’s not just about not getting reimbursed. You gave to take time off from driving in order to get things fixed. Let’s say you’re driving at night and some guy spews all over your backseat. Then you’re done for that night. The next day you’re going to spend all day getting your car fixed and you’re going to have to probably take an Uber and a Lyft back home and back to get the repair.

A full day of driving. I mean that’s 100s and 100s of dollars on top of the reimbursement. So, I guess there’s a cautionary note here is, be prepared. Carry barf bags for your passengers so that if anyone looks even the slightest like they’re going to vomit, have a bag because then you won’t have to deal with this.

The other thing that I do a lot with luggage, if I have too much luggage for the trunk, I put a towel down before I put luggage on top because sometimes people have liquids inside their luggage or the luggage just has dirt. So, these are a couple of things you can do to prepare.

Key takeaways: Follow the rules. Okay.In Lyft’s case, if you don’t report this within six hours, they can say, “No. We’re not going to pay you because you didn’t report it in time.” If your pictures aren’t clear, they can say, No. It’s not clear that there’s damage.” If you don’t provide a good solid estimate that’s dated, that’s legit, they could say no. So, be totally prepared.

What’s happening here? Why are they paying less?

What I think is really going on here is now that they have gone IPO, they’re public companies. Both Uber and Lyft are watching their bottom lines. They’re cutting our rates a little bit. They’re cutting our bonuses a little bit. They’re cutting our surge and prime time, and they’re probably trying to cut as much as they can from these repair fees, even though the passengers pay it.

Another thing that could be happening is they are approaching the passenger and the passenger says, “What? I didn’t poop in their car.” Or, “What? I didn’t vomit in their car. The driver’s making it all up.” And that’s why the pictures are so important and so is the timeliness of your reporting. But basically, it’s an attempt to keep cutting costs so they’re going to make it more difficult and more difficult. Kind of like squeezing blood out of a turnip, right, it’s hard. But if you follow the rules, you should be okay.

I want to say thanks for watching. Hope you learned a little something about cleaning fees. When you got to request a reimbursement, have all your ducks in a row! You all go out and have a great day. Be safe out there.



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