Man orders Lyft for drunken stranger, gets slapped with $150 fee

By Ben Hooper  |  Dec. 18, 2017 at 11:40 AM
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Dec. 18 (UPI) -- A New York state man who ordered a Lyft for an intoxicated stranger said he was issued a $150 cleaning bill when she threw up in the vehicle.

Malcolm Whitfield said he was at a bar in Rochester on a November night when he became concerned that an inebriated woman was planning to get home in a dangerous fashion.

"I got scared she would drive home," Whitfield told WHAM-TV.

Whitfield said his good deed backfired when he got a text from the Lyft driver a short time later.

"I get a text from him saying, 'She just threw up in my car.' I was like, 'that's bad! Let me just double your tip,'" Whitfield said.

Whitfield said Lyft contacted him the next day to say there would by a $150 cleaning charge from the ride.

"When Lyft sent me the pictures, I was like, 'Oh no! I don't want to look!' It's a bummer, but I know at least now, don't throw up in a Lyft or Uber. That is something I learned!," he said.

Whitfield said he checked and the cleaning fee is outlined in Lyft's terms and conditions.

"No one thinks to read that," he said.

Whitfield said he contacted the woman and she refused to reimburse him for the $185 he spent on her ride home.

"It was such a hit, because it was out of nowhere. $185 just gone. For a second, I was like, 'Never do anything nice again.' For a second!" he said.

WHAM-TV said it got in touch with the woman and she agreed to pay the fee. She said she was previously unaware of Lyft's cleaning fee policy.

An Uber customer in Toronto was charged more than $14,000 for a 5-mile ride earlier this month and the company initially refused to issue the man a refund.

Uber reserved its position after the rider, Instagram user votethehish, took his story to numerous news sites. The company said the bill was a result of an error in surge pricing.

"There was an error here and it has been resolved," Uber said in a statement. "We have provided a full refund to this rider and apologized to him for this experience. We have safeguards in place to help prevent something like this from happening, and we are working to understand how this occurred."

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