U.S. & World

Uber driver inflates fare, uses customer's phone to tip himself $76

TAMPA, FL (WFLA) - What should have been a $36 Uber ride from Ybor City to Brandon ended up costing a woman $281 and her cell phone.

Jennifer Davis turned to Better Call Behnken after her Uber driver, who goes by Ashraf, kept her cell phone and used that phone to log onto her Uber account and give himself a $76 tip. He also inflated the mileage of the trip so the fare jumped from $38 to $204. 

If that's not strange enough, get this.

The driver used Davis' Uber app to give himself a 5-star rating. He also filed a complaint with Uber against Davis, claiming she made "gestures" during her trip and made him uncomfortable.

He then used Davis' app to respond to that complaint - pretending to be Davis - from Davis' email account on her phone.

"It unbelievable," Davis said. "It's outrageous."

Davis says this Uber nightmare began early Sunday, around 2 a.m., when she and her boyfriend called for an Uber ride. They had gone to dinner and a comedy show in Ybor City, had a couple of drinks and wanted to get a safe ride home.

"The trip was completely normal," she said. 

The next day, however, she couldn't find her cell phone. Remembering that the last place she used it was in the Uber car, her boyfriend got into her Uber app on a computer and contacted the driver.

The driver responded and said he had the phone that Davis left in the backseat by mistake. 

Text messages show that the driver promised to drop the phone off to the couple later that day. He never did, though, and eventually stopped returning text messages. Davis says she then heard a "disconnected" message when she tried to reach the driver.

It wasn't until she logged into her email account through her computer that she discovered what the Uber driver had been doing with her cell phone. 

"I couldn't believe it," she said. "I was in shock."

Davis had been quoted $38 for the nearly 10-mile commute from Ybor City to Brandon. However, the map of her trip, in her Uber app, showed the route from Ybor to Wesley Chapel in Pasco County and then to Riverview, near the driver's home.

Davis contacted Uber numerous times but was getting nowhere. She received a refund for part of the fare but then it was taken away again. No one offered help about the phone. An Uber representative sent her email, advising her to contact local law enforcement.

Davis took Uber up on that advice.

She reported the incident to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. She also turned to Better Call Behnken for help getting her phone and her money back.

After calls from Better Call Behnken, Uber sent this statement: 

“The reported conduct is completely unacceptable. The driver’s access to the app has been removed.”

Uber also said it would reimburse Davis for both the fare and the tip. They even threw in a $100 gift card for a future trip.

As for the driver, he could face criminal charges, according to a representative from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office who said the driver admitted to using the phone to steal from Davis. 

Follow Shannon Behnken on Facebook


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