Uber claimed the 'severity of the incident' required the rider to pay for a 'professional clean'
AN Uber passenger was left gobsmacked after being slapped with a £25 penalty for leaving "half a chip" in the back seat.
Rachel Pangburn, 28, had been enjoying a Christmas night out with her boyfriend in Greater Manchester when she was stung with the cleaning bill.
Outraged Rachel branded the driver's move "overboard" and said he hadn't objected to food being in the vehicle before they arrived home on Saturday night.
She claims the car's interior was already dirty when she got in and desperately needed a "valet".
The rider slammed Uber's fine after the money was deducted from her bank account, on top of the £16.50 charge for the journey.
Rachel, of Hyde, in Tameside, said: "It was the third Uber I'd taken that day.
"When we got out of the taxi it was fine. There was no mention of any mess inside.
"On Monday I checked my emails only to find I had been charged £25 as part of a cleaning fee.
"I was like: 'What the hell?'. How can you charge that much to remove half a chip?
"If you look on the picture you can see a load of crumbs too. It just looks like the car needed a valet and he charged us for it."
Rachel complained to Uber, asking to have the charge reviewed.
But the firm initially upheld the fee due to the 'severity of the incident'.
An email sent to Rachel said: "A mess that resulted from your trip required professional cleaning.
"When your driver submits a cleaning fee request, we assess and charge the cleaning fee per the extent of the mess and reasonable cost of cleaning.
"Due to the severity of the incident on this trip, a cleaning fee of £25.00 was applied."
Uber then sent Rachel a photo of the car's interior.
Rachel added: "I use Uber all of the time but I never will again after what's happened."
Yet a representative for Uber said Rachel had since been refunded for the cleaning fee.
An Uber spokeswoman said: “The Uber app is based on mutual respect for both riders and drivers.
"For licensed drivers who use the app, their vehicles are their place of work and any damage or mess can mean they are unable to continue working.
"When a driver claims a cleaning fee, they are required to provide us with the details of the trip and the incident as well as photographic evidence and a validated cleaning receipt.
"In this instance, we have refunded the rider and re-opened the claim for further investigation by our support team.
"We are constantly evaluating our processes and technology related to these claims and will take appropriate action whenever fraud may be detected.”