PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Brandon Dunham is a college student who drives a lot. In fact, Dunham says he sometimes clocks nearly 100 miles a day just getting around the Valley.
"Sometimes it’s driving to Tempe. You know, that's 40 miles right there,” he told 3 On Your Side. “Then on to Grand Canyon State University. And, I have to make it to work sometimes."
After a long day recently, Dunham said he wanted to visit some friends, but, the last thing he wanted to do was get back into his car. He got on to his cell phone and ordered an Uber. It's something he says he does frequently.
"I like to use Uber. Whether it's UberEats or an Uber to get around to different places to see my friends," he told us.
After visiting with those friends, Dunham ordered another Uber to get back home. The ride was supposed to be $27.41, but when he checked his bank account later, he noticed Uber charged an additional $150 fee.
"I was like, 'What can this $150 fee be? What is it?' Uber never got back with me until three days later and said it was a cleaning fee."
Along with that $150 cleaning fee, Uber also sent Dunham photos reportedly provided by the Uber driver.
The pictures show some kind of red liquid drizzled all over the backseat floor mat.
Dunham says he did not bring anything into the car with him and that mess wasn't his fault.
"So, you get into the car with no food or no drink,” I asked.
"No sir, because I didn't want to end up making a mess," he replied.
Dunham says the floor mat must have been stained by another passenger who was picked up after him.
Or he suspects he might have been the victim of something known as the "Uber Scam." It's sometimes called "Vomit Fraud."
Look it up on Google and you'll see that there are plenty of complaints. People claim that their Uber driver staged a scene showing stains inside their car so that they could collect an extra $150.
3 On Your Side asked Uber to look into Dunham’s issue. They did and although they didn't provide any details, Uber told 3 On Your Side they were returning Dunham’s $150.
Dunham says he’s thankful. But he also says that from now on, he'll take a quick cell phone picture of the backseat when he gets out of the car-- just to protect himself.
“That way you have time stamps and time of day," he said. "That way you can see how the car was presented."
Uber says it’s constantly monitoring for driver fraud and takes immediate action whenever fraud is detected.
Below, you’ll find a statement from Uber along with some other information they provided to 3 On Your Side.
· If a rider sees any incorrect charges, they should report it to us immediately.
· Uber’s community guidelines outline our policies against fraud of any kind.
· While I don’t have specific numbers for you, I can tell you that the vast majority of cleaning fee reports are legitimately the result of someone making a mess in the car. In the instances where we find a confirmed case of fraud, we take appropriate action including removing the driver from the app.
· Uber is always evaluating its customer service processes and looking for ways to better serve our riders and drivers. We recognize there are challenges for our support teams to look into these types of situations and so we are enhancing our internal processes and investing in additional resources when investigating cleaning fee claims.