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Travel Troubleshooter: Uber owes me $100. Can you help me get it back? - The Mercury News

Author: The Mercury News

Source: https://www.mercurynews.com/2023/10/30/travel-troubleshooter-uber-owes-me-100-can-you-help-me-get-it-back/

Image of Travel Troubleshooter: Uber owes me $100. Can you help me get it back? - The Mercury News

DEAR TRAVEL TROUBLESHOOTER: I have an account with Uber.Earlier this year, I added my granddaughter to my account so that she could have easy travel from the University of Washington in Seattle to my house in Mercer Island, Washington.Christopher Elliott, the Travel Troubleshooter I added her successfully, but when she tried to access the account, Uber said that there was “not enough money” in the account for her to use the service.I was puzzled because Uber had my credit card on record.There was never a question of having money in the account, but I dutifully added $100.However, Uber still denied their service to my granddaughter.So I opened a Lyft account, which solved the problem. My granddaughter can now use that account for rides.Meanwhile, I wanted the $100 back from Uber.I have emailed and called the company repeatedly, but no joy.On the last call I made, a representative told me that the problem had to be handled by the accounts department and that they would call me back.No one has called back.All I want is the $100 returned to my credit card.Can you help?— Alec Nowers, Mercer Island, WashingtonANSWER: Uber should have allowed your granddaughter to use your account. Uber offers a family profile where you can add anyone as long as they’re at least 18 years old and have an Uber account.When your granddaughter tried to hail an Uber, it should have worked.Why did an Uber representative recommend adding money to your account?Why not just help you add your credit card to your granddaughter’s profile?I asked Uber to clarify what happened to you, but it did not respond.Uber’s customer service department is highly automated, and if I had to guess, I’d say that you were dealing with an AI chatbot instead of a real person.And if you’ve ever spent time talking to a chatbot before, you should know they are heavy on the “artificial” and light on the “intelligence.”I like your solution, which was switching to Lyft. In a perfect world, you would switch to a competitor when a company gives you substandard service.But in a world where businesses are consolidating quickly — and that’s particularly true for airlines — your strategy is not always possible.Here’s another thing you could have done: I publish the names, email addresses and phone numbers of the Uber company executives on my consumer advocacy site, www.Elliott.org.You could have emailed one of them and hopefully resolved this problem quickly.Why couldn’t Uber just send your credit back as cash?Well, this is due to the fact that it considers the credit a gift card, and gift card credits are not refundable, returnable or redeemable for cash “except where required by law,” according to Uber.Under Washington State law, Uber doesn’t have to refund your gift card. (It should, but that’s a topic for another time.) So, once you give Uber your cash, it’s theirs.But I contacted Uber on your behalf, and it refunded the $100 credit.Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a nonprofit organization that helps consumers solve their problems.Email him at [email protected] or get help by contacting him at elliottadvocacy.org/help/.(c) 2023 Christopher Elliott Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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