Most of you are probably aware of cleaning fees and the basics of how to request one. However, it's extremely difficult to get comprehensive information about them in one place. Most find out the nitty gritty details after a cleaning fee has already happened and aren't getting their fee because of something small. I've written this comprehensive guide to help you dot your i's and cross your t's so you can get your cleaning fees.
What can be reimbursed?
Any kind of bodily fluids (vomit, urine, blood, etc) are a no-brainer. We used to automatically give $200 but lately we have some leeway so you may receive less than that if it's a particularly small mess. Where things get a little gray are messes like sand, dirt, water, glitter, trash, food debris, etc. In those cases we use our own discretion and whether you get a cleaning fee and how much depends on our judgment.
Support will almost never give a cleaning fee for water unless it's very extensive; meaning completely soaked and on more than one seat. This isn't something we agree with but management has said that drivers are expected to be prepared to carry wet passengers, like those who are coming from a pool or the beach. Dirt, sand or mud are expected on your floors/floor mats but if the amount requires more than basic cleaning and keeps you offline for an extended amount of time, you'll receive something. Small amounts of dirt or other substances, crumbs, or trash left behind won't be reimbursed.
What do you need to provide?
Well, it's pretty basic. We need to know what happened, we need clear pictures of the mess, and we need to know what trip it is within 48 hours. As long as the information is sent in that time, you will be fine even if we might not respond within that time frame. The pictures need to be clear and well-lit because blurry or dark pictures are hard to guage. They also need to show the entire mess and we like to have 2-3 of them. What you show us is what you get reimbursed for, no exceptions. If you have no pictures, you will not be reimbursed. End of story. No, we will not ask the rider about it. Also if you don't know which trip it took place on (hey, it happens) then we can't reimburse you. We can't just make a guess about who to charge.
How much will you get?
Support has somewhat of a set scale for how much is reimbursed for each type of mess but as always with cleaning fees, we have wiggle room to make judgment calls. However, it basically goes like this:
- $25: This amount is very new. It's for small messes such as food that don't warrant a $50 but it's beyond a normal, every day mess.
- $50: Vomit on the outside of the vehicle, smaller messes or messes on easy to clean surfaces
- $100: Larger messes or those that are on hard to clean surfaces, small bodily fluid messes
- $200: This is mainly reserved for bodily fluid messes on the inside of the vehicle. Vomit is the most common.
Sometimes you'll get an odd amount (like $53) but it's not policy.
What if the cleaning fee is declined?
As I mentioned above, cleaning fees can be declined for a few different reasons. The main one being that there's no picture or the picture wasn't submitted within 48 hours of the trip. If you have no picture, we cannot give you a cleaning fee and a receipt won't help you. We also cannot contact a rider to get their story. Pictures required, period. I can't stress that enough. We'll also decline if it isn't a large enough mess to warrant a fee. This can be debated and sometimes we can be convinced if you can give a good argument but your best bet will usually be to go into the partner support center.
Now For An Unpleasant Subject
I have to bring this up because it does happen. Please don't fake the cleaning fees. Don't use pictures from Google because we can reverse image search and find them. Don't smear some substance on your car and claim it's vomit. You might be able to succeed but after a certain number of disputes from riders, we will stop honoring your cleaning fee requests. Even if they're legitimate, we won't even consider paying out. Don't do it, it's not worth it.
A Word About Damage Fees
Sadly, damage fees are very simple nowadays. We require pictures of the damage, the trip ID, and once we have those we need a written estimate within 5 business days. However, unless the rider agrees to pay we cannot pay you. They can admit they did it and still refuse to pay and we can't charge them. If we reach out to them and they don't respond to us, we can't charge them. Your only recourse if the damage fee is declined is to file a claim and deal with the $1,000 deductible. Why this is different from cleaning fees, we do not know and management isn't giving us any clues other than it's because damage fees generate so much negative social media attention. Sorry.
Feel free to ask questions in the comments below or by sending me a private message. Drive safe!
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