Uber passengers who are wrongly charged for a cancelled trip are often given credit by the cab app rather than a refund. But if you're affected, there's an easy way to get your money back instead.
If you request a cab using Uber and a driver accepts but then cancels your trip, in some cases you may have a cancellation charge of about £4 to £5 applied to your account. You can dispute this – but many passengers who do so are finding they have credit applied to their Uber account instead of being given a refund.
While this may not matter to regular Uber passengers, it can be a problem for those who don't use the app very often, don't want to use the app again or are given credit overseas which they can't then use.
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What's the problem?
We heard about this issue from one MoneySaver, who contacted us to say: "Of the last three trips I've booked, the driver has cancelled on me, for which Uber then charged me a £5 fee. You have to go through the app to contest the fee.
"However, you then get an email to say thanks for the complaint and in response they have 'credited' my Uber account with the £5. So in effect they've just taken £5 from my bank and now tied it up in my Uber account.
"It doesn't seem right that they can take money from someone's bank and tie it up in their own account."
The same thing happened to MSE Megan during a recent visit to Edinburgh, when the driver cancelled her trip as he was stuck in traffic. Uber quickly applied a credit to her account – but as she rarely uses the app she wanted her money back instead.
This can be a particular problem if you're travelling and using Uber overseas – Uber credit issued in foreign currencies can't be transferred to use in the UK, so unless you go back to the country you won't be able to use the credit.
Wrongly charged? How to get a REFUND rather than credit
Uber says it is possible to dispute a cancellation charge and get a refund instead of credit – you just have to request it the right way.
If your driver cancels and you're charged, when you click into the trip in the app the top option should be 'Problem with my cancellation fee'. Many click that and then 'My driver cancelled' – but if you do this, you'll be given credit not a refund.
To get a refund, you should instead choose the third option – 'I would like a refund', then 'I had a different issue with my charge' and then type in what happened and explain you want cash back instead of credit.
It's likely the refund will take longer to appear in your bank account than for your account to be credited.
If you're initially given credit but would prefer a refund you can contact Uber to ask it to send the money to your bank account instead – but it's likely you'd need to do this before making another Uber trip as the credit will be applied to that journey.
What does Uber say?
An Uber spokesperson said: "Users can also get a refund through the app if they would prefer [that to having credit applied].
"We don't know if a cancellation fee was wrongly charged at the point we give users credit. This is just an immediate gesture for the benefit of our users.
"We believe users like this feature as it does not require them to engage with our support team. If a user would prefer a refund instead of credit, they simply need to let us know and we will refund the cancellation charge in every instance where they are eligible.
"We're always looking for ways to improve the way the app works and will look at this policy to see where it can be improved."