Uber Driver Allegedly Locks Passenger In Car, Gives Himself Five-Star Rating
Uber has definitely had its fair share of bad press lately. A month ago, we covered an unbelievable price surge, as well as an incident where an Uber driver tried to extort 500 bucks from a passenger when she left her phone in the car.
Now, a woman is claiming that an Uber driver would not let her out of the car until he gave himself a five-star rating on her phone.
The passenger, who wishes to remain anonymous, emailed LAist about the incident earlier today. The story goes like this: last night, she called an Uber to take her home from a dinner gathering with friends. The driver—named Marat, who had a respectable 4.9/5 rating—seemed fine during the short trip to her neighborhood.
When he pulled over to let her out, however, things got a little scary:
[Marat] refused to unlock the door as I was trying to get out even though I pulled at the door handle multiple times (childlock?). At this point I was getting nervous as it was dark (around 10:30 pm) and I was in there alone. The driver parked his car and turned around in his seat. He told me he wanted to see my phone to see how much the ride cost. I took my phone out and opened the Uber app showing him the price of $3.79. Then the driver reached over to try to grab my phone so I moved it out of his reach. After several attempts of him trying to tap something on my screen, I was scared for my safety and was also curious what he was trying to do so I just put the screen closer to him. Then he proceeded to rate himself 5 stars out of 5 and finally unlocked the door to let me out of the car. This is the scariest and weirdest experience I have ever had with any of the car sharing services. It is so ridiculous that he would go to such lengths to maintain his rating satisfactory that as freaked out as I was, the anti-climatic ending to this story is funny in a fucked up way. I don't know if I will be taking Uber again and would warn females to refrain from taking it alone at night or carry self-defense products with them.
Even if the service is new, this is a familiar problem. Cab drivers have held their passengers captive over tips and fare—now Uber drivers (or at least this one) are allegedly doing the same thing over ratings.
UPDATE 1/22: A rep for Uber got back to us saying that the driver's actions are "absolutely unacceptable" and they're trying to get to the bottom of the situation. Meanwhile, it looks like incidents like this have happened before. Here's another tweeted complaint from another passenger on the same night our tipster had her altercation:
We also found our tipster's original complaint on Uber LA's Twitter account, but she has since deleted it.
UPDATE: Our tipster was gracious enough to send us a copy of her Uber receipt: