Uber Fees: An Explanation and How to Avoid Them

April 1, 2019 0 Comments

Have you ever completed an Uber ride only to notice an unexpected fee on your ride receipt? Uber charges several fees that very few Uber users know about. In this article, I discuss all of the fees that Uber charges, how to avoid them, and how you can get a refund on unjustified fees.

Uber charges these fees to customers

  • Cancellation Fee: Up to $5 if you cancel two minutes after requesting a ride, or if you take 5 minutes or longer to come out to your driver
  • Wait Time Fee: Around $0.10 per minute if you take longer than a few minutes to reach the driver’s vehicle
  • Booking Fee: A flat fee charged to all rides to cover Uber costs. Typically around $2.40. Nonrefundable.
  • Cleaning Fee: $20–$150 fee for causing a mess in a driver’s car
  • Lost Item Fee: $15 if your driver returns a lost item to you. Not charged in all cities.
  • Airport Surcharge: Around $4, for getting picked up or dropped off at an airport
  • Toll charges: Passengers pay for tolls. Toll costs are typically included in the fare you pay to Uber

How to dispute any fee from Uber

Inside the Uber app, tap the menu icon (☰) > Your Trips > Select the trip in question > Select “Review my Fare or Fees” > Select the relevant menu item and complete the form.

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The Uber Cancellation Fee

Uber users will be charged a cancellation or no-show fee in these situations:

  • You will be charged if you cancel more than 2 minutes after your ride request is accepted by a driver
  • You will be charged if you don’t arrive at your driver’s vehicle 5 minutes after the driver arrives at your location

The fee in these situations is variable, typically up to $5. For UberBlack and SUV, the cancellation fee is $10.

The Uber no-show cancellation fee: You will receive a cancellation fee if your driver arrives at your location and you don’t arrive at their vehicle after 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, your driver has the option to cancel your ride as a ‘no show,’ and you’ll be charged a fee, typically around $5.

The best way to avoid cancellation fees is to be sure that you want to request a ride and be ready to go out to the driver as soon as they arrive. The Uber app sends a text when your driver is arriving, so you get plenty of notification. It’s possible that some drivers could abuse the ‘no show’ fee, but the Uber apps track cancellations and Uber will deactivate drivers who abuse the system.

Can you get a refund for the cancellation fee? It is possible. Of all the fees, this one is more likely to be reversed if you dispute it inside the app or at help.uber.com. Uber has tons of data about your ride, so they can see exactly how long a driver had to wait for you before the driver canceled, or how long you waited before you canceled the trip.

Wait Time Fees

Some Uber markets charge a Wait Time fee, which is a small fee charged to you if a driver has to wait more than a few minutes for you to arrive at their vehicle. The fee is usually around $0.10 per minute. If a driver cancels your ride as a no-show, you will be charged the no show fee, but not any wait time fees that accumulated.

A key things to note is that the Wait Time fee is not charged on airport trips or UberPOOL trips.

The Uber Booking Fee

The Uber Booking Fee is a flat fee that is added to every ride, typically around $2.40. Its purpose is to, “help support safety initiatives for riders and drivers as well as other operational costs.”

The cost of the Booking Fee depends on the city you live in, but right now the Booking Fee ranges from around $2.40 to $2.80 per ride. There is no way to avoid the Booking Fee. 

Can you get a refund for the Uber Booking Fee? No. It’s a nonrefundable fee that covers operational costs. The only way you will get a refund of the Booking Fee is if the entire trip is refunded.

The Uber Cleaning Fee

If you make a mess in your driver’s car, you may be charged a cleaning fee. The cleaning fee is usually between $20 and $150, depending on the level of mess you left in the vehicle. If your driver claims that you left a mess in their car, you’ll receive an email explaining that you caused a mess and that the cleaning fee is being applied to your ride.

The most common cause of the cleaning fee is vomit, food stains, and fluid stains. Some passengers are shocked by big cleaning fee charges, but Uber bases them off of standard cleaning costs across the country.

But wait! Can’t a driver just say that you left a mess in their car just to collect an easy fee? It’s not that simple. Drivers have to send photographic proof of the damage to Uber before they can collect a cleaning fee. Many drivers have been caught and deactivated for trying to take advantage of the cleaning fee.

Can you get a refund for the cleaning fee? Yes, but only if you didn’t leave a mess or if the mess wasn’t as bad as the driver reported. Uber drivers must show evidence of the mess with photos. You can dispute the charge, but expect to go back and forth with Uber for awhile before the issue is resolved.

How to dispute a cleaning fee from Uber: Open the Uber app or visit riders.uber.com. Under “Your Trips,” find the trip where you were charged a fee, then tap “Review my fare or fees.” Find the item that says, “I was charged a cleaning fee.” There will be a text box that allows you to share details and dispute the charge.

The Uber Lost Item Fee

If you lose an item and your driver returns it to you, you’ll be charged $15. Not all cities currently charge the $15 lost item fee. Uber drivers aren’t responsible for lost items, so if you lost an item in a driver’s car and they can’t find it, they are not liable in any way.

If you lose an item, open the Uber app, tap the menu > Your Trips > Tap on the trip where you lost the item > Tap ‘I Lost An Item.’ Complete the form. Your driver will contact you, and at that point, you are able to arrange a time and place to retrieve your item.

Airport Fees and Surcharges

Now that you can get an Uber to and from most airports, it’s important to note that nearly all airports charge a pickup/dropoff fee that is passed on to riders and included in your Uber fare. Airports charge a flat fee for pickups and dropoffs that is usually around $4.

Can you get a refund on airport fees? No. Airports charge Uber for each drop off or pickup at an airport, and Uber will always pass that cost on to you.


Uber passengers are responsible for toll charges, but you won’t typically hand cash to your driver. The Uber app knows when your route includes a toll, and typically the cost of the toll is included in the up-front price you see when you first request the trip. If your driver asks you to pay for a toll and you cover it, you can let Uber know after the trip is over by visiting the ride in the “Your Trips” section of the app.

Can you get refund for a toll charge? If the toll was included in the cost of your trip and your driver took the toll route, you will not get a refund. If you paid for a toll in cash and the Uber trip included the cost of the toll, you can get a refund for the double payment.

How to dispute an Uber fee, and ways to contact Uber

If you think that a fee or surcharge added to your ride was done in error, you can dispute it inside the Uber app or at help.uber.com. Inside the Uber app, select “Your Trips,” and find the ride that included the fee you want to dispute. Next, select “Review my fare or fees.” Select that help item and complete any form present on the page, then submit the form. You will get an email when Uber responds, and your conversation can continue with Uber via email.

Uber typically stands behind their fees and surcharges, but you can get your money back if the fee was in error, or if you can persuasively make your case.

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