Never Ever Uber

Thursday night, I was at home watching The Office (US) when I got an SMS, “A purchase transaction of GBP38.00 has been performed on your credit card on 16/02/2017 20:57:27 at UBER GB.” Confused, I tried to check if there’s an annual membership fee for Uber on the app, only to realize I don’t even have the app installed on my phone. I’ve used Uber only once in my life, and it was the first FREE ride here in the UAE. And then I wondered, why does it say UBER GB when I am in Dubai? I thought I’d give it some time and maybe they’ll revert this transaction. Then I received the receipt e-mail.

I did not order this.

Thu, Feb 16, 2017 at 9:39 PM

I received an e-mail about the transaction with the subject, “Your Thursday afternoon order with UberEATS.” It happened while I was at home eating the food that I just cooked in Dubai.

I called my bank to inform them that I didn’t use my card. The bank immediately blocked my card and issued me a new card. Since the transaction was just posted, they couldn’t do anything. I logged in to Uber using my laptop, and I was able to log in using my password. I am not sure if I was hacked (to this day) because if someone hacked my Uber account, they didn’t change my password and they ordered only 38GBP (which I find expensive for a Jerk Chicken and burger, to be honest). The order seemed precise.

The email says Uber in the receipt but from Uber Eats Marketplace. And since I’ve never used the service I didn’t know which support to contact, Uber or Uber Eats. And this is how Uber’s customer service works (how it fails, if you ask me).

Thu, Feb 16, 2017 at 10:41 PM

I tweeted, “WTF I was just charged by @uber in the UK for a food delivery, I’m in the UAE @Uber_Support.”

Uber Support at your service

@UberUKsupport immediately followed me and got in touch with me. I DMed them my concern. I didn’t get any reply from them via Twitter after my DMs.

Thu, Feb 16, 2017 at 10:43 PM

I responded to the e-mail I received saying, “I don’t have an UBER UK account nor did I order this. I need this transaction to be reverted!

Thu, Feb 16, 2017 at 10:58 PM

Nerizza (Uber Eats Support) replied to me saying Uber Eats cannot handle my issue and that I should get in touch with Uber support instead. And instead of giving me the link where I can raise my concern directly, they asked me to visit their Help site to look for it myself.

I eventually found the link for raising an issue related to “MY ACCOUNT HAS AN UNRECOGNIZED CHARGE “ and created a request. I did not get an e-mail copy of this request nor an acknowledgment. Hence, I DMed @UberUKsupport for “Any update?”.

Uber sent me an automatic e-mail two days later asking me what I thought of Nerizza’s support. NOT KIDDING.

Fri, Feb 17, 2017 at 2:21 PM

I received the first reply from Uber c/o Mostafa.

“Thanks for reaching out and happy to help. Really sorry to hear about this confusion. Because this trip was requested from a device signed in to your Uber account, we need more information about what happened. Unauthorized trip requests sometimes happen when a friend or family member mistakenly uses your account after you sign in to Uber with their phone. Please check that and confirm the charge. We appreciate your assistance in working to resolve this issue. I’ll keep an eye out for your reply”

I replied,

“No one uses my Uber account other than me. I’ve even only used it once in 2014 in Dubai. I don’t have any family or friend in the U.K. at the moment. I’ve changed my password already. I didn’t order anything and I would like for this transaction to be reverted and my account deleted. I don’t want to use your service. Thank you and looking forward to your immediate response.”

February 17, 2017 at 3:32:12 PM

The second reply from Uber came, c/o Abdelshafy .

“I’m sorry to hear about your troubles. We always advise not to share your card information with anyone, in case there someone else used the card, we will make sure that this card is disabled from our system to avoid any more charges on it, this is a security precaution for you. I’m sure that you will understand our actions to help you. Please reach to your bank to issue a new card to avoid any inconvenience. We are here to help. As for the charges it seems ligament from our side, if you suspect any suspicious movement, you can ask for a charge back from the bank. However this will lead to building arrears from your account, then you won’t be able to access your account. Your patience and understanding are highly appreciated regarding this matter.”

It seemed to me that they aren’t reading my e-mails properly which got me even more frustrated, I replied,

“I did not share my account nor my card to anyone. That’s why how come whoever used my account was able to use it in the U.K. when I’m in Dubai??? If you check my request I’ve already contacted my bank and had the card blocked. They said I have to contact you because from their side they can’t do anything. The point is, whoever used my account, logged in using my email address and used my card which is already in my profile. My question is, why would you allow that? I’m pretty sure you can track the mobile phone the person used to log in to my account so why don’t you check that? And again, how can that person log in to my account. And as I have previously mentioned, I do not wish to use your service anymore and I only want this transaction reverted and my account deleted. Lastly, if a single customer support cannot handle this, please make sure you read the whole thread first instead of us going back and forth for the same thing. “

February 18,2017 at 9:28:06 AM
The following day, I got another e-mail this time from Yara,

“Thanks for reaching out, I’ve checked your trips and I can see that this trip has been made by your device and account. As we care about your privacy and security, we recommend doing the following as soon as possible to keep your account secure:
Reset your password to something unique, new, and strong by visiting the following link: https://auth.uber.com/login/forgot-password
Double check that all of your information is correct (email, phone, etc.) at riders.uber.com
Take a look at your past trips and make sure they all look familiar
If anything looks off, let me know immediately and I’ll look into it. Otherwise, glad to have you back on the road.”

I couldn’t believe that this was how a big company is handling their customer service and security issues. I said,

“This is pointless. I am in Dubai and my phone is with me. So, saying that my account and device used it in the U.K. is not possible. I didn’t make that order nor do I know who the food was sent too. And it bothers me greatly that you can allow such a security issue happen like that. I am done going back and forth with this. So if you can’t do anything just say it explicitly. My request was simply to revert the transaction which I did not make and delete my account because I do not wish to use any of your services anymore. I have changed my password already and blocked my card. Once the transaction is reverted back, if you can’t do it, I will personally delete my account.”

Feb 18, 2017 at 3:02 PM

Eventually, they refunded me. And I requested for them to delete my account. Which seemed like the support who refunded me did already. But I still got an email from them starting with, “Hi Deleted”, the next day.

Dear deleted 😂

The whole ordeal seemed unnecessary to me and is very alarming. I’ve deleted my cards in all my online accounts and apps and plan to take my personal security more seriously. I’ve already taken steps before through the help of this but it seems that I need to do more.

I work with a lot of people from different industries and scale with their e-mail marketing and you’ll be surprised to know how most people are careless about their customer’s data; most of the clients I worked with do not require NDA (Non-disclosure agreement) and do not care about customer/subscriber exports.

I was probably never hacked. I was probably hacked. I will never know. I’ve always had problems with companies who seems to think they own my data, companies who doesn’t allow me to take full ownership over my data, like Instagram and its parent Facebook. But what’s even more bothering is if a company takes security issues like what I had with Uber, lightly. One thing is certain, I will never ever use Uber again.

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