ASK FINNEY: Rideshare lost and found, hidden fees, and more

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- What do you do if you leave something behind in a rideshare car? We've got the answer -- plus what hidden fees to look out for, and information on who owns the cars that rideshare drivers use.

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What do I do if I leave something in an Uber or Lyft?
If you leave something in your Uber or Lyft, your first recourse is to report the lost item using the app.

For Uber...
1. Open the Uber app.
2. Open the menu button on the top-left of the page.
3. Select "Your Trips."
4. Choose the trip where you think you lost your item.
5. Pick "I lost an item" from the list.
6. Choose "Contact driver about a lost item."
7. Enter in a phone number for Uber to call. (Or a friend / family member's number if you lost your phone!)
8. Uber will call you at that number; when you pick up, you'll hear ringing on the other end as it calls the driver.
9. Talk to the driver and arrange a way for them to return your item to you.

For Lyft
For rides less than 24 hours ago:
1. Open the Lyft app.
2. Tap the menu icon in the top-left of the page.
3. Tap "Ride history," then choose the trip where you think you lost your item.
4. Scroll to the bottom, then tap "Find Lost Item."
5. Tap "Call" to give your driver a phone call, or tap "Send Message" to send a text if they don't pick up.

For rides more than 24 hours ago, try sending your driver a message as described above. If your driver doesn't respond within 24 hours, select "Contact Support" on Lyft's help page so their team can assist you.

Both rideshare companies stress that they and the drivers are not responsible for lost items. The companies also state that drivers are independent contractors who will do their best to return your item to you, but their schedules and ability to return them are not guaranteed. If the driver is able to meet you to return your lost item, both Uber and Lyft will charge you a $15 returned item fee.

Of course, the best way to avoid losing items in the first place is to get into the habit of looking back at your seat as you exit the vehicle!



Speaking of lost item fees, what are some hidden fees you might encounter when using a rideshare?
On top of your regular fare, rideshare companies can sometimes charge you additional fees in certain situations. All rideshare companies charge you a "booking fee" or "service fee," which is a flat rate fee that's incorporated into your quoted cost. Some cities and states also charge an additional fee as a part of the rideshare's agreement to operate in that city.

Here are a few fees that might surprise you...
  • Cancellation fee: Fees range from $5 to $10 if you cancel more than two minutes after requesting a ride. If you take 5 minutes or longer to come out to your driver, you're considered a "no show" and charged a cancellation fee.

  • Wait time fee: Around $0.10 per minute if you take longer than a few minutes to reach the driver's vehicle.

  • Cleaning fee: $20-$150 fee for causing a mess in a driver's car. The lower fee is for messes that can be cleaned up easily, like spilled food, and the most costly fees are for messes that require the car to be professionally cleaned, or that include bodily fluids.

  • Lost item fee: $15 if your driver returns a lost item to you.

  • Airport surcharge: Between $2 to $5 extra, for getting picked up or dropped off at an airport.

  • Toll charges: Uber and Lyft passengers pay for tolls; the toll fee is included in the fare charged to you so that the driver is compensated for that toll.

  • Split fare charge (Uber only): Uber allows you to split your fare with another passenger for a fee of $0.25. (Lyft does not have a split fare function at this time.)




Are all Uber / Lyft cars owned by their drivers?
Nope - not all cars are owned by the people who drive them. To get more drivers on the streets, giving rides and earning money, both Uber and Lyft allow drivers to rent cars from them or from their partners. Both rideshare companies have entered into agreements with rental car companies like Hertz and Avis, and with rental car startups like Hyrecar and Flexdrive. These agreements allow rideshare drivers to rent cars, including insurance, basic maintenance, and other services, so that they can get on the road and start picking up passengers.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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