I really like ride-hailing services like Uber for the convenience and relative safety they offer while traveling. Especially in countries where taxi use can be dangerous, or where they run without meters and scam the tourists. And Uber is one of the few that have a presence in other countries. There are also local apps I use, but sometimes those aren’t in English.
Recently I noticed that my Amex Platinum card had expired on my Uber account. This card comes with a $15 per month Uber credit. Not wanting to waste this benefit I tried to update my card. But I kept getting errors in the account telling me that my payment method was declined by my financial institution. I knew this was not true: I could see the temporary authorization going through on my credit card. And Amex confirmed it wasn’t a problem on their end. So I contacted Uber support through the app.
That was a mistake. A big mistake.
18 messages later, and I got this: “Your account has been suspended for activity that violates our Terms and Conditions and will be unavailable for you to use until further notice. We will let you know if we will consider lifting the suspension.”
So what did I do to violate the T&C? Your guess is as good as mine.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, because first I should walk through the previous 17 messages from Uber. Each message was from a different person, and only two of them were remotely relevant. The rest were form messages that are related to payment methods:
- “It looks like the payment method is really not compatible with our billing processes.” Here are some other ways you can pay.
- “I’m happy to help you add your payment method. Please see the instructions below.”
- “It looks like we weren’t able to verify the card with your financial institution.”
- “You do not have an Amex enrolled in Amex Premium Benefits.” (Of course I don’t, because I can’t add the card!)
I got variations on these messages multiple times, in no particular order. My response was always: please look at my original question and the evidence I provided of the issue on the Uber side. I admit I got less and less friendly as this went on with responses unrelated to my issue. Especially because I did get two messages agreeing it was an Uber problem:
“Our team is aware of the issue causing this difficulty and is working to resolve it as quickly as possible.”
“I’ve reviewed your account and it appears our system may have incorrectly restricted your payment method. “
Those were interspersed with the form letter responses and never followed up on.
I resisted swearing or using unkind words in my emails, but did start to use all caps for parts of my messages, to emphasize that I didn’t want to get the same form letters again. And I repeatedly asked them to escalate my problem to someone who could really help.
As an aside, for the last 7 or 8 of these messages I also got a request to rate the support. But these separate emails had no link or other content, so there was no way to actually providing a rating. No surprise, this lined up nicely with the rest of the customer support I received.
The last thing I heard before the suspension was from Uber’s Escalation Team. It was yet another useless note: “it appears the card you’re trying to use has been deleted from your account.” But I was somewhat excited that I had reached an “Escalation Team.” The next message informed me of my account suspension. (Again from a new person).
Based on the names used in the emails, I gather that Uber outsources their support to India. I think folks in India are perfectly capable of providing very good support. But I suspect that Uber pays this team very little and provides little training. And they have no incentive to do more than respond randomly with form messages. In fact, I bet they get measured by speed of response and speed closing requests. So when I wouldn’t stop with the follow up emails they couldn’t close my request. Suspending me closes the entire case out nicely.
What’s next? Well actually my account is still working. Perhaps the account suspension message was just one more in a long series of irrelevant responses somewhat related to the original topic of my request. Hard to say, but I know I won’t be contacting Uber support ever again.
Not even when they charged me a $5 fee for parking a Jump bike out of the service area today. I parked it in a bike rack, next to 5 Jump bikes put there by the Jump service team, well within the service area.
This just happened to me too.
I guess that when they can’t fix the bugs in the application, the solution is to blacklist the customer who needs help.
That says a lot about Uber and the people who run it.
It happened to me, too. My guess is, there is a technical problem in their connection mechanism between American Express and Uber because it happens to Amex Platinum or Gold card users who have monthly Uber Cash from Amex. Many of the reports suggest it happens when they use the Uber Cash with their Amex cards.
I’m trying to figure out how to help my mom. She used her account in Cabo San Lucas 2 years ago. Met the driver on the road and not in the hotel loading zone. As her and my grandmother was getting in the vehicle taxi drivers came and started yelling at them and the driver in Spanish. My senior mom and grandmother had no idea what was going on and was confused. The Uber driver drove them downtown for their massage, everything seemed fine except the driver was shaken up from the verbal assault from taxi driver. My mom tried to get Uber back and Acct was suspended. She tried to reach out via email to support department and nope account suspended?!?! Whoever has the power to push the magic button is ridiculous. Good viable idea for transportation but the Uber communication and support within the company sucks.
Yup happening to me too. None of my payment methods work now except cash, which even one time didn’t work. Really sad. Support used to be great. Dara the new CEO is a big India believer, but support like this ends up costing the company more than doing it right.
They just did the same thing to me. This is after deactivating me as a driver for alleged safety violations which none of 8 people over a month could find any record of. 8,000 trips, 4.9 rating, 100% on the delivery side, deactivated permanently. Then they tried to say I failed my background check after 4 years of driving for them, provided them a copy of the check they emailed me saying it was clear. Then they tried saying I had a duplicate account, which I do not. For every issue they had an excuse why I was banned, or couldn’t order. Ironically, my Postmates account works for delivering and ordering. I even asked them, “What could be so bad that I did that you had to ban me for life, but not on Postmates? And since my wife is also on the platform as a driver and customer, why’s it fine for her to order food to our hosue which I can get at the door, but I’m too dangerous to order it myself?” I have no accidents, no reports of any nature, no arrests, no tickets, never once been accused of anything untoward by Uber or customers/passengers: just *poof*: Banned. Still on Lyft, still on DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates, Instacart, and Amazon Flex. But Uber thinks I’m a shitty human being and wants nothing to do with me.