Uber failed to return phone, wallet -- then "donated" them

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Oct 5, 2020
6
4
32
In March, a couple of weeks before lockdown began in earnest, I was in Chicago taking an Uber to the airport. It was 5am and I accidentally left my brand new iPhone ($900 value) with wallet attached (containing ID, credit cards, and cash in the back seat. (This ID did have my address on it.)

When I managed to reach the driver, he first tried to extort us for money to bring the items back. My husband agreed because I needed my ID to fly. Then the driver changed his mind and took my items to the Chicago Uber hub (Greenlight Hub), where I could not retrieve them before my scheduled flight. I did manage to get home.

I attempted multiple times to have the phone and wallet mailed back to me, going through all the appropriate channels with Uber Customer Support. I have extensive documentation.

- I was asked to pay for and provide a shipping label. I did this.
- Greenlight Hub confirmed they had received the label and would be shipping it.
- I checked back multiple times and was told it was in progress.

(One important thing to note is that there is no direct phone number or email address for the Greenlight Hub except their physical address.)

Then lockdown happened, and Customer Support stopped responding to me at all.

Fast forward to summer, when cities began to open up again. I contacted Uber once more to get the process going. For a month I worked with customer support to get in touch with the Greenlight Hub and have my item returned, once more receiving confirmations that they had a shipping label and they would be mailing me my item.

And then one day I received a response saying my item had been "unclaimed for 45 days" and thus was "donated." They have since:

- Refused to reimburse me for the items they "donated"
- When I provided extensive documentation showing I had claimed the item and done my best to have it mailed back to me, they ignored me.
- After contacting support over social media, my issue was "sent to another team" and they never responded.

That was two weeks ago. I am looking into filing a claim with small claims court, but it's difficult not physically being in Chicago. I feel a little lost at sea with how to proceed from here and I would love any suggestions for how to contact this so-called "team" handling my claim, or how to approach this with small claims court given that I am located in a different state from where it happened. Should I do it through my own state?

Thank you so much for any help.
 

VoR61

Jan 6, 2015
4,073
6,564
the United States
I believe that you acted responsibly in attempting to retrieve the wallet and phone, and will suggest that you escalate this to the executive level at Uber. When you do, I recommend that you compose a narrative similar to this;

I am writing to you today because my attempts to resolve a lost items issue have been unsuccessful. Here is what happened:​
  • On March __________ at 5AM, I accidentally left my new iPhone ($900 value) and wallet in the back seat at the airport
  • I subsequently learned that the driver had taken my items to the Chicago Uber hub (Greenlight Hub)
  • Uber Customer Support instructed me to pay for and provide a shipping label, which I did
  • Greenlight Hub confirmed they had received the label and would be shipping the items
  • I checked back multiple times and was told it was in progress, but the lockdown prevented me from following up when the items were nor returned
  • On _________ I learned that both had been "unclaimed for 45 days and were thus donated"
I have acted responsibly and fulfilled my obligation toward the successful return of both items (indicate that you have documentation). I would appreciate a reimbursement for the phone as-soon-as-possible.​
Thank you for your time and consideration​

Their email addresses can be found at this link: Uber Contacts
Start at the lowest level, and give each contact one (1) week to respond before escalating to the next level
 
Oct 5, 2020
6
4
32
I believe that you acted responsibly in attempting to retrieve the wallet and phone, and will suggest that you escalate this to the executive level at Uber. When you do, I recommend that you compose a narrative similar to this;

I am writing to you today because my attempts to resolve a lost items issue have been unsuccessful. Here is what happened:​
  • On March __________ at 5AM, I accidentally left my new iPhone ($900 value) and wallet in the back seat at the airport
  • I subsequently learned that the driver had taken my items to the Chicago Uber hub (Greenlight Hub)
  • Uber Customer Support instructed me to pay for and provide a shipping label, which I did
  • Greenlight Hub confirmed they had received the label and would be shipping the items
  • I checked back multiple times and was told it was in progress, but the lockdown prevented me from following up when the items were nor returned
  • On _________ I learned that both had been "unclaimed for 45 days and were thus donated"
I have acted responsibly and fulfilled my obligation toward the successful return of both items (indicate that you have documentation). I would appreciate a reimbursement for the phone as-soon-as-possible.​
Thank you for your time and consideration​

Their email addresses can be found at this link: Uber Contacts
Start at the lowest level, and give each contact one (1) week to respond before escalating to the next level
Thank you very much for this!! Extremely helpful to have an actual email address for a human being!

I'll post back here with how it turns out. Thanks again for the support!
 
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Oct 5, 2020
6
4
32
Just curious.... have you tracked your phone using find my phone app?
Hi there! Yes, I have it on my Find My app. Unfortunately it has not reported any information back to me since March (when it showed it was at the Greenlight Hub), and that's when I assume the battery died.

I had placed a lock screen message with my name, number, address, and an all-caps "This phone is lost! Please contact me!" So I would hope whomever they donated it to would have seen that and at least tried to call me... but I guess not.
 
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Nov 22, 2019
254
406
Irvine CA
Few questions:
1) Are you sure your items were donated? Was it a customer service response or an automatic email? Maybe it was not donated but the message went.
2) Have you filed a police report for lost wallet (with cash, gov ID, credit cards) and replaced your credit cards? and lost iPhone to your provider so it can be locked.
3) Do you have any type of travel insurance (bought one, with your credit card, your renter insurance, ...)? It could help you to recover some of your losses.
4) By curiosity, how did you get your flight without wallet and ID?
 
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Reactions: jsn55
Dec 19, 2014
842
2,975
49
4) By curiosity, how did you get your flight without wallet and ID?

Alex,
I can answer #4. If you don't have ID, TSA will "confirm your identity" through other means. We know this first hand because my wife lost her ID while on a trip and we didn't have time to obtain a replacement before our flight home. When we called the airlines, they told us it wouldn't be a problem. When we got to the security checkpoint, they took her aside and when I cleared security she was there waiting for me.

She said they interviewed her and asked her a bunch of questions then escorted her through security. Ironically, she cleared faster than I did.
 
Oct 5, 2020
6
4
32
Alex,
I can answer #4. If you don't have ID, TSA will "confirm your identity" through other means. We know this first hand because my wife lost her ID while on a trip and we didn't have time to obtain a replacement before our flight home. When we called the airlines, they told us it wouldn't be a problem. When we got to the security checkpoint, they took her aside and when I cleared security she was there waiting for me.

She said they interviewed her and asked her a bunch of questions then escorted her through security. Ironically, she cleared faster than I did.
This is exactly what happened. I was lucky enough that I had one credit card and a number of reward cards in a different location, so they asked me a number of questions to confirm my identity, and then I was allowed through.

Few questions:
1) Are you sure your items were donated? Was it a customer service response or an automatic email? Maybe it was not donated but the message went.
2) Have you filed a police report for lost wallet (with cash, gov ID, credit cards) and replaced your credit cards? and lost iPhone to your provider so it can be locked.
3) Do you have any type of travel insurance (bought one, with your credit card, your renter insurance, ...)? It could help you to recover some of your losses.
4) By curiosity, how did you get your flight without wallet and ID?
Yes, I received a customer service message (twice, strangely) saying that my items had been "marked unclaimed after not being claimed for 45 days, and then donated."

I have considered the police report, but I didn't know if this is the type of thing one would file a report for. I would be happy to do it, though, if there was a chance it would help. Do you suggest doing that?

No insurance, unfortunately. I don't know if I've ever purchased travel insurance in my life, but maybe I will after this experience.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
11,162
13,511
San Francisco
This is exactly what happened. I was lucky enough that I had one credit card and a number of reward cards in a different location, so they asked me a number of questions to confirm my identity, and then I was allowed through.


Yes, I received a customer service message (twice, strangely) saying that my items had been "marked unclaimed after not being claimed for 45 days, and then donated."

I have considered the police report, but I didn't know if this is the type of thing one would file a report for. I would be happy to do it, though, if there was a chance it would help. Do you suggest doing that?

No insurance, unfortunately. I don't know if I've ever purchased travel insurance in my life, but maybe I will after this experience.
Some credit cards have built-in coverage for all kinds of weird things, including trip insurance. Have a look at yours. I would think a police report might get SOMEONE'S attention back at the home office ... it surely can't hurt.
 

mmb

Verified Member
Jan 20, 2015
1,424
1,820
NAPLES FL or Denver CO
When I managed to reach the driver, he first tried to extort us for money to bring the items back. My husband agreed because I needed my ID to fly. Then the driver changed his mind and took my items to the Chicago Uber hub (Greenlight Hub), where I could not retrieve them before my scheduled flight. I did manage to get home.

I’m late to this party but want to throw in my 2cents.
This past August I left my phone in an Uber and the Driver did return it promptly because luckily, it started beeping from the back seat with an alarm I have set for a daily chore.
Uber promptly charged me an additional $15 for that service, stating that the Driver went ‘offline for a time to make the return.’ At first I was a bit miffed that they could just charge me more $, but quickly realized that under any other scenario it would have>
>cost me more to retrieve my phone;
>resulted in me being without my phone for an unknown amount of time;
>required who knows how much time spent on the chore of getting it back.
All that being said, in the future I would would advise anyone to accept the ‘extortion’ - strong word there, considering he was offering to do you a favor.
Leaving a phone anywhere is a bad mistake and mistakes often cost us time, money and heartache. Own it.
PS the Driver likely changed his mind as he didn’t like your husband‘s attitude and/or could make more money by continuing to do his job and Drive .
 
May 1, 2018
421
1,150
Leaving a phone anywhere is a bad mistake and mistakes often cost us time, money and heartache. Own it.
PS the Driver likely changed his mind as he didn’t like your husband‘s attitude and/or could make more money by continuing to do his job and Drive .

Precisely. I would encourage everyone to put themselves in the driver's/service provider's shoes before calling them extortionists and to realize that other people have no obligation to fix your mistakes for free. Uber drivers don't make money unless they're driving with a paying customer in their car so expecting the driver to drive back to your destination for free to correct a mistake you made is unreasonable from the start. I would be wiling to bet the 'extortion' was just the driver asking to be compensated for his time.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
11,162
13,511
San Francisco
Precisely. I would encourage everyone to put themselves in the driver's/service provider's shoes before calling them extortionists and to realize that other people have no obligation to fix your mistakes for free. Uber drivers don't make money unless they're driving with a paying customer in their car so expecting the driver to drive back to your destination for free to correct a mistake you made is unreasonable from the start. I would be wiling to bet the 'extortion' was just the driver asking to be compensated for his time.
Well, I surely would like to think that they gave the driver the money! Seriously, people, if you're going to use a cell phone, treat it like keys to a rental car. Only two places it should go: in your pocket or in your purse/backpack. Make no exceptions to this rule, you'll have no lost cell phones.
 

Neil Maley

Staff Member
Forum Moderator
Dec 27, 2014
26,132
29,487
New York
www.promalvacations.com
Yes @jsn55 - the email from Uber that informed me that they charged me an additional $15 stated it was for the Driver who went ‘offline’ to return it to me.
And that was the right thing to do. It wasn’t the drivers fault you left something in the car and it probably cost him a call to come back to return it.

I wonder if the OP contacted Uber or just the driver.
 
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BittyBoo

Jul 30, 2018
446
1,257
50
Yes. Which is why I said it’s reasonable to expect to be charged something to bring the items, as you did.

$15 to bring back a phone costing several hundred dollars seems like a bargain to me! I would have gladly given the driver a huge tip as well.

To OP: I suggest you check with your carrier or who you purchased the phone from to see if the phone is insured for loss. I don't know how you purchased your phone but if you used the monthly payment option there is likely insurance attached attached to it.
 
Nov 22, 2019
254
406
Irvine CA
$15 to bring back a phone costing several hundred dollars seems like a bargain to me! I would have gladly given the driver a huge tip as well.

To OP: I suggest you check with your carrier or who you purchased the phone from to see if the phone is insured for loss. I don't know how you purchased your phone but if you used the monthly payment option there is likely insurance attached attached to it.
I don't know how the conversation shift to the $15 shipping fees, but the OP was complaining about her phone and wallet with ID and credit cards being "donated" under the false reason that the OP was not claiming them, while she was actively communicating with them, and was even told that it would be ship soon.

The OP should file a police report and contact Uber Excecutive to inquiry about reimbursement. She can file a claim at the small claim court of her own state I think (right?). Home insurance also cover damage of properties during travel so her phone would be likely covered with a deductible.
 
Apr 28, 2020
17
36
55
The OP should file a police report ... Home insurance also cover damage of properties during travel so her phone would be likely covered with a deductible.

Couple of things to note...The Police take reports on 'crimes'; they will to take reports of 'lost' items. As far as insurance, the OP's property was not damaged, it was lost, so homeowners insurance would not come into play here. Even if it was damaged on vacation, homeowners insurance is not likely going to be of value unless you have paid for additional coverage specifically to be added.