I’m a huge fan of Uber since it’s so much easier and cheaper than taking taxis. With just a few clicks, you can order and pay for your ride. It’s so much better than a taxi because you can track the driver’s proximity, the drivers are friendly, it’s a cashless service including the tip, and the cars are generally cleaner and provide more legroom than most taxis I’ve been in. If you need more reasons, here’s my initial post about Uber, including a link for first-time users to get your first ride (up to $30) free .
But the other day, I had my first negative experience with Uber when I landed at New York’s JFK airport. Admittedly, it was partially my fault. Here’s what happened: The moment I stepped off the plane, I tried to request an Uber car and was informed that my credit card on file had been denied. That’s because I foolishly lost that credit card a few weeks ago and though I immediately canceled it, I forgot to let Uber know. FYI: I have so many credit cards since I’m always trying to maximize my miles and earn free travel that I have a difficult time remembering which card is on file where. (Here’s a list of some of the credit cards I use.)
So I quickly scanned one of my other credit cards but was then alerted that my account has been banned. That’s right, BANNED FROM UBER! I thought it was a mistake since I’m always nice to the drivers and I don’t do anything illegal. I logged in and out of my account but it still said that my account was suspended. Suspended is better than banned, but it’s still bad. The message prompted me to email the Uber team at firstname.lastname@example.org, which I did (I also tweeted @Uber) but I wasn’t waiting around since I was in a hurry to get downtown. I wanted to make phone calls along the way but the taxi line was long and moving ridiculously slowly (BTW: Wait time for an Uber car was just four minutes). So I decided to do what I usually do and just jump on the Air Train to the E train (here’s directions and cost).
When I arrived above ground in Midtown and my phone began working again, I had a tweet back from @UBER_NYC requesting I email them. I heard back from Yvonne, the Community Operations Manager, the following morning saying:
Apologies for the trouble, but yes it does look like your account was disabled due to a credit card on file being deemed invalid.
Do you mind sending over photos of:
A) Your valid photo ID in the same name as your account
B) The valid credit card on this Uber account in your name with only the last four digits, your name, and expiration date showing? (You can cover the rest with paper or your finger.)
We’ll be happy to clear up your account as soon as we verify this payment method and identity. Let me know if I can help with anything else.
A few minutes after I sent the information she’d requested, she emailed me back saying:
Thanks for verifying your information. Your account is all set to log into. Be sure to add your new payment method as soon as possible so our system does not auto-ban your account again. Let me know if you have any questions.
So now I’m back in business. The lesson learned here is to make sure your credit card is valid before requesting a car, especially outside of your hometown. I live in Los Angeles and I used Uber to get to the airport that morning and had no problem but that’s because I live there and have a large credit with Uber since I keep referring friends/readers. I hope this helps and I hope Uber will read this—and consider changing the way they tell people their credit card needs to be replaced.
Haven’t used Uber yet? Here’s my code (UberJohnnyJet) that will get you $15 off your first ride (I also get a $15 credit).
Want to earn more money by driving for Uber? Here’s how to sign up!
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