DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – It was an Uber horror story for a Durham college student who tried to get a ride to the airport. It turned out to be an expensive nightmare.
Kimberly Mariduena lost all her possessions, missed her flight, and the whole ordeal cost her hundreds of dollars.
“I wasted $700 because I called an Uber,” Mariduena said.
Mariduena is a law student at North Carolina Central University. She used the Uber app to arrange for a ride March 31 so she could catch a flight home for Easter weekend. She said that when the Uber arrived, she was ready to go.
“It was pouring rain, so I walked out quickly, put my stuff in the trunk ,and put my backpack in the back seat,” she said. “I told him let me check the front door to make sure I locked it.”
Mariduena said the driver said “OK.”
“I live on the first floor, so it took less than a minute,” she said.
Mariduena said the driver, who was only identified by his first name on the Uber app, drove off with her stuff, including her cellphone, laptop, passport, and wallet in the back seat.
“He drives right past me, sees me and doesn’t stop,” she said. “He just keeps going.”
Because her phone was in his vehicle, the only way Mariduena could call 911 is to use her neighbor’s phone. She said 911 told her to call Uber, which gave her the driver’s phone number.
When Mariduena called, she said he kept telling her, “I’m on a ride.”
Meanwhile, Mariduena still had access to her iPad , which she had left home. She said she used the location feature to track her phone and found the Uber operator drove to the airport.
“He made it look like he dropped me off,” Mariduena said.
A screenshot of the trip confirmed the Uber driver went to RDU before returning to Durham.
She eventually got the driver to return her possessions, but Uber charged her $40 for the trip. The episode caused her to miss her flight and she had to rebook. That was expensive, on top of the money she’d already spent on the original airfare.
“It was Easter weekend, so a new flight was $400 on the next day,” Mariduena said.
She said Uber sent her a text saying if it was a criminal matter to contact their law enforcement team. She said they won’t talk to her on the phone because they do all their business on the app. She said the Durham police can’t do anything because he returned her property.
On Tuesday, CBS 17 Consumer Investigator Steve Sbraccia reached out to Uber. He asked if there was an investigation into the allegations, if action was taken against the driver, and if the victim would be made whole financially.
A company representative told Sbraccia Uber would look into the matter. Since then, he hasn’t heard anything else, even after leaving a voicemail on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Mariduena said she’s thinking of taking Uber to small claims court to recover $700 in airfare expenses. She also wants Uber to tell her what it is doing about the situation.