Uber’s Response To Complaint About Driver Who Offered Oral Sex: Here’s $31

uberappHow is one supposed to react when an Uber driver offers to pull the car over and demonstrate his prowess at oral sex? And how is Uber supposed to react when that passenger files a complaint about the incident? We don’t know the answers to these questions, but the ride-sharing service valued the passenger’s discomfort at around $31.

Newsweek reports that a woman in London complained to Uber about a driver who was “very forward and quite creepy” and, more specifically, “Asked me if I wanted him to go down on me.”

In e-mails to Uber, the passenger recalled how the driver invited her to sit in the front seat. Since she was feeling car sick — which can be made worse by sitting in a back seat — the passenger agreed. But eventually the driver’s conversation topics took a turn for the wildly inappropriate.

“Towards the end of the journey he was asking if I liked blow jobs,” wrote the passenger, “saying that he was very good at going down on girls or giving ‘sucky sucky’ to girls and did I want him to do it to me. He even suggested that he could pull over into a side street and do it now if I wanted, which was I think the scariest part of the drive.”

Uber’s response indicated that the company was “already investigating this” and that “necessary actions will be taken to avoid a similar incident in future.”

A second e-mail from Uber acknowledged that this sort of incident “should definitely not happen in the first place,” but if they do, Uber has “the full details of the driver, trip and rider on our systems so that we can immediately investigate any concerns raised.”

The e-mail then apologized for the “un-Uber experience,” which is perhaps a bit overly glib given the situation, and refunded the passenger her full fare of £20 (about $31), which was the last the passenger ever heard from Uber.

Uber tells Newsweek that it takes all allegations seriously and that “Any driver who is accused of acting inappropriately is suspended from the platform while an investigation is undertaken.”

The driver in this incident is “no longer on the Uber platform,” (heaven forbid Uber makes a statement without using nonsense terms like “the Uber platform”), but wouldn’t say whether this was a result of the “sucky sucky” complaint.

Had Uber simply provided an update to the passenger about the fate of this driver, that might have sufficed to let her know that her complaint had been taken seriously. We understand the need to respect the privacy of their drivers — even those accused of being a-holes — but simply telling a customer that “we’ll investigate” without providing any resolution isn’t sufficient to convince consumers that they are being heard.

Uber claims that this sort of incident is so rare that it doesn’t have a specific policy for how to remunerate harassed passengers, other than to apologize and refund their money.

But sexual harassment by cab drivers — not just Uber drivers — is a widespread issue that often goes unreported. Many of my female friends have had to brush off the creepy advances of drivers who asked them for dates, for their phone numbers or e-mail addresses, or who asked if they were virgins. One friend was kicked out of her cab in the middle of a rain storm when the driver found out she had a boyfriend.

And Newsweek claims that it’s received several reports from women in London who say they’ve been hassled by Uber drivers, like the one who says her driver repeatedly offered to give her a massage even though she made it known from the start that she was not interested.