Durham law student get reimbursed for flights after Uber driver takes off with her possessions

Consumer Watch

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – CBS 17 Consumer Investigator Steve Sbraccia helped a Durham college student get back $400 from Uber after a driver took off with her possessions and caused her to miss a flight.

“I’m glad I don’t have to suffer from this loss,” said Kimberly Mariduena. “It’s like it never happened.”

Mariduena called an Uber to take her to Raleigh-Durham International Airport so she could fly home for Easter weekend. It turned into a nightmare. She said she told the driver she wanted double-check that she locked the front door of her apartment after putting her luggage in the trunk and her possessions in the back seat of the ride-sharing vehicle.

She said the driver, who CBS 17 is not naming, took off with her stuff — including laptop, passport, and wallet.

“He drove right past me,” Mariduena said. “He saw me and didn’t stop.”

A screenshot of the trip showed he drove to the airport with her stuff before returning to Durham.

Mariduena eventually got the driver to return her possessions after Uber charged her credit card for both the airport trip and a fee to return her items.  

In addition, she said the extra airfare for a later flight home cost her hundreds.

Sbraccia contacted Uber, which said it would “look into it” on April 6. A series of emails and calls between Sbraccia and Uber over the following days revealed Uber first refunded Mariduena’s trip and lost-item fee. The company also said the driver lost access to the Uber app while the incident was investigated.

“I got a call a few days ago from a lady who works there who asked for screenshots of my flights,” Mariduena said. 

On Thursday, Uber told CBS 17 it refunded Mariduena $400 for her missed flights and thanked CBS 17 for flagging the story. She said having the money back is a financial relief.

“It really helps because I don’t have any money,” the North Carolina Central University student said. “I don’t have a job. I’m a law student. All I have are loans.” 

Before she called CBS 17, Mariduena had been frustrated in dealings with Uber. 

“They really wouldn’t have thought about it if it wasn’t for you guys getting involved,” she said. “I’m so thankful — so, so thankful.”

There’s still an unanswered question: What has happened to the driver?

“They did tell me they are doing something regards the driver,” Mariduena said. She had no idea what, specifically, would happen.

CBS 17 asked Uber how it is dealing with the driver, but hasn’t heard back.

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