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Pinellas County Lyft rider faces steep fee following alleged 'vomit fraud'

Posted at 11:30 PM, May 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-21 23:30:19-04

DUNEDIN, Fla. - A Pinellas County man denies getting sick in a Lyft ride and is now on the hook for a steep cleanup fee.

Mark Castle is speaking out to warn others about a scam some are calling "vomit fraud."

"He took advantage and robbed me," Castle said. "That's what it is."

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Castle recently uncovered a $100 fee on his statement following a 30-minute Lyft ride from downtown St. Petersburg to his home in Dunedin.

The driver submitted a picture showing what appears to be a small pile of vomit to Lyft, blaming Castle for the mess.

“It definitely made me feel very taken advantage of," Castle said.

Lyft says it investigated the incident and determined sufficient evidence in issuing a damage fee.

"We take damage disputes such as these very seriously. Lyft’s support team investigates each incident individually and makes a determination based on the evidence available."

While Lyft stands by the driver, the Better Business Bureau warns vomit fraud is on the rise.

BBB says customers have a difficult time disputing the fraudulent charges and urges customers check their credit card statement following each ride.

Castle now plans to video record himself getting in and out of every rideshare going forward to document each encounter.

“He got away with it pretty well so obviously that tells me that he’s done it before and he’s going to continue doing it," Castle said.