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Underage riders taking advantage of Uber and Lyft

Posted at 9:35 PM, May 09, 2019

CARMEL — Ubers and Lyfts are all over, but before riders get into the back of one, they must be at least 18-years-old. Although, one Carmel mom says that's not always happening.

"I keep hearing, 'it's normal, she's 16.' She's 16... I know that. It's scary," Amy, the Carmel mother, said.

"I found out my daughter had left home in the middle of the night and it kind of transpired to looking through her phone, and I found email alerts, passwords, and codes sent to email addresses that I didn't know about," Amy explained.

Email after email of new accounts and ride receipts from both Uber and Lyft.

"When you have a teenager in the middle of a neighborhood in the dark, with no bag, going somewhere on a school night at 12 a.m., the drivers know the kids are going somewhere that they shouldn't be," Amy said.

The big problem is that her daughter is only 16-years-old. Uber and Lyft both have clear policies that don't allow people under age to ride along.

"A lot of teenagers sneak out; I get it. I did it myself. So I'm not naive as a parent," Amy said. "But I feel like I had no idea, I had no idea that within eight months period of time, all of these Lyft and Uber accounts with credit cards I don't know, with email accounts I don't know."

Her daughter was using her high school friends' credit cards for the rides and was able to make Uber and Lyft accounts with no problems.

Both company policies say to contact customer service, but Amy ran into more problems.

"I tried to research reaching out to Uber, but you actually have to login to an account. I didn't find a direct email or number just to contact them," the mother said.

For Lyft, Amy did find an email address.

"I looked online, and there was an actual email contact for Lyft, so I left them an email, and then two days later I got a response that didn't make any sense," she said.

The email Amy received says only the account holder can gain information about the account.

RTV6 reached out to both companies; Uber said they direct drivers to ask for ID if the rider looks under 18. Lyft never got back to the newsroom.

Uber and Lyft say it's up to the driver to determine if that person is underage. If drivers believe they are the drivers are supposed to contact customer service so they can investigate.