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driving concerns

I took an Uber to go out downtown with a friend on a Saturday night. When I got out to drive home at 2 a.m., the car’s interior light was off. As the driver pulled away, I realized I’d left my purse in it with my phone, wallet, my only set of car keys and my house keys – basically my entire life. My phone was turned off, so it went straight to voicemail. I tried to access Uber on my friend’s phone, so I could contact the driver, but I didn’t know my password. I couldn’t reset my password because you need a code that they text to your phone. I e-mailed Uber and finally got an e-mail back on Monday afternoon, 36 hours after I’d left it, saying the driver had my phone. I had to go meet him by his house and pay a $15 fee. Meanwhile, I’d changed my home door locks, got a new drivers’ licence, a new bank card and cancelled my credit card. Isn’t there an easier way to do this? – Michelle, Toronto

If you leave your phone in an Uber, there’s an app for that, the company says.

“For forgotten items, a rider can notify our support team in the app,” writes Kayla Whaling, an Uber spokeswoman, in an e-mail. “If a phone is forgotten and a rider can't access their account on another mobile device due to forgetting their password, they can also notify support on Uber's help page.”

The ride-sharing app is the fastest way to get directly in contact with your driver to ask them to return your item. If you can’t use the app, the website lets you send Uber a contact number where the driver can call you directly. To use the page, you don’t need your password.

Uber didn’t immediately respond to a question asking how long it could take for the driver to contact you or how long it would normally take for your item to get returned.

There’s no way for you to call Uber and get a driver’s number. While there’s a call centre for Uber drivers, there isn’t one for customers.

So, why do you need your phone to reset your password? Normally, you don’t – Uber just sends a confirmation e-mail that you can click on to reset your password.

But if you clicked “use two-step verification” in security settings on the app, then you can only reset your password once you type in a four-digit code texted to your phone.

Uber didn’t say how many reports it gets of lost items, but it did say that phones are the most common thing left in cars. Next are wallets and purses, then keys.

Returns not guaranteed

Uber also sent a list of the “most outrageous” lost items, which included a black whip, glass eyes, poutine and insulin.

The company says customers leave more things in cars on weekends and late nights between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m.

What about Lyft? If you leave something in a Lyft, you can use the app to call or text the driver, a spokeswoman said.

If you cant use the app because you left your phone in the Lyft, then you can fill out a form on Lyft’s help page, giving them a contact number that’s different than your lost phone.

Like Uber, Lyft charges a $15 fee for the driver’s time.

It can’t guarantee that you’ll get your phone back, and it won’t provide replacements or reimbursements.

“We’ll do our best to facilitate the return of lost items and help you connect with your driver, though it’s important to note that drivers are independent contractors and are not required to keep in direct contact with us,” the company says on its website. “We can recommend contacting your local authorities to file a police report if you’ve lost items with sensitive or personal information.”

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