A Newcastle mum says she was forced to call the police after an UberEats driver “verbally assaulted” her and smashed beer bottles on her doorstep in an argument about an alcohol delivery.
Rachel March, 33, told news.com.au she had been unable to report the driver over the incident on Friday night — because she was suspended from the app for using a different name to order alcohol.
Under Uber’s terms of service, when buying alcohol the customer’s Uber name has to match their driver’s licence. But in a video on TikTok, Ms March explained that she uses a male name on the app because “Uber drivers are f**king creeps, we all know this”.
“I get to the door, the beers are on the ground, and he’s like, ‘You’re not a male, I’m not giving these to you,’” she said.
“And I’m like, ‘It doesn’t matter. Here’s my birthday, it matches, we do this all the time.’ The beers were on the ground in a paper bag, so I picked them up.”
She said the driver then “started getting really aggressive”.
“He called me ‘white girl’,” she said.
“I went, ‘Look you’ve seen my licence, I’m of age clearly, I’ve got my three kids behind me.’ I went to walk inside and he grabbed the bag and like yanked it down, the beers went everywhere, smashed everywhere.”
According to Ms March, the driver then “freaked out and ran down the stairs”.
“He cancelled the order so I couldn’t report it, couldn’t give him bad feedback,” she said.
“He sat in his car for over an hour outside my house. I had to call the police and be like, ‘The Uber guy won’t leave and he’s just assaulted me verbally … not physically.’ But I’m going to say smashing beers all over my front step in front of my three kids is not cool.”
Ms March told news.com.au the driver “ended up leaving so I called the police and told them not to bother coming”.
“They called me back and asked what happened and because he didn’t ‘touch’ me there wasn’t much they could do,” she said.
Ms March said she had originally changed her name in the app because during Covid lockdowns a number of Sydney drivers came to Newcastle, and women started reporting harassment.
“Once I changed my name [to male], I stopped getting delivery knocks,” she said.
“One of my friends also said that she had a delivery, ate and went to leave her house and the Uber delivery dude was hiding in the bushes outside her bedroom window. This seems to be happening more and more now and it’s becoming such a problem for women.”
Ms March said many women “don’t have much of a choice but to change our Uber names”. “I’ve spoken to so many women who have had to do the same and what do you know — the doorknocks and weird interactions stopped,” she said.
She added Uber had been “completely useless”.
“They’ve replied to me in my Uber app but I can’t log in because I’m banned,” she said.
She said that she had since checked the Uber terms and conditions and conceded that the names were required to match, but “it’s not stated when you order which is super frustrating”.
Ms March said she had ordered alcohol six times previously with no issues.
“It happened in front of my kids too,” she said. “They were pretty shaken up.”
A number of women commented on Ms March’s video sharing similar experiences.
“They let their drivers get away with so much s**t. I was verbally abused by a driver and I got banned because of it,” one wrote.
Another said, “Uber is the actual worst. We were nearly run over by a driver picking us up, they cancelled the ride and we were banned from Uber. Go figure.”
In a statement, an Uber spokeswoman said the “safety and wellbeing” of all users was “always a top priority, and this includes our commitment to promoting safe and sensible alcohol consumption”.
“We’ve worked closely with alcohol education providers such as DrinkWise to help ensure responsible alcohol consumption is at the heart of alcohol delivery with UberEats,” she said.
“This includes frequent communication to encourage moderation, educating consumers about the government guidelines, implementing ID and sobriety checks, and incorporating alcohol-ordering limits.”
She noted that “as required by local laws, we have processes in place to help ensure that alcohol is only delivered if the user is 18 years old or older and not visibly intoxicated”.
“If the user is under 18, the delivery person observes that the customer is intoxicated, or their identity doesn’t match, they’re prompted by the Uber Driver App to return the alcohol to the store,” she said.
“Uber’s Community Guidelines make clear that delivery people must follow the law.”