(ISSUES SEEMINGLY NOW RESOLVED) Beware: Uber Suspending Accounts For Loading With Gift Cards

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Update 1/28/19: Based on Jon’s comment below, affected accounts are now seeing the following message:

Thank you for reaching out to support. Within the last 24 hours, an operational error resulted in a temporary loss of account access for a small number of customers. All impacted accounts have since been restored, so we are resolving your inquiry. If your issue was unrelated to account access, please feel free to respond and we would be happy to help further.

Reliable access is at the heart of our platform, and we regret any inconvenience caused by this interruption.

~

If you’ve redeemed Uber gift cards to your Uber or Uber Eats account(s) in recent months, check your account(s) as there are widespread reports that Uber is suspending accounts even when there’s been no fraudulent activity.

Uber Gift Card

In some cases, accounts with more than $1,000 of Uber gift cards loaded to them have been suspended. It’s not only those with large balances that need to be concerned though as I’ve seen data points where people who’ve only loaded a single $25 gift card to their account have had it suspended.

When contacting Uber regarding this, customers have been asked to confirm the gift card number(s) that they redeemed to their account. For those that bought digital gift cards (perhaps when they’ve been discounted by 10% through Walmart and PayPal Digital Gifts), it’ll likely be a little easier to obtain those numbers. For those that bought physical gift cards though, it’ll be much harder as many people will have thrown the cards away once they were redeemed.

Uber seems to have been very heavy-handed in the way that they’ve gone about this. Once an Uber gift card has been redeemed to an account it can’t be redeemed elsewhere, so I don’t believe there are any fraud concerns from that perspective. Suspending so many accounts when there’s been no discernible fraudulent activity is harsh, especially seeing as it appears to be gift card related. Uber gift cards frequently go on sale – they’re currently 14% off at BJ’s and 10% off at PayPal Digital Gifts and Walmart –  so there are probably a lot of people that have redeemed gift cards recently.

Until this is cleared up, it’d definitely be best not to buy and/or redeem Uber gift cards. In the meantime, this could be a great opportunity to take advantage of the new Chase/Lyft or SoFi/Lyft partnerships while also earning Hilton Honors points.

h/t Doctor of Credit

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