Leaving your phone in an Uber will now cost you

Drivers weren't happy with the previous policy.
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If you take an Uber and leave your phone or wallet behind, it's now going to cost you some money to get it back.

Up to now, if you left a belonging in your Uber driver's car, you could log into your Uber account, contact the driver and arrange a time and location to collect it.

A tip in such a situation was welcomed, but not compulsory. Now, however, you'll get charged $15 if a driver has to bring back your belonging, The Verge reports.

The $15 fee is being rolled out nationwide on Tuesday as part of Uber's "180 Days of Change" to improve relations with drivers, the website notes.

Judging by online forums, Uber drivers have been complaining about the free returns policy for a while.

NY Magazine notes that many of them complain about getting no compensation or tip for going out of their way to return an item, in some cases traveling dozens of miles while not on the clock.

Uber's new charge is in contrast with its main competitor, Lyft, which doesn't charge riders a fee for leaving behind their phone, keys, wallets or any other personal item.

But it does say "an extra tip is a great way to thank your driver."

Other Uber changes

The $15 item return fee comes hot on the heels of other changes Uber is making to benefit drivers, which Recode reports is a bid to reduce the high turnover of drivers, following complaints about working conditions.

The company introduced in-app tipping options for the first time a few weeks ago, and has also launched a 24/7 support system allowing drivers to speak to call center advisers any time of the day.

Gone too is the policy where the amount riders get charged less and drivers get paid less if construction or traffic forces the driver to take a longer route. Under the new rules, riders still pay less for delays, but drivers get paid the same by Uber, Recode notes.

A new system where Uber riders are asked to explain any driver ratings below 5 stars is also being rolled out, to prevent drivers being penalized for a sub-par ride when it wasn't necessarily their fault. Quartz.com has more on the problems with Uber (and Lyft's) ratings system here.

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