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Uber Will Now Charge You for Returning Your Lost Phone

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If you've ever left something valuable in the backseat of an Uber car, then you may want to listen up. The ride service is rolling out a new returns policy this week that allows them to charge you $15 for returning your lost phone, bag, or other items you leave behind after your ride. The company will first unfurl the policy to markets in Chicago and Boston, before a nationwide introduction this August. 

According to an Uber statement, the move is meant to support its drivers, who are frequently tasked with returning items left in the backseats of their cars by unwary passengers. This apparently happens 11 times a year to Uber drivers on average, which Uber characterizes as "a lot of time spent on the road and not earning."

The rollout of the new policy comes after listening to feedback from drivers, Uber says. Uber drivers in supported locations can now access the fee in the "Trip Issues and Refunds" section under the "Help" tab of their Uber Driver app. Once they select "I returned a lost item to my rider" and fill in the details, they will get paid within 3-5 days.

It's important to understand that Uber is doing this while trying to give itself a corporate makeover. It's what companies do when they force their CEO out following one PR disaster after another. That also means treating its drivers a little bit better, presumably not curse them out anymore, and instituting a campaign literally called "180 Days of Change" with the intention of bringing "meaningful changes" to the working conditions of their drivers.

So this latest change is good news for drivers, even if riders have to shell out $15. It sucks to have to schlep someone's forgotten $800 iPhone across town when they lost it after an embarrassing night of wild partying or some other mishap. And, hey, $15 is a lot less than the full cost of a new phone.

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Eric Vilas-Boas is a writer and editor at Thrillist. Follow him @e_vb_.