Many people find driving for Uber to be a fun way to meet new people and make extra money at the same time. Of course, Uber, like any other company, has expectations of those who work for it. For this reason, Uber sets out a clear set of rules, and requires its drivers to adhere to them. Even if you have the best of intentions at the time, a violation of these rules can result in your account be temporarily or permanently deactivated, depending on the gravity of the offense.
Listed below are 10 things you might do that can leave you looking for another job.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
This should be an obvious one. Driving under the influence is a serious violation at any time. When you are representing a company or service and you have the lives of passengers in your hands, the severity of this offense is multiplied. So, maybe you’ve been out with friends and you knocked back a few beers. You feel fine, not the least bit intoxicated, and you figure you can do a couple of runs before you turn in for the night. If you get pulled over for any reason, or if you are involved in a small accident, and the presence of drugs or alcohol is noted in your system, you can pretty much kiss your Uber activation status good-bye. The company has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to drugs and alcohol use by its drivers. Even if you are not caught driving under the influence, if your passengers smell alcohol on your breath or suspect you have been drinking, they can report this. While it would be an unsubstantiated claim, if the company starts seeing a pattern of similar reports against you, are they likely to deactivate your account.
- Receiving poor ratings from passengers.
Uber is only as good as its reputation, and your actions as a driver reflect on the company. Therefore, if your passengers rate you poorly, Uber will feel the need to take action. Behaviors that can result in low ratings can include such things as rudeness, unsafe driving, and poor navigational skills. Basically, an average rating below 4.6 stars can put you on notice with Uber, though what constitutes a minimum acceptable rating can vary from city to city. New drivers are typically given a bit more leeway, since they are still learning the ropes and they will not yet have enough good ratings to counter-balance a poor rating from a grouchy, impossible-to-please passenger. More seasoned drivers will be rated according to the average of their last 500 passenger ratings. If your average rating consistently falls below the acceptable standard for your city, Uber will send you repeated notifications. Failure to remedy your actions and improve your ratings can result in the deactivation of your account. You may then be required to take a quality improvement course or take other steps toward improving your service skills before reactivation will be considered.
- Violating the terms in Uber’s Community Guidelines
Uber expects its drivers to treat all passengers with dignity and respect. Making derogatory comments to passengers, using foul or inappropriate language, and making unwanted physical contact are all violations of Uber’s Community Guidelines. Not only can these actions result in a low rating by your passengers, they can lead to your account being deactivated. So too can discriminatory actions, such as if you consistently cancel rides or deny service to people based on their race, religion or sexual orientation. Refusal to allow a passenger to enter your vehicle with a service animal is also a violation of Uber’s Community Guidelines. Uber takes violations of this nature very seriously, so if you feel that you cannot provide service to certain types of people, this may not be the job for you.
- Driving a non-Uber-approved vehicle
Maybe your vehicle is in the shop. Maybe your spouse had been using your Uber-approved vehicle to run some errands and got caught up in traffic or is simply taking much longer than expected. Whatever the reason, if your Uber-approved vehicle is not available to you, you should not be logged into the app. Some people may reason that the alternative vehicle they are using is an even better, safer car or that their other vehicle is just fine to use in a pinch. In any event, if you show up to pick up a passenger in a car that does not match the description they were given through the app, they can complain about this; and you, in turn, can have your account deactivated. Bear in mind that you are allowed to have more than one approved vehicle listed under your account. If you think you might be in such a situation, it would be best to have both vehicles approved by, and registered with, Uber. Then you can indicate the correct vehicle within the app before agreeing to pick up passengers.
- Allowing someone other than yourself to drive in your place
There are a number of reasons why you might think that it is okay to send a friend or relative in your stead to pick up a passenger, but none of them are good. Just as your passengers expect to see the car that the app says is coming, they also expect to see you in the driver’s seat. If someone else is driving, that diminishes trust in the passenger’s eyes, and it reflects badly on Uber. It can also get you immediately, and permanently, fired. Remember, Uber hired YOU, not your buddy.
- Accepting—and then cancelling—too many rides
We get it. It happens. You accept a request for a ride but then something comes up and you have to cancel. Maybe you got a call that you need to come home right away. Maybe there is a terrible traffic jam and you realize that if you go through with this ride, you will be late for a scheduled appointment. Whatever the reasons, sometimes necessary cancellations just happen. However, excessive cancellations are not good for Uber’s image, especially when they involve rides from the airport. That is why Uber monitors your cancellation rate. In general, a rate of under 5% (that is, fewer than five cancellations per every 100 ride acceptances) is considered good. Different cities will have different expectations for what is considered an acceptable cancellation rate. If your rate exceeds that, you will receive a warning. A continuously high cancellation rate will result in your account being deactivated.
- Engaging in fraudulent activity to game the system
For as long as there have been systems, there have been people gaming them. This is true in the world of Uber as well. If you engage in fraudulent activity (as a driver or a passenger), it can result in the permanent deactivation of your account. These activities include such things as making fake passenger accounts for fraudulent purposes, provoking riders to cancel their requests, reporting false cleaning fees, falsifying trips, providing the bulk of your rides to friends and family, and purposely making trips appear to be longer than they actually were (whether in duration or distance). Do not assume that you will not be caught. Uber is vigilant in maintaining its integrity, and this means that suspicious activities are carefully reviewed.
- Remaining inactive for too long
Life happens. A lot of Uber drivers have full-time jobs and engage in ridesharing as a way to bolster their incomes. Those with busy home- and social-lives may not always have a lot of spare time to dedicate to their Uber jobs. Generally, this is okay. As an Uber driver, you have the flexibility to work whatever hours are convenient for you. However, if you remain inactive for an extended amount of time (usually about two months), Uber can deactivate your account. This is not likely to be done without warning. You will get several notifications prior to the inactivity deactivation occurring and then you need only engage in one ride acceptance to remain active. The good news is that if your account is deactivated due to inactivity, it is pretty easy to get it reinstated if you so choose.
- Having someone other than your paid passenger(s) in your car
It’s “Bring Your Child to Work Day” and you think it might be fun to bring your child with you on a ride-along for the day. Or maybe you are going to be driving a passenger somewhere and a friend mentions, “Hey! I’m heading out that way too!” and you both figure there would be no harm in your friend tagging along for the ride. Or maybe you are just nervous about where you will be driving and you bring someone a long for protection or to help you navigate. There are several instances in which you might feel justified in having another person besides your paying-passenger in the car, but none of them are acceptable with Uber. Doing so is a violation of the terms of service and can lead to an account deactivation.
- Not having your paperwork in proper order
If your driver’s license has expired, or your car registration or inspection is past due, your account will be deactivated. Reactivating your account, in this case, is simple. You need only provide Uber with the proper paperwork to show that everything is proper and in order. In the event that your license has been revoked for excessive driving violations or other offenses, you will need to wait until it is reinstated and then request reactivation with Uber. Depending on the severity of your offense, they may or may not choose to reinstate you as a driver.