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Imagine logging into your Uber driver app to be greeted with the dreaded, “Your partner account has been disabled” message. This nightmare scenario has sadly come true for many rideshare drivers, especially in New York.
Uber used to let drivers appeal their suspension, and would reactivate the Uber account once driver admitted to wrongdoing and promised to amend their behavior. But Uber has become stricter and is giving out more permanent bans than second chances.
Uber Account Disabled? 7 Reasons Why You Might be Deactivated
1. Risking your passenger’s safety with reckless driving
Uber will deactivate your account if they receive feedback from riders citing a violation of Uber’s community guidelines. Here’s what to remember:
- Follow your local traffic laws
- Buckle up
- Don’t text and drive
- Leave guns at home
- Don’t exceed the speed limit
- Use a phone or GPS mount if you need one for navigation
- Don’t drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol
If you get deactivated for a safety issue, take a moment and try to remember if you actually broke a law. If you are certain that you didn’t, you can use an organization like Independent Drivers Guild (IDG) to make an appeal to Uber.
A friend of mine who volunteers with the IDG represented a driver who had been deactivated, not by Uber, but by another competing company in New York. This driver claimed to have no idea why he got deactivated.
If you get a message like this – STOP doing whatever it is they’re warning you about! You will be at risk of permanent deactivation if you continue.
They visit the company’s local office to talk to a representative who states that the driver was permanently deactivated because he had received 16 complaints about texting while driving, another 14 complaints about reckless/unsafe driving, and seven more reports for speeding– all in the last 30 days.
Upon hearing this, instead of admitting his mistake, the driver called the passenger a liar. The problem was that it wasn’t just one passenger who reported him, there were 16!
The next warning after this one will be this driver’s last. If this driver doesn’t contact Uber immediately, he will be permanently deactivated.
Whether it be Uber, Lyft or any other rideshare company, no one wants a reckless driver in their system. If you get a warning, rectify your behavior immediately.
2. Poor driver ratings
Uber’s minimum required rating varies by city, but all drivers are encouraged to maintain at least an average of 4.6 over the 100 most recent trips.
Uber takes several measures to protect drivers against unfair low ratings:
- When a rider provides lower than 5-star rating, they are required to provide a reason for doing so.
- Riders are given simple definitions for what a 1,2,3,4,5 star would mean. It acts as a guide for them to judge the trip.
- If the reason for the bad rating is something beyond your control, like congested traffic, then that rating will be excluded.
- Ratings from passengers who have a pattern of giving low ratings to all drivers will be excluded.
When your ratings fall beyond the accepted threshold for your city, you will be given alerts along with trips to improve it. But if it still continues to fall, you will be deactivated.
3. Don’t be part of fraudulent trips
Be wary of scams where fraudsters spoof as genuine customers to trick the company out of cash or to get free rides by using hacked Uber accounts, multiple accounts or stolen credit card details. But sometimes the drivers are in it too. Take this incident:
My friend who volunteers for IDG was given another driver to make an appeal for. This was an Uber driver. The representative at the Uber Greenlight hub read a list of infractions and violations the driver had committed over the last three months. Then, he looked at the driver and said, “And on top of all that, the reason you will never be reactivated is that last month, you rang up $10,000 in fraud charges!”
Uber had paid the driver around $10,000 for trips which they ultimately didn’t get paid because the passengers were using bad credit cards.
Fraudulent charges are usually from people who are using stolen credit cards. The cards are good when its first added as a payment method into the Uber app, but as soon as the bank discovers they were stolen, they withdraw any money that was sent to Uber’s account to reimburse the loss.
A typical driver is not going know whether a credit card is stolen. And if the average driver ever gets a fraudulent trip it’s normally going to be a normal ride at an average price. Uber may lose only $10 or $15. But, in this case, for a driver to have racked up $10,000 in these fraudulent trips means that he was doing many of these kinds of trips every week. He not only had to know, but he had to be in on it as well. So, this particular driver was permanently deactivated with no chance of appeal.
Uber doesn’t stand for fraudulent activity and sooner or later, you will be deactivated and the fare paid out will be adjusted to zero. If you receive a suspicious trip request, cancel it. If a rider keeps you with them several hours, making you drive around from one place to next, that’s a sign of a suspicious rider and you should contact support team right away.
4. Failing random background checks
New drivers are made to undergo a thorough criminal and motor vehicle background checks as part of their application process for a new account. Once approved, they can start driving right away.
Many drivers are under the assumption that once approved, they can drive for life. That was true until Uber got buried in scandals as a result of bad behaviors from their drivers. Now, Uber has decided to run an annual screening process which requires their driver partners to go through a yearly criminal background check. If you have recently incurred a felony charge or an infraction that would make you a high-risk driver for Uber, you will be deactivated.
5. Canceling too often
Uber understands that emergencies too happen which can cause last minute cancellations. But if it happens too often, then that’s a problem. Canceling ride requests damages Uber’s image. The riders keep waiting for the driver to show up only to realize that yet another driver canceled on them.
Cancellation rate is calculated based on the number of trips canceled divided by the number of trip requests accepted in the last 7 days. Every city has its own acceptable cancellation threshold, but in general, when yours get higher than the average of other drivers in your region, you risk deactivation. Try to keep your cancellation rate below 5 percent.
6. Letting your account go idle
Since Uber is filled with partners who drive for Uber as a side-gig, they understand that there are other areas in your life that need your attention and time. But they want drivers who are actively available to give rides to customers.
While Uber doesn’t require you to meet any specific ride quota, you should give at least one trip every one to two months to keep your account active. Many drivers leave for several months due to sickness or other problems only to find that Uber disabled their account. If that happens, contact the Uber help center immediately. Since deactivation due to inactivity is not as serious as one due to an infraction, you might be able to get your account activated. If you do plan on taking a break for a few months from Uber, notify them beforehand.
7. Giving pre-arranged trips
Pre-arranged trips are forbidden by Uber. Drivers are not allowed to talk to any passengers before a trip for the purpose of scheduling a pickup with them. This rule is to prevent drivers soliciting Uber passengers to become their private clients.
A quick search of a popular Uber driver forum reveals private trips are more common than you would expect.
The scenario works like this: You strike up a conversation with a passenger, and as you drop him off at a hotel, he mentions that he’s going to be leaving in the morning for the airport. You say, “Oh, why don’t you let me pick you up and we’ll do it through Uber.” The passenger agrees because they like you and they’d rather get you tomorrow than risk getting some unknown driver.
But, on his way to the airport, you keep talking and things become even friendlier between the two of you. Next thing you know the passenger says, “Hey, give me your phone number and I’ll call you next time I’m in town.” And that’s it! Uber loses this passenger anytime he’s back in town. That’s why Uber forbids pre-arranged trips.
If you’re engaging in fraudulent activities when driving, expect to get a message like this
Uber can tell if a trip is pre-arranged if the same passenger gets repeatedly picked up by the same driver (more than three times).
There are instances where you might randomly happen upon the same rider frequently. If you get deactivated because of this, contact Uber customer service immediately and tell them it was not a pre-arranged trip.
Uber used to be quite lenient about reactivating suspended accounts. But now, they have adopted a pragmatic approach that involves gathering and scrutinizing evidence on case-by-case basis. They will not deactivate accounts without giving warnings first. If you get any alerts from Uber, immediately cease and desist from the activity or if you don’t know what the warning is about, contact Uber support immediately.
We asked, and you answered. Here are the results from our driver poll on Uber’s deactivation policy:
Did you get deactivated by Uber? What steps did you take to get reactivated? Let us know your experience by dropping a comment below.
Jonathan Cousar began driving for Uber in 2013 when the ride-hail company first began operations in New York City. He has booked more than 7,000 trips. In 2014 he created Uber Driver Diaries, which was the first blog by an Uber driver describing the highs and lows of driving as well as offering tips and tricks and information on the industry as a whole. In 2016 Ridester acquired the site, and Jonathan began writing full-time about the rideshare industry and the gig economy. He has also done extensive research into driver issues related to pay and working conditions.