What happens if you are deactivated from driving by Uber or Lyft? You may be confused about why it happened and how you can argue your case. Here’s what to do to avoid a deactivation and how to handle it if you’ve been deactivated.
Buckle has partnered with Harry Campbell, founder of TheRideshareGuy.com, to provide our Members with the very best tips, tricks, and news to help maximize their income as a rideshare and delivery driver.
Deactivated from Uber or Lyft for a small rock chip in your windshield? What about day-old expired documents? Or, worst of all, deactivated for no discernible reason? All of these are actual reasons why some rideshare drivers have been deactivated from ridesharing platforms. What’s a driver to do in a situation like that?
Below, I’ll share what to be aware of so you can prevent getting deactivated in the first place, plus common reasons for deactivation and how you can get reactivated if you’re taken off the platform.
How to Know You’ve Been Deactivated
How do you know you’ve been deactivated? You should receive a notification from whichever service you’re driving for, whether that be Uber, Lyft or a delivery service.
You should also receive an email or text message, but you might not always receive one.
Sometimes drivers only find out they have been deactivated when they try to sign in, and the app alerts them they are deactivated.
Whichever way you find out, it’s never fun and can be shocking. At this point, you may be thinking: what did I do?
Common Reasons Drivers Get Deactivated from Uber, Lyft and Other Platforms
Here are the top three reasons why most drivers are deactivated. Is this a full and comprehensive list? No, as there are innumerable reasons why you could be deactivated, including some reasons based on mistaken identity, but these are the most common.
1. Background Check Issues
The biggest reason most drivers are deactivated is background check issues. It could be from a speeding ticket to something bigger, but if something like that is in your past, it could affect your ability to remain on the platform.
State and even city rules regarding background checks and rideshare driving make this more complicated. What gets you deactivated in one state may be completely irrelevant in another state. You won’t always know until Uber or Lyft conducts annual background checks.
Another common issue related to background checks is mistaken identity. If your name is pretty common, or you happen to share the same name with someone who’s committed a few crimes, your background check may be held up while Checkr (the service Uber and Lyft use to conduct background checks) investigates.
2. Documents Not Updated Or Blurry
Did your auto insurance just expire? What about your license? Better get it updated in your rideshare app; otherwise, you could be deactivated.
In general, Uber and Lyft give plenty of advance warning that your documents will be outdated. However, if you’re like most people, chances are you may put it off, or mean to get to it and just forget. We’re all busy!
Unfortunately, get too busy, let your documents expire, and uh oh - you’re deactivated! Drivers I’ve talked to say updating your documents after you’ve been deactivated seems to take longer than getting your documents approved while you’re still active on the platform, so try to be proactive and get your docs updated ASAP!
That said, don’t be in a hurry! Submitting a blurry license, for example, can get you deactivated for the simple fact that it’s hard to read. Try to submit the clearest copy of your documents that you can.
3. Passengers Reporting You
While it’s terrible to say, some passengers really just want to get a free ride. And what better way to do that than to say they’ve had a horrible ride?
Some will cancel the ride while in your car, others will say you were driving unsafe when you weren’t, and others are just having a bad day and taking it out on you.
Whatever the reason, passengers reporting you can get you deactivated and can make it very difficult for you to get reactivated.
I’ve Been Deactivated! How to Get Reactivated With Uber, Lyft, and Other Platforms
1. Contact the Company And Plead Your Case
The first thing is to check whatever message you have from Uber, Lyft or another platform and see how they have asked you to respond. If they say to respond to that email, do that; if they ask you to open a ticket through the website, submit it.
If you didn’t receive anything other than an alert on your app telling you you’re deactivated, go through the Help option of the app and try to speak to someone.
If that doesn’t work, find the local Hub, whether that's for Lyft or Uber, if you have one near you, and try to speak to someone face to face. Not only will speaking to someone in person be easier, it usually will be faster because they won’t have to wait a few days before the decision is made.
If you happen to be a Seattle driver it’s even easier. Seattle has made things better for drivers, including but not limited to creating a Driver Resolution Center, where they offer you fee-free services that help you fight unfair deactivations.
2. Involve Social Media
You’ve probably seen this before: someone who has a bad experience with a major company tags the company on Twitter or other social media platform, and a Help account for the major company responds and asks for more information.
While it may seem like going to social media won’t help you, you’d actually be surprised how helpful companies can be once you’ve “put them on blast” on social media. You don’t have to be rude or disrespectful (nor do I recommend that!), but calmly state what happened, tag the company, and see what the response is.
From there, you’ll typically private message the Help account, submit your name and another summary of what happened, and then wait for a response. You should get something back from the Help account within two days.
3. Contact a Lawyer
After you have tried all you can through the app, in person, and social media, the next step may be getting a lawyer.
Larry Smith, a managing partner at SmithMarco, P.C who helps drivers that have been unfairly deactivated, says that while he can’t give specific examples due to confidentiality agreements, the SmithMarco, P.C. team has recovered thousands of dollars for drivers who have been unfairly deactivated. You can check out this interview with him about the process here.
While it may seem like a drastic step, it can actually be pretty common for certain types of deactivations. If you’ve been deactivated because of a background check issue, check out this article on what to do after you’ve been unfairly deactivated.
Bonus Tip: Get a Dash Camera!
Finally, get a dash cam. Some of these deactivation reasons can be preventable with a dash camera (like untrue allegations from passengers).
While I can’t help you with the rock chip issue, most of the above deactivation issues are preventable if you stay on top of your documents, protect yourself with a dash cam, and know how to fight deactivation if it happens to you.
Harry Campbell is a former Boeing Aerospace Engineer and founder of TheRideshareGuy.com, a blog, podcast and Youtube channel for ridehail drivers and other gig workers and author of, The Rideshare Guide. Over the years, Harry has covered the gig economy industry closely and talked to tens of thousands of drivers and gig workers about their experience on the road.