Sudden account deactivations are a gig driver’s nightmare. It means that you’re no longer authorized to work on that app. You cannot receive orders. Due to a recent article in Business Insider, there’s been a renewed focus on app deactivation.
Gridwise is devoted to bringing gig drivers services, benefits, and information that help them do their job better and avoid unfair account deactivations. In this blog post, Gridwise reviews unexplained deactivations of food and grocery delivery gig drivers and what, if anything, you can do to fight deactivation.
What’s inside this blog post:
- How account deactivations happen
- Why drivers get sudden deactivations
- Appealing account deactivation
- How to avoid account deactivation Other ways to avoid unexplained deactivations
- In a world of sudden deactivations, how can Gridwise help?
There are many legitimate reasons for gig work termination, but many drivers have reported unfair and unexplained deactivations. Sometimes, reinstatement is simple. Other times, it’s almost impossible to appeal delivery app deactivations, even if you think it’s unfair. Some drivers claim it was for minor issues; others say it was for nothing, especially after putting in years of flawless service as gig drivers.
How account deactivations happen
They happen for small reasons and big reasons. One Southern California rideshare driver (yes, rideshare drivers are subject to sudden deactivation, too) tells how he was picking up a carload of music fans at an Airbnb in a gated community during the Coachella Music Festival. They buzzed him in, but the barrier at the gate unexpectedly came down on his windshield, cracking it badly. Even though he had it repaired the following day, when he logged back onto the app, he found he was deactivated. A passenger from the previous night had reported it.
The message that came with the deactivation asked him for evidence of repair. He sent the receipt and several photos he had taken of the repair in progress. The rideshare company reactivated him three hours later.
There are other reasons for a delivery app deactivation, and they are much more serious than a cracked windshield. According to Circuit, a last-mile tech company, 79% of food delivery drivers admitted to sampling customer food (you should know that other surveys have that number much lower). If the customer’s porch-mounted video camera caught you eating French fries from their order, expect swift delivery contractor termination.
Why drivers get sudden deactivations
A quick Google search reveals this sampling of transgressions most often cited that prompt account deactivations:
- high cancellation rates
- low acceptance rates
- late deliveries
- failed background checks
- providing incorrect information
- poor reviews
- theft (including eating food)
- under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- violating contract terms
- criminal activity
- rude behavior or harassing customers
You might also find it interesting to know that FedEx will deactivate drivers caught using bots to reserve delivery blocks.
The difficulty comes when these allegations, typically made by a customer or restaurant, are untrue or unwarranted, at least from the driver’s perspective. Some of these complaints are legitimate, while others are customers trying to get free food.
DoorDash deactivation. DoorDash does not appear to have a web page specifically related to reasons for deactivation. A Gridwise blog post, Why Rideshare and Delivery Drivers Get Deactivated, and How to Get Reactivated, reports that DoorDash watches your completion rate and overall driver ratings. You can also check out the DoorDash web page on how to get reactivated.
Uber Eats deactivation. Uber gives a thorough explanation of driver deactivations on their website. Read it here.
Grubhub deactivation. Grubhub is another food delivery app that does not explicitly list reasons for deactivation. Read Grubhub’s TOU carefully.
Instacart deactivation. Some report that Instacart is notoriously heavy-handed in their deactivations. Like other gig companies, however, they do not post reasons for deactivation on their website. You have to read the Instacart terms and conditions carefully.
Shipt deactivation. According to blogpost Shipt Shopper Account Deactivated? 7 Reasons Why It Happens from ThisOnlineWorld.com, Shipt is especially sensitive to the following issues: low ratings, rude or threatening behavior toward customers, not scanning IDs, shopping with other people, canceling too many orders, late deliveries, and purchasing items for yourself and billing it to the customer (which seems pretty obvious, but drivers have been caught doing it). Read Shipt’s terms of service here.
Multi-apping can get you an account deactivation
Some food delivery companies, especially DoorDash and Grubhub, require drivers to select blocks of time in advance. They consider it a commitment. You could get deactivated if you have reserved a block but are not accepting deliveries. This often happens because drivers are multi-apping. Some food delivery TOU agreements forbid you from working other apps while you’re working theirs
Appealing account deactivation?
What if you’re deactivated and you think it’s for vague termination reasons, a minor issue violation, or just wholly unfounded? Unfortunately, gig workers are at the mercy of account deactivation procedures that are primarily conducted via email. Many drivers report never getting a response or spending hours on the phone, most of it on hold. At some point, you will have to complete an online form or perhaps speak to a real person. Here are a few pointers:
- Completely fill out the form, even if you have to enter “does not apply.” Blank fields will sometimes make it an incomplete form.
- Tell the story as briefly as possible. Some people perceive over-explanations as covering the truth.
- Stick to the facts, and don’t complain about unfair policies.
- Stay calm and don’t threaten people with, “I’ll sue you,” or “Wait until I tell your supervisor.”
Sometimes, things work out in ways you did not imagine. The aforementioned Business Insider story tells of an Uber Eats worker in Oregon who received a sudden deactivation and grew tired of arguing with the company and moved on. In early January of this year, he decided to try installing the app again, and to his surprise, it worked, and his application to deliver food was accepted. Afterward, he received a letter from Uber apologizing for the time it took to resolve his issue.
Sometimes, appealing a deactivation is a dead-end effort. You’re better moving on to another app. In that case, check out Gridwise for the best way to earn in a specific food-delivery app. Read here about How to Make $1000 a Week with Uber Eats.
Other ways to avoid unexplained deactivations
The food and grocery delivery companies don’t go into much detail about their procedures. Still, given that they rely on AI for many functions, they might be leaving the decision to terminate a driver up to an algorithm. The goal of drivers is to avoid getting into situations that can affect their livelihood.
Here are some suggestions:
- Always provide top-drawer service. Consider including pre-written thank-you notes with your food or grocery deliveries.
- Being well-dressed and having a cheerful, polite attitude prevents lots of problems.
- An in-car camera or body cam is a good idea. This way, you can send video files that prove your side. Be careful, though; depending on your state or municipal ordinances, filming another person without their knowledge may be an infraction. Forward-facing cameras are a good idea to record your side of a traffic collision.
- Remember that lots of folks have porch cameras now. Consider yourself always on camera.
- Take good photos of groceries and food left on the porch. Adjust your camera settings so that a date and time stamp appears.
- Watch the cash register in stores and restaurants. Many drivers getting a gig delivery contractor termination report it was because the employee inadvertently charged them for something they did not intend to purchase, passing the charge on to the customer.
- Check your orders. Restaurants are hectic work environments. Getting the wrong order or missing items can be an issue. When was the last time a restaurant messed up your order? It happens.
- If you anticipate a problem with a customer or think a customer is trying to scam a free meal by fabricating a complaint, immediately report it through the app. If you tell your story first, you might get more of a sympathetic ear.
Yes, we’ve already discussed multi-apping and how some food delivery companies will deactivate gig workers for doing it. The trick is, don’t multi-app when working on their app.
While only about 31% of gig drivers multi-app, and only about 21% multi-app across platforms (meaning they do both food delivery and rideshare, or package delivery), multi-apping makes sense. As a driver things happen all the time that are out of your control, and you may get a sudden deactivation on your favorite app. You need to have another app that you can immediately fall back on to avoid a dip in your income. You might get reinstated, but that can take time.
Smart gig workers multi-app across multiple platforms so that they always have work. You don’t necessarily have to run two or three apps simultaneously, but you should be familiar with the apps so that you can switch back and forth when needed.
Multi-apping ensures that you have options. For more information on how to effectively multi-app, check out this Gridwise blog post, The Art of Multi-apping: How-Tos and Strategies for Gig Drivers.
Are there other measures to avoid unexplained deactivations?
A recent Seattle gig worker law is designed to reduce unwarranted delivery contractor termination, according to the Business Insider article and also as reported in an online article at GeekWire. It’s the first law of its kind in the US. Features of the law, enacted this past August, include
- Drivers must receive a 14-day notice of deactivation. An instant termination clause exists if the behavior is “egregious.”
- Gig companies are required to provide records to back up their decision, eliminating vague termination reasons.
- The decision to activate has to be made by a human, and an appeal has to be ruled on by a human. You can’t get terminated by artificial intelligence.
The law takes effect January 1, 2025. Expect to see other cities and states follow suit.
In a world of sudden deactivations, how can Gridwise help?
Gridwise champions the continued success of gig workers. The Gridwise blog delivers the latest news on strategies and tactics for more profitable gig driving. We also keep you current on gig company policies that affect you, including information that might prevent you from getting an unexplained deactivation.
You can also access a host of benefits through Gridwise, including roadside assistance, telemedicine, dental insurance, and more. Track miles with the Gridwise Mileage Tracker and save yourself thousands of dollars at tax time. Visit the Gridwise website.
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