Deactivated on Instacart, DoorDash, or Uber? Rideshare lawyers tell us what drivers need to do to get reactivated

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False accusations from passengers, and getting deactivated, can leave you feeling pretty helpless, not to mention distraught. Companies will tell you their decision is “final,” and it can be frustrating, if not impossible, to actually speak to a human being who’s willing to hear your side of the story. 

Is this unfair? Absolutely.

But are you completely helpless? Absolutely not.

We had a lively conversation with someone who really knows what he’s talking about: Bryant Greening, one of the founding attorneys at LegalRideshare.

The firm was founded for the express purpose of helping rideshare and delivery drivers. So, they have a lot of experience helping drivers who were in accidents and/or have been victims of deactivation.

In this blog post, we’ll cover the excellent convo we had with Greening, focusing on issues that are especially important to drivers. 

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Why drivers are getting unfairly deactivated
  • How to protect yourself from being deactivated
  • What to do if you’ve been unfairly deactivated

If you’d like to watch our video interview, check it out below.

Why are drivers getting unfairly deactivated?

How can this happen? 

You get a notification from your company saying that you’ve been deactivated due to a customer complaint. The notification may not even tell you what the nature of the complaint is. You’re simply no longer allowed to use the platform.

This happens to more drivers than you might think. Even when the world is normal—but especially when it’s consumed with COVID-19 craziness—customers can be cranky and cantankerous. You can be accused of anything from not wearing a mask or running a red light to driving under the influence. 

When the complaint against you comes in, the company takes the passenger’s word for it and takes action against you. The customer might get a free ride, or even a gift card for a whole bunch of free rides. As for you, there’s often nothing you can do except join the ranks of the unemployed.

Why rideshare drivers might get deactivated:

  • Failure to pass a background check (remember, the companies periodically re-do these checks)
  • Unsafe driving, including being stopped and ticketed by police while on the app
  • Carrying a weapon
  • Threatening a customer
  • Driving under the influence
  • Committing any other kind of infraction or crime while you’re on the app

Why delivery drivers might get deactivated:

  • Lateness. Remember that delivery companies are all about time. If it’s been proven that you took excessive amounts of time to complete a delivery, your access to the app could be on the chopping block, depending on which company you work for.
  • Card abuse. Namely, this involves using a company card for any purpose besides paying for customers’ orders.
  • Fraud, such as stealing or otherwise tampering with the items in a delivery
  • Taking too few orders
  • Violating the agreement, such as saying you’re using a bike when you’re not, so you can get more deliveries in closer proximity
  • Low completion rate
  • Low driver rating
  • Customer complaints

It doesn’t matter whether you believe you did the right thing in a given situation, or if you’re being falsely accused. The company can deactivate you when and how it wishes.

How to protect yourself from being deactivated

You’d think that in the United States, where the legal rights involving “due process” and one being assumed “innocent until proven guilty” are in place, the company wouldn’t be able to do this—but that’s not how it works. 

Your agreement as an independent contractor leaves you at the whim of a company’s decision to let you work for them, or not.

So, given that it’s so easy to be deactivated, you need to make sure you’re protecting yourself at all times. Following are some steps you can take.

Get a dashcam

Here are some ways a dashcam can protect you:

  • If you get a 2- or 3-way camera, it will record everything that happens inside and in close proximity to your vehicle.
  • You (and the rideshare company) are protected from rider claims such as, “My driver wasn’t wearing a mask and now I have COVID-19.” 
  • Unruly behavior has a way of evaporating when a sign that says “Smile, you’re on camera!” is displayed prominently in your vehicle.
  • Your customers are likely to be more conscientious about treating you with respect and complying with all safety rules when they know you have a device—your dashcam—that covers a lot more territory than your rearview mirror.
  • If anyone damages your vehicle, inside or out, you’ll have a videotaped record to show police and insurance companies.

The need for getting permission to record with a dashcam varies from state to state. In some cases, one person must be aware of the recording; in other states, all parties must be made aware. 

The best thing to do is have a sign indicating a camera is in use, and then say something to your passenger like, “I just want you to know, for your protection and mine, I’m using a dashcam. Is that okay with you?” 

Most people will be fine with it, and you’ll have full evidence of their consent on the recording (covering you in every state). Those passengers who don’t want to be recorded will tell you so. If they do, let them know you’ll gladly cancel the ride, and they won’t have to pay a penny.

Oh, and if you want a free dashcam, check out an app called Driver. They offer a dashcam app that records both inside, and outside of your car.

There’s also a pretty cool augmented reality navigation feature and collision warnings to keep you safe on the road. Check it out at the link below!

Know your rights 

Be aware of your obligations under your agreement with the company, and make sure you abide by them. This blog post provides more details about how and why drivers get deactivated.

Always have evidence

Collect evidence at the scene, and make sure it’s viable. A dashcam is your best ally here, and witnesses can help too. 

Work for multiple platforms

It’s very easy these days to work for more than one platform. Many rideshare drivers added delivery to their repertoire over the last several months, as rideshare business declined. There are more reasons to operate with more than one kind of service and multiple apps, such as: 

  • Diverse activities maximize efficiency. Drive when people are moving around, and deliver at meal times.
  • Protection against economic fluctuations. If demand for rideshare or delivery should change, you can always back yourself up by going between the two modes of gig work.
  • Avoid being exposed to unemployment due to deactivation. If you’ve been dropped from one platform, especially for no good reason, you’ll have other places to work.

What to do if you’ve been unfairly deactivated

  • Contact support, and keep contacting them. Don’t give up until you get them to hear your side of the story.
  • Mail a deactivation letter. To truly get the attention of the company, and make sure you have a paper trail, send snail mail letters to the company.
  • Ask for outside help. You can write other letters: to the city council,  legislators, and other regulators who may have authority over the company and its practices.
  • Make noise on social media. Post your story on Facebook groups, Twitter, and Reddit threads. Yes, you’ll be annoying, but so what? You may also succeed in getting to that one person in the company who will finally give you a hearing.
  • Go to the press. If all else fails, go to your local newspaper, radio, or TV station (digital or otherwise). Or, get the attention of a blogger or YouTube channel that’s sympathetic to the interests of rideshare drivers. 

When bad things happen: Getting legal help

Bryant Greening, one of the founders of a nationally known law firm called LegalRideshare, has been in the business of advocating for drivers for the last five or six years. As the rideshare and delivery business has grown, so has the firm. They handle a large volume of cases for drivers who have been in accidents and/or have suffered injury while on the job.

LegalRideshare’s website states: “Our lawyers are the go-to source on rideshare-related issues, serving hundreds of clients, and securing millions of dollars for injured drivers and passengers.”  

When drivers need legal help, it needs to come from someone who knows the ins and outs of the business. That’s why it’s so gratifying for us to know Bryant and the awesome work he and his firm do.

If you need legal help, or if you want to get news about legal issues that apply to drivers, follow LegalRideshare on Facebook, check them out on Twitter, or visit their website to contact them. 

Keep living the Gridwise life!

You know by now how smart it is to keep yourself signed up for as many platforms as you can, and Gridwise can help with that. Track your mileage, and record earnings for your shifts on every platform you use. Our new features are made for the hybrid driving gig that’s getting you through these uncertain, often crazy times. 

Download Gridwise now! Our blog is always on top of the news you need, and you won’t want to miss the timely and poignant posts on the Gridwise YouTube channel. Plus, there are driver deals and gas card giveaways on our Facebook page. Connect with us through the Perks tab.

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