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Deactivated by Uber: ‘They’re going to listen to the rider and not listen to the driver’

More Uber drivers have said they’ve been locked out of the ride-sharing app because of customer complaints they weren’t even notified about.

Photo: 123RF

Earlier this month, an Uber driver said he was living in fear everyday of his income being taken away, after he was deactivated twice without being told.

Five more deactivated drivers have since come forward.

Victor, using an alias to protect his privacy, returned from a two-week holiday in Wanaka to an email from Uber on 12 January, saying his account had been temporarily deactivated because of a report from a rider that he had made sexually suggestive remarks.

“If I’m not driving for two weeks, how can I do something? If I did something, why didn’t the rider let me know – let Uber know 31st of December, on [the] night, if it happened?”

He asked Uber to provide details of the incident but the company declined because of privacy reasons. This means Victor doesn’t even know the time or date of when the incident was alleged to have happened.

Victor insists that he’s innocent but said Uber wouldn’t accept the dash cam footage he offered to provide.

“I say, I can prove it because I recorded every weekend… but Uber never give me a chance.”

Screenshots from Victor’s Uber account show that he had a rating of 4.95 out of a possible 5 stars prior to deactivation.

Image: RNZ/Supplied – Tap for large view

Harmanpreet Randhawa, who had a rating of 4.81 stars, said he was deactivated last week when Uber told him a rider complained they felt unsafe over his driving speed.

Not only was his account deactivated – he was told he was ineligible for a review, and two days later, was told that Uber had received multiple reports of unsafe behaviour.

Mr Randhawa has now been left without an income.

“I don’t have any job – actually I bought a car for Uber and I was doing it for the last one-and-a-half year. So everything was earning good so I had more than 3000 trips… but now I’m very struggling to do something because I don’t have money.

“Actually, I’m paying finance $100 every week for the car and insurance and everything because Uber was [my] only job.”

Three other former Uber drivers have been in contact to say they were deactivated over compliants of theft and poor driving.

Two of those drivers, Arsh and Mr Singh, said that they complained to Uber about riders being racists, but these were never followed up.

“I saw a lot of customers who were like, trying to be racist with me so I complained to the Uber as well, ‘this is not fair’ but still they’re going to listen to the rider and not listen to the driver,” Arsh said.

Image: RNZ/Supplied – Tap for large view

Ridesharing Drivers Network spokesperson Sher Abid said he had watched drivers suffer financially because of the deactivation process and wanted Uber to be more transparent.

“If it was clear communication between Uber that, ‘okay this has happened, we are working on it, and we provided some proof about what has happened, and what has not’ – but it’s not happening like that.”

He said he wanted it to be compulsory for drivers to have cameras installed in their cars, although this has yet to be discussed with the wider network.

A spokesperson for Uber New Zealand said that drivers could install cameras for safety purposes if they wanted.

In a statement, the company said it had a “safety-first approach to dealing with breaches” and also took into account previous complaints.

It said drivers who had urgent and serious complaints against them – such as for dangerous driving, physical altercations, sexual assault or theft – were suspended pending an investigation.

When Uber conducts an investigation, there is no requirement to seek evidence from both parties.

It said in a statement, investigations ‘can include asking the parties involved for details of the incident.”

The standard Uber contract said it had the right to deactivate drivers anytime.

Other ride-sharing services Zoomy and Ola did not respond to requests for comment about their deactivation policies.

RNZ / Meriana Johnsen