Lyft drivers concerned by what they call unjust deactivations from rideshare service

ATLANTA — Local Lyft drivers said they are in a back-and-forth with the company over what they are calling unfair deactivations of their accounts.

Drivers said they’re talking about small complaints for things like riders being upset they have to wear a mask or a driver’s car being too dirty.

Advocacy groups said there is a growing number of unfair accusations against drivers, resulting in them losing their jobs.

Driver Albert Wells said, “They’ll make a complaint, false complaint.”

Rideshare drivers said unfair complaints were putting many drivers out of a job.

“We don’t make money, whenever they deactivate us, we don’t make money,” said Wells.

Currently unemployed, Albert Wells, after rideshare company Lyft deactivated his account permanently.

“They will send you an email, they tell you safety concerns it doesn’t tell you what it is, it don’t tell you when it occurred,” said Wells.

This week, Wells said he received this email from the company, notifying him that his account had been deactivated.

Wells who holds a five-star rating with the company, said this termination came as a surprise.

“I’ve been with them for almost five years now,” said Wells.

We spoke with another driver named Janice, who too was deactivated from the rideshare platform.

Janice, who wanted to only use her first name, said she and other drivers have experienced deactivations after they received what they assert are false complaints.

“The drivers don’t stand a chance, they can lie on you,” said Janice.

Janice said her account was deactivated after a driver complained about how she spoke to him.

Both she and Wells said they agree accounts should be deactivated if a driver commits a crime or assault but deactivation on smaller complaints is unfair.

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According to RIDESTER, an information site for rideshare drivers, an account can be activated for things like smoking, having a dirty vehicle, low driver rating or outdated documents. The more serious violations include discrimination, having a criminal background or assaulting a passenger.

A Lyft spokesperson told WSB that due to their privacy policies, they can only say Wells’ account was deactivated because of a violation of their community guidelines.

We did find that after customer complaints, the company conducts an investigation before making any decision.

Advocacy organizations like the Georgia chapter of Rideshare Drivers United are currently advocating on drivers’ behalf about what they’re calling wrongful deactivations, due to exaggerated passenger complaints.

“This is causing drivers to become homeless, I’m living in an Air BnB,” said Wells.

Driver rights could be strengthened with the passing of the Protecting the Right to Organize Act of 2021.

This bill could give drivers, who are considered independent contractors, more protections against rideshare companies.

The bill has already passed the House and is currently in the Senate.