9 min read

    9 min read

    Back in December, RSG contributor Jay Cradeur was deactivated by Uber for seemingly no reason. Jay chronicled the saga here, and today he has an update for us: he’s been reactivated! Here, his warning and advice for drivers who find themselves deactivated by Uber (or Lyft).

    A couple weeks ago I received a call from a Customer Support Representative at Uber to tell me my account had been reactivated.

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    “You are back online!”

    She said the background check issued had been resolved, but the rep did not tell me why I had been deactivated.  I can assume there was some sort of technical glitch that impacted me and many other drivers.

    In total, I was offline for 6 weeks, having been deactivated on December 6 for no apparent reason and during that entire time, I drove solely for Lyft.  I completed my first 3 Uber rides the following morning, 6 weeks to the day after being deactivated.

    The Frustration Of It All

    In December, I wrote a strongly worded blog post (and video) about my deactivation at the 2-week mark of my odyssey. I thought that with the incredible reach of the Rideshare Guy, social pressure alone would get me back on line in a jiffy.  Wrong!

    Instead, I persisted in trying to figure out what I did wrong, and I provided Uber with information that would allow them rectify the situation.

    Correspondence with Uber

    In mid-December, I received an email from Uber suggesting I contact Checkr, Uber’s background check provider and see if I could clear things up with my background check. I had already provided Uber with my clear DMV Background Check, but that did not have any impact on my situation.  Here is the email from Uber:

    Hi Jerry,

    Thanks for reaching out.

    It appears that your background check provider has completed their report, but it is currently under review by Uber. We will be reaching out with more details within 7-15 business days.

    If you have any questions or concerns about the contents of the background check report you have received, your best resource for answers will be the guidelines provided in the email from Checkr. If you have not received this message, you can go to the Checkr Applicant Portal to view your status.

    If you have not received a copy of your report, please let us know.

    We appreciate your patience throughout this process.

    I did contact Checkr, and after a week of back and forth, I received my background check.  You can see that right there on the upper right hand corner, it states “Clear.”

    Certainly, I thought to myself, once Uber sees this, they will have to activate my account.  I sent the background check to Uber with the following email.

    Hello, Yesterday, I received my background check from Checkr. As you can see, it says “Clear” at the top. What is the remaining issue? Please advise. Thank you.  

    Their response was:

    Hi Jerry, I have escalated this to our backgrounds team for them to review. Once we hear back from them we can provide more information. Thank you for providing this so we can followup.

    Since my last blog post, I was determined to get back on line before New Year’s Eve.  I knew that Uber would be offering some great bonuses and I wanted my share of the windfall.  It didn’t happen.   New Year’s Eve came and went.  I was quite angry by this time and sent Uber this short missive:

    Hello, Any update on this issue? Last December I made $6,000 driving for Uber. This is a significant loss of income due to the error. I thought for sure this would be handled by New Year’s Eve. Now I will miss out on the 4X surge that Uber is guaranteeing. I hope you can get this handled asap. …My hands are thrown up in the air. Happy New Year. 

    Their response was this:

    Hi Jerry, thank you for reaching out to Priority Support. Unfortunately there is no new information at this time. I know this is an inconvenience, and our team is working to resolve this issue as soon as possible.

    One week later, with frustration now at a fever pitch, I sent this:

    Hello, We are now in Week 5 of this fiasco. Last week I sent you a Cleared background check from Checkr, following up on your instructions. Is anyone taking this seriously? … This mistaken deactivation is causing a serious loss of revenue. I have heard that others have been reactivated, which leads me to believe I could easily be reactivated, but I must be at the bottom of some list. As you may or not be able to imagine, this is extremely frustrating since I have done nothing wrong, but rather have been an exemplary driver for Uber for the past two years. Can I at least get a substantive update? Thank you. 

    Similar response from Uber:

    Hi Jerry, thank you for reaching out to Priority Support. Unfortunately we do not have any new information at this time. I have forwarded the document you provided to our team for review. Once we hear back from them we will let you know.


    Once I was re-activated, I went online and quickly saw that I did not have any bonuses or power zones on my app.  It seemed to me that since Uber made the mistake, they could at least get me back on track with the bonuses.  I contacted Uber to get back to where I was:


    After 6 weeks, I have now been activated.  

    However, I do not have any promotions to work towards.  No bonuses.  

    Perhaps because I was inactive, the promotions stopped.

    Can you please get me back on the promotions list, so that I have a promotion to work toward Friday to Sunday?

    Thank you.

    Uber’s response:

    Hi Jerry, thank you for reaching out to Priority Support. I am glad to hear you are active again. Unfortunately we cannot send you any incentives or promotions, however they will pickup again as you begin making trips again. If you have not seen any sent to you, it is likely just do to the account inactivity since the background check. If you have any other questions, please let us know.

    Final Thoughts

    Uber has promised to provide me with a fair “make it right” payment within a week. As of this writing, now 2 weeks after being reactivated, I have heard nothing. Uber did deposit $250 into my account, which hardly compensates me for over $6,000 in lost revenue (my Uber earnings last December).

    Perhaps this is simply the Uber way. Let drivers flail in the wind and if they don’t complain, leave it alone. I do expect some type of compensation for my lost wages, but perhaps this is wishful thinking.

    On a positive note, Uber did make the effort to contact me and keep me up to date on my status.  They volunteered to call me every day if I wanted in order to provide the latest information. I certainly felt that Uber was doing everything they could to get me back on line.

    Technology, when done right, is a wonderful thing.  As I have learned during this deactivation experience, technology can also go very wrong.  Someone made an error.  Maybe it was a coding error, maybe an accidental deletion, or something else. While it is easy to “pile on” Uber given their sketchy history, I do not want to do that. Things happen.

    Uber kept me updated and got me back on line as quickly as they could given the unfortunate circumstance. I feel, however, it is unconscionable that Uber has not delivered on their commitment to provide any real substantive compensatory revenue for my lost wages.

    👉 Related article: Essential gear every rideshare driver should have

    If You Are Deactivated by Uber or Lyft

    If you are deactivated by Uber, here are a few important steps to take to get reactivated as quickly as possible:

    1. Contact Ubermy email bounced back, but that could just be my market. If you’ve been deactivated, you should receive an email. Try to respond to that first.
    2. Reach out to Uber through the app – to contact Uber, you’ll want to open your app, go to Help, and then click on the top issue you’re having, and submit your question.
    3. Try phone support – the above options not working? Your Uber app will have the latest phone information if phone support is offered in your city, or you can try this number: Uber Phone Support: (800) 593-7069
    4. Go in-person – usually one of the most effective ways to get an answer to your question, if there is a Greenlight Hub in your area.

    To find a Greenlight Hub (in-person Uber support), click here. Scroll down to “Local Infomation” and click “Get The Details.” From there, click “Contact Uber” and it will bring you to your local Greenlight Hub page with hours and location info. The URL will look like this (using Los Angeles as an example).

    If Uber tells you it’s a background check issue, reach out to Checkr and try to get a copy of your DMV records (like I did). If there is a mistake on your driving record, you need to get that cleared up right away with the DMV so you can be cleared to drive.

    Lyft is very similar:

    1. Contact Lyft through their app – you’ll want to reach out first via the app, if possible. Simply click on your picture → Help → Help Center for most inquiries, then scroll down to your concern/question or “Contact Support” to ask a specific question.
    2. Go in-person: Lyft offers a helpful list of hubs nationwide here.

    In addition, we’ve heard from other drivers that social media may help. Lyft and Uber appear fairly responsive on Facebook and Twitter. To contact Uber, tweet at @Uber_support with your question or concern. For Lyft, tweet at @askLyft. Keep it brief (as Twitter requires) and don’t send too many messages for them to follow. Uber or Lyft should get back to you within business hours via a “reply” or a direct message (DM).

    Was anyone else deactivated on December 6, 2017?  Have you been re-activated?  How are you feeling about the whole situation?  Do you feel like Uber mistreated you during this experience?  Or do you feel like they made the best out of a bad situation? Share below.

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    -Jay @ RSG

    Jay Cradeur

    Jay Cradeur

    Jay Cradeur, a graduate of the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, is a full-time driver with over 26,000 rides. Jay has a driver-focused podcast: Rideshare Dojo with Jay Cradeur. When Jay isn’t writing articles or making videos, he is traveling the world. You can see what Jay is up to at