The gig economy has been my ticket to decent earnings and flexible schedules in order to allow travel. I substitute teach and drive for ride share and delivery services. After four years of driving, I have come to the conclusion that Uber sucks. Why Uber sucks will be detailed in this post.
How do travel bloggers travel
Everybody asks travel bloggers how they can afford to travel so much. The answer varies widely from blogger to blogger. Some monetize their blog effectively, some had or have corporate jobs with flexible and generous time off, some are able to work remotely and travel as they work. Some do a mixture of the above.
Started driving rideshare five years ago
I used to work as a Claims Examiner for Allstate Life Insurance Company. In January of 2017, I quit that job, and I started to drive with Lyft a month or two later. I was a substitute teacher during the day, but I needed something for the summer and to make a little extra during the school year. I chose Lyft at the time because they were promoting a bonus for your first month. For two years, I drove with Lyft exclusively.
A couple of years later, I signed up for Uber. I kept hearing that Uber was busier and you could make more. Several Lyft passengers informed me that the rate at the airport was twice as high for an Uber. This made me wonder if Uber drivers were making more. I was not really happy with Lyft’s bonus and surge structure. They mostly did away with surges and rarely offered a bonus.
Signed up for Uber in August of 2019
In August of 2019, I made the plunge and started driving for Uber. I realized right away that it was easier to make more money with Uber due to better surge rates and bonuses. It was also much busier. Much less down time in between rides compared to Lyft. I started to drive with Uber 90% of the time and with Lyft 10% of the time.
One month after driving with Uber my account was suspended
Uber suspended my account after one month of driving. No reason or explanation by Uber for the suspension was provided. Calling on the phone with representatives from India and the Philippines proved fruitless. Another difference between the ride shares is Uber’s customer service for drivers is absolute garbage. Lyft is much better and easier to get a hold of someone.
I went in person to one of the driver hubs, and they were able to tell me they were doing a background check. I already cleared a background check in order to drive in the first place. It is mandatory that all drivers pass a background check. All that they could tell me at the hub is they were doing a background check, and they could provide no further explanation.
Two weeks later, I was cleared to drive again. This blatant suspension of my account without care for my earnings was shocking. What company hires someone and then a week later says you cannot work for two weeks while we investigate? I am a teacher with a squeaky clean background, so I am not sure what triggered a second background check in a month.
Why Uber sucks – Account deactivated a second time
Several months later, my account was deactivated permanently. My driver rating was over 4.9, but I had received a couple of infractions for driving too fast or breaking too hard. Every driver gets these from time-to-time. They are a good reminder that not everyone is in a hurry and some prefer a safe smooth ride.
I never received any warning that I could be deactivated. Then, I got an email from someone in India saying I was permanently deactivated and the answer was final. Again, there was no clear reason for the deactivation. There was no warning, and no way for me to plead my case.
I have never been fired for any job in my life. At that time, I thought I was doing a good job for Uber. Not only was the loss of earnings a blow, but it was also a blow to my pride. I pride myself on the work I do, and I think every employer who has ever had me as an employee would vouch for my competency and character.
Why Uber sucks – Reactivated a month later
Whatever my past sins were, they were not bad enough to sustain a permanent ban. I received an email that my account was now active, and I could continue to drive. Once again, no explanation as to why I received a ban in the first place or the rational of why my account was restored.
I stubbornly refused to drive for Uber for several months, but the lure of bonuses and surges, soon had me crawling back. For two years, I had no complaints with Uber, and I amassed an even better rating of 4.96. I began to do Uber Eats deliveries as well. It is a nice change of pace from driving passengers although the pay is not as good. I earned a 98% rating with by delivery.
Driver deliveries during the Pandemic
When the Pandemic hit in March of last year, I stopped driving all together for three months. Fortunately, Chicago Public Schools paid me a weekly salary through the end of the school year even though I was not working. When that ran out at the end of the school year in June, I reluctantly started driving passengers again.
I drove from June to the end of October driving passengers and doing occasional deliveries. With masks and the windows down, I felt safe and never got Covid. When the temperatures started to get cold in November, and the case numbers started to explode in Illinois and across the nation, I shifted to delivery only in November.
The best move I made during this time, is I also signed up for Door Dash. Deliveries do not pay as much as driving passengers, so I thought it would be a good idea to sign up for a second delivery service.
Why Uber sucks – Uber Eats account deactivated
Every once in awhile, I would get these messages from Uber Eats saying I did not finish a delivery. It warned me that this could be fraud. Every delivery that I picked up, I dropped off where the customer requested.
I called Uber support to question this, and they said it was an automated message when a restaurant reported that I did not start the request after picking up the food. They told me not to worry. Sometimes, I would forget to start the trip after picking up the food at the restaurant and would do it when I got in the car.
These warnings popped up from time-to-time, but I did not worry about them because I was confident that I delivered every item as requested by the customer in the app.
Not the first time I was accused of fraud
One time while on a Quest bonus (a bonus given after a predetermined amount of rides during a specific time period), I dropped a young lady off at her home. Two minutes later I got another request, and it was for the same address where I just dropped off the girl.
It was for the same person. She apparently came home to take out the dog or something and immediately requested another ride. Since I was the closest driver, I got her second request too. Later that day, I got a warning from Uber accusing me of fraud and said I would be deactivated if I continued perpetuating fraud.
Giving the same rider two rides tripped a red flag because they thought I was cheating on the bonus Quest by perhaps having someone I know request two back-to-back drive. I found it very offensive the way they treated me.
You are no longer eligible for deliveries
I was doing deliveries a couple of weeks ago, and for some reason I was getting no requests even though I was in a busy neighborhood at a busy time. I checked my account messages, and there was a message saying “you are no longer eligible for deliveries.” There was a link with more information.
The link went to a page which listed all the possible reasons for suspension of delivery capabilities from sexual misconduct to fraud. My ability to drive passengers is still active, so I know that it would not be for any reports that I am a danger to society.
After 15 minutes, I found a link that allowed me to appeal the decision. I got a text message the next day stating they could not restore my account with a link. The link was the same link to all the reasons one could be deactivated.
Why Uber Sucks
Three strikes and you are out Uber. Uber sucks, and I want to tell the world why. It is ridiculous that they can stop your ability to earn without even telling you the reason for your suspension. That is the down side to the gig economy. There are so many people needing this income that Uber does not care about its people.
I have driven with Lyft and Door Dash, and they are much more transparent with drivers when there is a problem. I may not earn as much with those two companies, but I feel they are much more human. They seem to respect their drivers more.
It is absolutely heartless for Uber to suspend a 4.96 star driver with a 98% satisfaction rate for driving deliveries during a Pandemic without any justification, cause, or chance to appeal. I was able to broadly appeal, but since I did not know the exact reason why I was suspended, I could not effectively defend myself.
Why Uber sucks is it is un-American
In America, we are innocent until proven guilty. Uber is un-American for the ability to turn off once ability to earn with no reason given and no chance to appeal. If you are reading this, everything bad you have heard about Uber treating their drivers is correct. Stop using Uber and Uber Eats and migrate to Lyft and Door Dash. I have always defended Uber from naysayers, but no longer.
Advice for drivers
My advice for drivers is to always make sure they are signed up for more than one rideshare service at any time. Since we are not employees, we do not have the safety of continued employment and can be terminated at the whim of the service. Through all these difficulties with Uber, I had Lyft and Door Dash to fall back on.
Wow, Uber really does suck. I always thought they were a shit company for customer service for a customer, but they sound 10x worse for drivers.
Their customer strategy is similar for both drivers and customers. They make it so inconvenient to get customer service or to lodge a complaint that they hope you just give up. Most do as it is usually not worth the hassle.
I had a similar experience with Uber after 4 years and sixteen thousand trips with a 4.9ishstar rating. Some kids from the University of Missouri apparently were really paranoid about being in the big city of Chicago and reported me for a snowflake interpretation of events with 6 passengers in the car. Of course my word was meaningless even though no one had ever accused me of inappropriate behavior before. No appeal, no nothin’. I’m sure that Uber is extra sensitive about their image after some of the incidents they have had over the years but that means that it’s easier for them to cut a driver loose than actually investigate accusations.Luckily I can easily live without Uber but no one should think of Uber in terms of job security.
Thanks for the comment and for reading. There should be an appeal process and some kind of transparency about the accusation. Your Uber history should account for something too. Someone who has four years of service, 4.9 rating, and 16,000 trips is a solid driver and most likely a solid person. One bad review should not have such consequences. Sorry this happened to you too.
There are always bad incidents with Uber from time to time. Sometimes the drivers take extra toll which is included in the fare.
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Now gas prices are soaring over $4 a gallon I would think Uber should be considerate and bump our fees up.
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Hello, and sorry for the late response to your comment. Thank you for reading and commenting. Although the gas prices do currently suck, we cannot complain with the current state of affairs in rideshare. I am making twice as much money doing Lyft right now, and I am sure Uber drivers are even banking more. Even though I am able to drive UberX, I am boycotting them do to issues described in this post. I am loving hearing all of there pleas to get drivers back and signing up new ones. Maybe if they did not treat us like such crap pre-Pandemice they would be in a better position.
Uber sucks. They deactivated my account for no reason at all. Diamond driver 4,9 star. California drivers need to be United and stand against this satanic company. Heartless. Cruel and stupid. ..,we must appeal to be employees. And contractors
Sorry to hear that you have likewise been screwed over by this heartless and unscrupulous company. I hope you are doing well driving for Lyft or doing something else.
I noticed that customers are the heartless ones just 2 false complaints you can loose 9 points off your rate an they don’t care if you have dash cam proof I just received a lie about my driving an not having a mask I lost 9 points
That is frustrating when you get dinged for bs reasons by customers. Very frustrating. Thanks for commenting.
I can confirm that everything this man said in the article is true. They deactivated my account yesterday. Apparently I was speeding according to them or a passenger I don’t know. My rating is 4.9 I have done close to 300 rides tons of tips 5 stars it doesn’t matter they will deactivate with no chance to appeal. Their customer service is God awful. Luckily I drive lyft so it didn’t phase me. Also this deactivation occurred right at the end of me needing 1 more ride to finish an event imagine that lol.
Sorry to hear this Charles. Glad you are also signed up with Lyft. That is the key to gig driving. You have to sign up for multiple companies in case you get screwed by one of them. It seems it is always Uber doing the majority of the screwing. F#CK them.
Your interaction with Support and the problems you encountered are almost identical to mine! I’ve been driving for Uber for over 4 years, have a Platinum designation, over 4,000 trips and a 4.99 rating. I was informed that there was numerous complaints about “inappropriate” behavior” against me, and was threatened with permanent deactivation. HUH? I contacted Support and disputed it, only to be told they would investigate and get back to me with the result. That was the last I heard from them. Looks like Ill try and finish out the year with Uber and go back to driving for Lyft. I may not make as much, but they care A LOT more for their drivers.
Thank you for the comment. I am sorry to hear you have had similar experiences, but not surprised. Since I have written this post, I have driven with Uber a few times, but 98% of my rides have been with Lyft. I have made less money, but I am a happier driver.
I can affirm that everything this guy stated in this article is real. Yesterday, they have deactivated my account! I have carried out near 300 rides & most of the recommendations are 5 stars. I am not understanding why they have deactivated my account. Their customer service is awful.
I am sorry to hear this, but not surprised. I hope you have success getting reinstated or finding another gig. I drive Lyft a lot and have good success with it lately.
As a long time UBER driver, I am saddened to say as day driver In portland, there is zero business. I just sat for nearly 90 minutes in Beaverton with a single ride.
Sorry to hear it is so slow. I am sure it will pick up now that it is getting closer to summer.
Uber is a corrupt platform, totally corrupt, I had driven for Uber for five years and done more than 11,000 rides, I was a diamond driver almost 3 years ago, if I don’t go out 12 to 15 or more hours a day basically Uber demotes me down to other levels, that was not the problem, after I had caught Uber continually cheating me, not paying me for rides that I had completed, not providing information on such rides, not reimbursing me for tolls, not paying me the correct amount, and cheating me out of Tips given to me on the app, I complained and then last week I was deactivated for no reason, Uber even had the nerve to lie about it, saying it was an insurance issue yet I have perfect insurance, it is USAA, my policy and payments are all current, they were just lying, they are a bunch of lying corrupt thieves, five years ago when I started with Uber one could look up the rides and see the percentage the mileage the times and all the information they stop that along time ago and provide no such information, so I had to start keeping track myself, which one you were very busy as I always was it’s not at all easy and they continued to cheat me, Uber considers their driver expendable, they have no appreciation and they have no respect, and they exploit drivers due to the fact that we are independent contractors, Uber is despicable, and as it is engaging in borderline illegal practices, and criminal practices of cheating drivers out of their money that is due, it is obvious that Uber will be soon in the red , and then burn up, and I hope they burn out and go down in flames
I have driven with both Uber and Lyft for five years, and they both treat drivers pretty horribly on occasion. They are both great for making money when nothing goes wrong, but if there is a problem, it is a hassle to get decent customer service. I feel Lyft is the lesser of two evils and have decided to drive the majority of the time with them.