Chicago-area rideshare drivers tell NBC 5 Investigations their livelihoods are at risk because of passengers making bogus accusations.
Sammia Jallaq said she has picked up more than 4,500 riders during her three years working for Uber. But she said she was recently left in tears after receiving a message from Uber that someone had hurled a complaint.
“Some jokester thought it’d be cool, ‘hey, let me say that my driver was drunk’,” Jallaq said. “They’re definitely false accusations.”
Uber deactivated Jallaq for 24 hours while it investigated. But Jallaq said she missed out on earning more than $200 during that time.
“This is my only job. This is how I make my income. All because a passenger wanted a free trip that probably cost them $6.” Jallaq said.
Uber said it resolved the issue. According to the company, it talks to both the rider and driver during investigations. And the company said it has processes in place to identity rider fraud.
Lyft driver Cornell Wiley faced a similar complaint after he said someone falsely accused him of intoxicated driving last August.
“I haven’t drank in years, so it was really alarming,” Wiley said.
Wiley said Lyft deactivated his driver account for about a month. He said he missed out on earning more than one thousand dollars.
“They didn’t reimburse me in any way, didn’t give me any type of bonuses where I could even earn that type of money back,” Wiley said.
Lyft said it reviewed the allegations and communicated with the parties involved and reactivated Wiley as quickly as possible.
A group called Chicago Rideshare Advocates said it found a flyer on a local college campus that lists ways passengers can complain for a free ride. NBC 5 Investigates also obtained a copy of the flyer.
Additionally, a Chicago attorney who specializes in rideshare issues said his office hears about false rider complaints on a weekly basis.
“If somebody is making a passenger uncomfortable, they need to be held accountable for that, said attorney Bryant Greening. “But false accusations have no place in rideshare and we need to make sure people are acting appropriately and fairly to everyone involved.”
Greening is urging rideshare drivers to install dash cameras.
“It’s the best evidence of what happened in the vehicle—the footage does not lie,” Greening said.
Jallaq said she’s hoping all sides can get together to make positive changes.
“It’s the passenger’s word over the driver’s word and just like that, I’m shut off,” Jallaq said. “I don’t want to put Uber down. I don’t want to put the passengers down. I just want to find more ways to keep us more safe.”
Chicago Rideshare Advocates is pushing for city guidelines to make the investigation process more transparent.
However, a city spokesperson told NBC 5 that’s an issue between the drivers and their company.