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Chicago Rideshare Drivers Say They're Being Deactivated Unfairly After Bad Reviews, Call For Hearings Before Deactivation

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Some rideshare drivers are fighting to get back behind the wheel – saying Uber and Lyft stripped them of their driving privileges after customers left a bad review.

They told CBS 2's Jermont Terry the high price they are paying – even if the complaints are false.

The rideshare drivers insist there is no way to refute if passengers pull out their phones and write bad reviews after a ride – and now they are hoping a few aldermen at City Hall will help with their cause.

Across Chicago, more and more people rely on rideshare apps to get them around town – and those drivers depend on the work.

"I love driving. I love to talk to the people – that's why. And it's good money to make it an easy way," said Naveen Ali.

But Ali can't pick up passengers for Lyft or Uber anymore.

Terry: "And you're going on two years you've been deactivated, and it's hurting your bottom line?"

Ali: "Yes. it's hurting, it's hurt a lot."

Back in 2019, Ali said a passenger became upset when Ali had to pick up a second passenger during a shared ride.

"She tried to switch off my phone, come in the middle, and she scratched me on the back – right here on the back – so I pushed back and I opened the door," Ali said, "and just told her, 'Go, I cannot drive you.'"

Ali said she filed a police report, but said Lyft took the passenger's word and deactivated her. And when Ali went over to Uber, she said she was banned there too because of the same complaint.

"It's not fair, because they should be listening to drivers too - because we work for them," Ali said.

That is why Lori Simmons with the Chicago Gig Alliance is pushing to for the city to get involved.

"The problem is there's no transparency, and there's no recourse for drivers who have had false accusation or situation like that," Simmons said.

The group wants Chicago to do like Seattle and New York City and hold deactivation hearings.

"The city absolutely has the ability to regulate these companies," Simmons said, "They've done it other places. They just have to be firm."

Uber and Lyft say they do offer appeals.

"I think their idea of an appeal process is just us writing back in an email and asking them to reconsider and them saying no, which is not an appeals process by any means," Simmons said.

For her part, Ali jus wants to go back to doing what she enjoyed.

"At least we need the fair chance to talk as a driver," she said.

The Gig Alliance is still finalizing a proposal for deactivation hearings. Terry is told several aldermen are on board and could present it to City Council committees by the end of the month.

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