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Driver Says He Was Banned From Lyft Over Bogus Report Of Being Asleep At The Wheel, And He Wasn't Allowed To Appeal

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A Lyft driver is looking for answers after he said he was banned from the rideshare service over a bogus complaint.

As CBS 2's Jermont Terry reported Monday night, rideshare driver advocates say Maurice Clark's fight pinpoints a larger problem when it comes to customer complaints, and could be part of a bigger trend for people driving rideshare to make ends meet.

Clark had been driving for Lyft for three years. He still hops in his sport-utility vehicle to get from point A to point B, but he's not paid to do it anymore now that Lyft has banned him.

"I emailed them right after they said, 'You're permanently deactivated,' and they said, 'There's nothing you can do,'" Clark said.

Lyft informed Clark that a passenger complained he fell asleep while driving in early August.

"I said, 'Hey, you know, when did I fall asleep?'" Clark said. "I was totally awake!"

Clark received an email from the rideshare company, letting him know it was his second complaint of sleeping behind the wheel – and thus, he can no longer work for Lyft.

"Her word against yours - you no longer have a job," Clark said.

Now, he is out of much-needed income.

"About $2,800 to $4,000 a month," Clark said.

What bothers Clark most is that he claims Lyft never gave him a chance to appeal the complaints.

"It happens all the time," said Lori Simmons of the Chicago Gig Alliance. "I speak to at least a few drivers every week who have been deactivated, and sometimes they don't even get a reason."

Simmons said drivers are not even allowed to know which passenger filed the complaint.

"What we're really wanting is a fair and due process for our deactivated drivers," she said.

Often, the drivers believe passengers contact Lyft to get a reduced fare.

"This is people's livelihood," Simmons said. "You know, you might get your ride off. In fact, customers are incentivized to lie - because every time they do say that, basically, they just get the ride for free."

Lyft tells CBS 2 drivers can "refute claims," but said that does not apply in cases such as Clark's. The company issued this statement:

"We take safety reports from riders and drivers extremely seriously and thoroughly investigate each reported incident to determine the appropriate course of action. Drivers have the ability to refute claims made against them, but in cases like this where the driver is found to have been in violation of our safety policies, those drivers are removed from the platform for the safety of the community."

Lyft insists it did a thorough investigation, but could not reveal the specifics about Clark – which is why drivers plan to rally this week for a voice.

"Yes, hear me out!" Clark said.

Terry asked Clark if he has any sleeping disorder such as sleep apnea. Clark insists he does not.

The rally is scheduled for Tuesday morning. Drivers will demand changes to the appeal process.

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