How this Uber driver’s $180,000 investment turned into a nightmare
Marshall News Messenger (TX)
Talk about an uphill battle.
Uber Black is the rideshare company's most luxurious tier offering. Riders who select the service are escorted around town by top-rated drivers with commercial driving licenses and premium vehicles with leather seats. It also comes with a premium rate, meaning higher average trip prices and higher driver tip percentages.
According to MarketWatch, this was the upgrade that Massachusetts resident Miguel Abreu hoped to take advantage of when he invested $80,000 for a premium vehicle and another $10,000 in acquiring his commercial licensing fees. He also purchased another car for $90,000 for a second driver. So you can imagine the driver's dismay when Uber (UBER) - Get Free Report unceremoniously kicked him off of the app for suspected fraud.
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Uber driver using the app.Shutterstock
It all began innocently enough—Uber asked Abreu to check in at an airport where his location was listed. But when the photo's metadata told Uber that he was on an island (unreachable by car) the company closed his account.
After seven years of driving for Uber, Abreu tried to contact the company to reverse the decision, which was clearly made by mistake. He tried visiting Uber's offices in Saugus, Mass., but with no luck. He was reportedly told that his appeal had been rejected, despite not having sent an appeal at all. After multiple visits to the company's office, he was told that he could do nothing to reverse the deactivation. After MarketWatch asked Uber for a comment, Abreu's account was reinstated within two days.
Now, Abreu is back in (Uber) Black. The debacle forced him to sell his second vehicle, so he's looking to purchase another and rehire a second driver. The premium driver told MarketWatch that he supports other drivers calling on states like Massachusetts to better protect gig economy workers from these kinds of deactivations moving forward.