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Uber Reportedly Blocked Trans Drivers’ Accounts For Being “Fraudulent”

Uber Reportedly Blocked Trans Drivers’ Accounts For Being “Fraudulent”

Drivers say they were locked out of their accounts or permanently banned over current photos that didn’t match their IDs.

This piece initially ran on Advocate.com. Read the original here.

The rideshare company Uber isn’t living up to its pledge to be “a safer, more inclusive company” for its trans and non-binary drivers. 

Five transgender drivers have come forward claiming that despite promises made by Uber they could update their documents to reflect their gender identity, they were instead locked out of their accounts and permanently banned from the platform, according to an investigation by The Los Angeles Times. The reason cited by Uber was that the documents they were submitting were “fraudulent.”

Trans drivers shared that they had spent hours attempting to rectify the situation through Uber’s support staff without success, including attempting to have their new names displayed rather than their dead names, reports the paper.

As a result, the drivers have been pushed to other platforms including Lyft and Doordash, who’ve had policies for years that accommodate their trans and nonbinary drivers’ name changes. 

In response to these claims, Uber spokesperson Zahid Arab explained that matching profile photos or government IDs are just fraud prevention measures taken as part of the company’s safety protocols.

“On occasion, requests can be misrouted and result in a regrettable customer experience which we are working to address,” he told the Times. “Uber and our partners make every effort to remedy situations like this in a timely manner,” Arab said. “We continue to work on improving internal processes and working with our third party background check providers to help ensure the background check process runs as expected for transgender and nonbinary users.”

Arab also said the company is working to reactivate the accounts that the Times highlighted. “We’ve worked to train Uber staff to handle all requests with compassion, empathy, and respect. We regret the confusion and pain that is caused when we don’t meet that standard,” he said. 

It’s a sentiment that’s simply not good enough for some impacted drivers, including Autumn Jean, a Tampa, Fla. resident who initially signed up to work for Postmates only to find herself permanently deactivated when, in June, that company was dismantled as part of its acquisition by Uber.

“The thing that was so frustrating was seeing [Uber] gallivant on Twitter about all the great things they’re doing for trans people,” she shared. “Here I am, a trans person trying to make a living, telling you it’s actually impossible to sign up.”

Regardless of whether this situation was intentional or the result of a mistake, Jean said it “has the effect of being transphobic.”

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