It can happen completely out of nowhere: You log into Spark to deliver for the day and find a shocking notice: “Your Spark driver account has been deactivated.”
Deactivated = fired! You can’t log in, you can’t get order requests, and you can’t earn. You’ve lost your gig! Can you get it back?
Sometimes Spark won’t even give you a reason for the deactivation. Other times, they’ll send you a text message with a vague notice about violating the TOS.
There’s good news and bad news if you’ve been deactivated: It’s possible to get reactivated, but your chances of success may be low.
Read on to learn why Spark drivers get deactivated and how you can appeal the decision and get reactivated.
- How to tell if you are deactivated
- Top reasons for deactivation
- How to appeal: Steps to get reactivated
- What are your chances, and how long does it take?
- The arbitration process
Deactivation notices: How to tell that your account is deactivated
There are two main ways to discover that you were deactivated: A text message from Spark and an in-app notification.
Here’s the in-app notification letting a Spark driver know that they were deactivated:
And here’s an example of a text message Spark sent to a driver about their deactivation.
The in-app message tells you to call support, and the text messages will link you to a FAQ.
Both the FAQ and telephone support will tell you to email a support email address to get more info about your deactivation and to appeal.
So what’s next for you? More on how to appeal below.
Why Spark drivers get deactivated: Top reasons
Most deactivations are triggered by customer complaints, complaints from store staff, or administrative issues like expired documents.
Delivery complaints — Delivering to the wrong address, missing too many deliveries, too many reports of missing items, accepting multiple orders at the same time, etc. All can lead to deactivation if your account has too many similar reports.
Store complaints — Complaints from store staff about your behavior, such as inaccurately indicating your arrival, delivery, or return in the app.
Major customer complaints — Customers can complain about inappropriate behavior like rudeness, arguing, misbehaving on customer property, etc.
Failed the identify verification test — To verify your identify, you may need to scan your license and take a selfie. You can be deactivated if the software does not think that your photo matches your identification. More about the selfie test below.
Failed the background check — Spark occasionally re-runs your background check. You can be deactivated if they find new issues on your record that disqualify you from shopping.
Using bots/software — You can be deactivated for using a bot, app, or other automated processes to get offers or take advantage of the system.
Expired documents — If you let your driver’s license or insurance information get out of date, you may be deactivated. Fortunately, you have a good chance of being reactivated if you contact support and update your documents.
It’s not your metrics (usually) — Unlike other gig apps, Spark deactivations are NOT typically triggered by your ratings. Spark does not list any minimum rating standards, and most deactivations are due to specific violations reported by a store or customers. A low acceptance rate won’t lead to deactivation.
No reason given for your deactivation? That’s common
Spark doesn’t always offer a reason for deactivation. Many drivers open the app only to find that they can’t log in, but they don’t get any more information from a text message or email.
And even if you ask support for more info, you might get a response that doesn’t clarify anything: “For privacy reasons we do not have have any information as to why your account was deactivated.”
Try your best to get more details from support. Eventually, you will have to start the reactivation process even if you never get a reason.
Identify verification: The selfie test
Spark may ask you to verify your identity to prevent you from sharing your shopper account with an unauthorized user.
After you consent to a biometric and license scan, the app will prompt you to scan your driver’s license and take photos of yourself.
Software—from a vendor called Persona Identities Inc.—compares your pictures with your identification to determine if you are the account holder or not.
But it’s an imperfect system and you can get deactivated even if you are the account holder.
The selfie test is a new addition to Spark, so it’s not yet clear how to prevent errors.
Deactivated due to identity verification? There is hope
Many shoppers were improperly deactivated after Spark created the identity verification process. Because so many shoppers were deactivated at the same time, the reactivation process has become even slower than normal.
If you were deactivated after the identity verification process, your first step is to email or call support. Next, Spark may send extra verification steps to re-verify your ID and your photo.
Reactivation isn’t guaranteed, but shoppers who were wrongfully deactivated due to identity verification are starting to report that Spark is fixing the error.
Here is a story from a shopper who was successfully reactivated:
“I received a verification notification. I scanned my ID and everything was fine. 30 minutes later, I was deactivated. I emailed support, emailed that spark notices email, called them, and waited.
Today, they call me back and they tell me that they’re going to send me an SMS, and to verify everything that way. I have verified everything the same as I did on Monday, everything worked! And I am reactivated!”
More help for Spark drivers
- Want to deliver for Spark? See driver pay & requirements
- No orders on Spark? What you can do
- How Spark shoppers are cashing in on shop & deliver orders
- A guide to bonuses and incentives on Spark
How to appeal: Steps to get reactivated
It is possible to be reactivated. Spark has an appeals process that may allow you to get your account back.
The appeals process on Spark
- Contact support to ask for the reason why you were deactivated
- Begin the appeal by contacting [email protected]. Provide any details that you think are helpful
- Wait for a response
- Contact tier 2 support for updates if you don’t hear back
- Continue to follow up with support via email or phone
- Wait for a decision
You can begin your appeal even if you don’t know why you were deactivated, but it’s a good idea to try to get some details first.
Once you get more details, you might be able to remember details about the situation or defend yourself with pictures or screenshots.
There aren’t any secrets to the process. You have to begin the appeals process, consistently message support and hope for the best. You might get a response in days, or it could take weeks.
Spark reactivation success stories
Here’s a story from a Spark driver on Reddit who was reactivated. They say that they followed the appeals process, kept in contact with support, and got reactivated.
Here’s another reactivation story where a driver was deactivated for 6 days. They were never sure why they got deactivated, but they contacted support several times and ultimately got reactivated.
In this story, the driver was deactivated with no notice and no reason given. They sent several emails to support requesting a pre-arbitration phone call, and eventually Spark reactivated their account without ever scheduling pre-arbitration.
What are your chances, and how long will it take?
It’s hard to say what your chances of reactivation are, or how long the process will take.
Some success stories exist, but many drivers share that their appeal fails, and they never get their account back.
Your best chances are if your deactivation is due to expired documents or an inactive account. You can get back online within a few days if you contact support and update your documents.
But if your deactivation was due to TOS violations, your chances may be low. Expect the process to take a least two weeks, and be ready for a frustrating and disappointing process.
How to contact Tier 2 support
You can call phone support at (855) 743-0457, but the basic level of support may not be helpful, so try to get to Tier 2 support.
Reach tier 2 by using option ‘2’ on the phone menu to get tier 2 support. Tier 2 may be able to give you more details and better help.
Can arbitration help you get your account back?
The Spark driver terms of service has an arbitration clause that states that issues between drivers and Spark will be resolved via the arbitration process.
Deactivations are a conflict between you and Spark that fall under the arbitration clause. The arbitration clause means that you can’t sue Spark in court.
Going into arbitration with Spark about your deactivation is an uphill battle, costs money, and has an uncertain outcome. As a result, not many gig workers ever go to arbitration, but it is an option that you can take.
However, some Spark drivers have reported being reactivated after contacting the arbitration department. Their issue never actually reached arbitration, but Spark decided to reactivate their account after they signaled that they were serious about going to arbitration.
Overview of the arbitration process
- Send an official notice to Walmart/Spark requesting a pre-arbitration phone conference to discuss the situation
- If you can’t come to an agreement, the arbitration process begins
- Pay arbitration costs: Typically around $200
- Meet with an arbiter, who will decide the outcome of the situation
Tthe reality is that actually reaching the arbitration stage is a long process. It can take months or even years to actually meet with an arbiter.
What typically happens is that Walmart will try to agree on a solution before you even reach the pre-arbitration phone conference stage.
There are very few instances shared online of Spark drivers—or any gig driver for any gig app—actually reaching arbitration.
If it’s a matter of justice for you, the process may be worth it. But if it’s only a practical matter for you—getting your gig back—then arbitration may not be worth the time and money.
Finding another gig is usually the faster, more profitable choice.
Always have a backup gig!
The unfortunate reality is that many deactivated Spark drivers will never be reactivated.
And even if you do get reactivated, it can take weeks or months. You need to be able to earn money in the mean time.
Stability is never guaranteed in the gig economy, so it’s always a good idea to be active on many different gig apps.
Sign up for these gigs as a backup plan