Sydney woman wins battle after Uber banned her over first name


A woman was banned from using any Uber services for her unusual first name.

Swastika Chandra explained her first name meant ‘good luck’ in Sanskrit and where she grew up in Fiji it was a common name, but Uber suddenly banned her account in October last year due to it being a “potentially offensive” word.

“I was putting in an order for food one afternoon and went to the payment stage and this pop-up came up saying, ‘Your first name is in violation and you need to change your name on the app,’” she told A Current Affair.

She told the program she understood her name’s association with Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party, but that she was proud of it and wouldn’t change it for anyone.

“They don’t know that the Hindus used it for thousands of years before Hitler used it in the wrong way,” she said.

ACA reported that it took five months for Uber to grant an exemption to Ms Chandra to rejoin the platform, and only after The Hindu Council intervened and Ms Chandra was supported by the NSW Attorney-General.

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies also backed Ms Chandra.

In a statement to news.com.au, Uber said it had apologised to Ms Chandra and acknowledged its review of the matter took longer than it wanted.

“Uber is committed to facilitating a safe and welcoming environment for all users,” the company said.

“For that reason, Uber has a global policy of restricting access to users whose names entered into the Uber app contain potentially offensive words.

“We understand that there are different cultural nuances to names, and therefore our teams address incidents like this on a case-by-case basis to ensure we evaluate each account fairly.

“In this case, after reviewing Ms Chandra’s request, we reinstated her access to the app.

“We have apologised to Ms Chandra for the inconvenience this caused her, and we appreciate her patience as we reviewed the matter, which took longer than we hoped it would.”

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