A hot potato: Many diners have embraced the use of delivery services like DoorDash and Grubhub to overcome everything from busy schedules to global pandemics. While these companies provide a much-desired service to the public, the Chicago Bureau of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) has filed charges against delivery services for violations such as misleading advertising, call routing, and charging deceptive fees to customers. customers.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, along with the Chicago BACP and Consumer Counsel offices, presented two demands against DoorDash and Grubhub on Friday. The lawsuits cite multiple misleading advertising and billing practices that result in actual and potential reputational damage to unaffiliated restaurants, as well as misleading billing practices designed to hide various fees and charges from both restaurants and consumers.
While the lawsuit was recently filed, the claims in each lawsuit are not new territory for either party; DoorDash and Grubhub have made headlines in the past due to their known business practices. Grubhub regularly generates a unique phone number for each restaurant advertised as part of the service. When this number is used to place an order, the service includes a telephone order fee based on an average percentage of orders, call duration, etc. In 2019, DoorDash won unwanted attention as multiple sources revealed that the company’s tipping policy was actually designed to benefit the company more than the actual delivery driver. DoorDash later changed the policy following a backlash from its customer base.
Takeout delivery services have expanded the availability of many restaurant offerings to consumers who were previously unable to reach them due to challenges ranging from consumer health to logistics to seating availability. These services provide users with a web-based means to navigate menus, find contact information, and order menu items that are not normally available through delivery. Deliveries are picked up and delivered by the service drivers instead of the restaurant in question in exchange for the cost of the meal, the fees charged, the tips included, etc.
Like many other cities, the 2020 pandemic shutdown forced about half of 7,500 Chicago restaurants close their doors temporarily or, in some cases, permanently. These closures coincide with a nationwide surge in orders for meal delivery services, rising from more than 250 million in 2019 to more than 800 million in 2020. Recent lawsuits filed against DoorDash other Grubhub We echo long-standing issues associated with these services and are intended to promote fair advertising, honest business practices, and more transparent charges and fees for consumers.