August 27, 2021

Fake websites, unfair fees, and misleading tipping policies

The city of Chicago has sued food delivery services DoorDash and Grubhub for allegedly using deceptive and unfair tactics that hurt restaurants during the coronavirus pandemic. The two lawsuits accuse the services of a panoply of misconduct, including falsely advertising delivery services for restaurants without their consent, charging misleading fees to customers, and hiding the costs that they added to a meal.

“It is deeply concerning and unfortunate that these companies broke the law during these incredibly difficult times, using unfair and deceptive tactics to take advantage of restaurants and consumers who were struggling to stay afloat,” said Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who filed the complaints alongside Acting Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) Commissioner Kenneth Meyer, and corporation counsel Celia Meza.

The suits apparently stem from a collaboration between the BACP and the City of Chicago Law Department, and they assert claims based on the Chicago Municipal Code. But they echo incidents cited in other lawsuits and public controversies. Grubhub’s lawsuit, for instance, claims the company’s harshly criticized “Supper for Support” discount “was so deceptive that it was forced to issue corrective statements nationally.” Among many other issues, it also singles out Grubhub’s practice of publicizing phone numbers that direct callers to restaurants but quietly add their own fees, as well as making “imposter” versions of restaurant websites.

The complete article can be accessed here.