Randy Responds

Ordering In? You Should See Protection Soon From Crazy Food Delivery Bills

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The current Safer at Home order may have you ordering in from your favorite restaurants more than usual. But have you ever received a surprise on your bill - your order cost you way more than you expected? That’s what some consumers say is happening. But in a few weeks, you should see some added protection. 

Restaurant food delivered right to our doorstep - it’s a service many of us rely on these days.

“We order regularly and often from delivery services,” said Ruth Lopez.

The Food and Drug Administration issued emergency use authorization for the Moderna coronavirus vaccine on Friday night.

Postmates is Lopez’s go-to app. She was thrilled when the app started delivering from her favorite Mexican restaurant. 

“We were very excited because this is the best mexican restaurant in our neighborhood,” said Lopez. 

But Lopez’s excitement quickly faded when she saw the bill. She ordered three items, totalling $28. But Postmates charged her - for food and tax only - $43. The math didn’t add up. 

“It’s a tremendous amount of money,” said Lopez.

So what happened? Postmates told the I-Team the restaurant Lopez ordered from isn’t a partner restaurant. That means the restaurant never agreed to allow Postmates to deliver its food, but Postmates does anyway. And it’s using an outdated menu. The restaurant’s prices have since gone up, which is why it charged Lopez more. 

The I-Team first reported on this issue a few months ago. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez had introduced a bill to require restaurant delivery apps to get a restaurant’s permission to deliver their food. 

“What we thought was a lot simpler is to ensure that the restaurant is able to say, ‘Yes we have a partnership with these companies,’ or, ‘No we don’t and we don’t want our food delivered,’ said Assemblywoman Gonzalez.

The bill was signed into law and takes effect Jan. 1. While Postmates still has a couple of weeks to change its practices, Gonzalez isn’t surprised they’re pushing up against the deadline.

“These companies have been known for pushing the limits of the law, pushing the words of the law,” said Gonzalez. “So they’ll do anything to continue to increase their bottom line.”

As for Lopez, her message to Postmates: “It’s made me delete your app.” 

The I-Team asked Postmates if it’ll be complying with the law come Jan. 1. It didn’t respond. Gonzalez is hopeful they’ll comply, but if they don’t, she says she’ll explore ways to enforce the law. 

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