A proposed class action alleges DoorDash has charged consumers hidden delivery fees throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 28-page lawsuit says that although the online food delivery platform aggressively claims to charge flat, low-cost delivery fees, DoorDash has instead hidden a portion of its delivery fees in a line item called “fees and estimated tax.” According to the suit, hidden within a customer’s “fees and estimated tax” is an additional “service fee” that amounts to nothing more than a “delivery fee in disguise.”
“This ‘Service Fee’—which is itself obscured from users and bundled with a sales tax—amounts to an additional 15% of the food order amount,” the lawsuit says.
As the case tells it, this additional charge is not a service fee at all given the only “service” DoorDash provides is food delivery. Rather, the “service fee” is by definition an additional hidden delivery fee the company obscures intentionally, the lawsuit alleges.
The complaint also alleges DoorDash secretly marks up food prices for delivery orders by 20 to 25 percent without informing customers. Per the case, this mark-up is essentially another hidden delivery fee.
“In other words, the identical food costs more when ordered through the DoorDash app than it does when ordered in person at a restaurant or through the restaurant’s own website or app,” the filing says. “Because DoorDash’s only function is to provide food delivery services, this price differential is another hidden delivery fee.”
As a result of the foregoing, DoorDash’s promise of a flat, low-cost delivery fee is “patently false,” the lawsuit alleges, claiming customers have been deceived into making online food purchases they otherwise would not have made. At no point does DoorDash inform customers that the use of its delivery service will cause an increase in food prices, or that a service fee is assessed exclusively on delivery customers and is therefore, by definition, a delivery charge, the case argues.
The lawsuit looks to represent DoorDash customers nationwide who, within the applicable statute of limitations preceding the date the lawsuit was filed through the date of class certification, ordered food delivery through the app or website and were assessed higher delivery charges than represented.
The lawsuit, initially filed on November 5, 2021 in San Francisco County Court, was removed to California’s Northern District Court on January 13, 2022.
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