Uber Eats in Australia can no longer charge restaurants for delivery mistakes that were out of their control, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.
The practice was found to be unfair by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Uber Eats will change the contracts it has with restaurants by the end of the year. The contracts currently allow Uber Eats to refund customers for delivery mistakes and then take that money from the restaurant, regardless of the mishap.
Although delivery companies increase the convenience of ordering from a restaurant, the fees charged by those companies can prove to be costly for the establishments themselves. Mistakes that are actually the fault of the restaurants will still be valid, and Uber Eats said that a restaurant can always dispute a charge.
Jodie Auster, general manager of Uber Eats in Australia and New Zealand, said the new rules are a good thing and that they “better reflect the way we operate in practice.” She did not say whether the rules will be adopted in other countries.
“We place a lot of value on establishing long-term relationships with our restaurant partners, and it’s important that we provide a great partner experience, which includes giving them clear information about what to expect from us in a range of circumstances,” Auster said.
The investigation by Australia’s watchdog organization began after a local news report delved into the issue, according to Rod Sims, the Australian regulator’s chairman.
“It is impossible to know how much this happened, and whether people just felt like they signed the contract and there was nothing [they] could do,” Sims said. He also looked at contracts from other delivery services, but said he didn’t find them to be as egregious.
One restaurant, called Fishbowl, which has 12 locations around Sydney, said it calls Uber Eats if there is a delivery-related problem, like when a driver goes to the wrong place. The restaurant’s Co-founder Nic Pestalozzi said this is to ensure that the restaurant gets paid.
“We don’t want to be liable for any costs that weren’t actually related to us,” he said. “I don’t think they should be the ones that should be able to just deduct money from a restaurant.”