Before every startup and its entrepreneurial mother got into on-demand meal delivery, Grubhub was one of the first platforms to bring local restaurants into the online ordering fold. However, after years of serving up meals at diners’ homes, Grubhub just got served something else entirely: notice of impending legal action.
Crain’s reported that Grubhub is currently being sued over unwarranted charges made by an automatic text messaging systems employed after users place orders through the system. Victoria Flores, an ex-Grubhub user who filed the suit, alleges that the food delivery company sent her and others unsolicited text messages that charged to their accounts. Moreover, some of these messages are said to have contained advertising information from other companies, which could violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
“While the economic damages to each individual member may be small, their aggregate injuries are substantial,” the suit alleges.
Grubhub did not comment on the specific suit itself, but it did explain that all of its text messages clearly outline the proper method of canceling the communication by replying directly with a cancellation code. Whether this satisfies a court remains to be seen, but Grubhub is holding to the party line of commitment to the utmost excellence in customer service.
“The happiness of our diners is of the utmost importance to Grubhub, and we aim for all communications sent to our diners to be informative, helpful and engaging,” the company said in a statement to Crain’s.
The suit is seeking compensation of at least $500 paid directly to Grubhub users per each texting infraction, and it might not be out of the realm of possibility that Grubhub is forced to pay up at least some of that whenever the court convenes to hear the case. Flores’ law firm, Chicago-based Edelson, won a similar case against an energy company in 2015 that saw a $5 million windfall paid out to affected subscribers.
Except in the low-margin market of on-demand food delivery, that could be an exceptionally tough decision to stomach.