Uber Eats Owes Chicago $10 Million

The third-party food delivery app reached a settlement with the city for deceptive business practices.

The city of Chicago and the leading third-party food delivery apps have long-standing beef, and we're not talking about the Italian variety. In 2021, the city sued some of these services for exceeding the 15% service fee cap that Chicago enacted during the pandemic. Now the city has announced that it has come to a $10 million settlement with Uber Eats and Postmates over those unsavory business practices, which also include adding restaurants to its service without the businesses' consent.

Uber had already paid back more than $3.3 million to restaurants in September 2021 (the amount it had overcharged them in commissions), but it'll pay another $2.5 million back to those restaurants that were charged over the emergency fee cap. It will also pay $500,000 to those restaurants that were listed on the food delivery app without their consent, plus an additional $2.5 million in commission waivers to those businesses. On top of everything else, Uber will be covering the city's $1.5 million in legal fees.

Eater Chicago has noted that Chicago's 2021 lawsuits against DoorDash and Grubhub have not yet concluded, but that those two services "have publicly denied wrongdoing and have vowed to fight the lawsuits." Per Eater, those cases are a long way from seeing any sort of resolution.

The use of third-party food delivery apps has caused further issues for customers this year in the form of an increasingly common scam. Block Club Chicago reports that fake accounts representing real restaurants have shown up on DoorDash, posting false menus; when customers place orders, the scammer simply pockets the money. The delivery driver then arrives at the actual restaurant to pick up an order that the business never received, causing serious issues for everyone involved (except, of course, the scammer). DoorDash only responded to takedown requests once owners complained publicly on social media.

It's interesting to see that Uber is participating in a voluntary settlement, considering the other apps have committed to fighting the city of Chicago. Whether or not Uber's business practices will improve following this hefty payback is yet to be seen. But it's hard to imagine anything but tension between third-party delivery apps and restaurant owners for years to come.