DoorDash, the renowned food delivery platform, finds itself entangled in a lawsuit seeking class action status, as it allegedly charged iPhone users more than their Android counterparts for identical deliveries. The court documents (PDF, via 9to5Mac) submitted for the case included compelling screenshots that vividly illustrate how iPhone users are burdened with an additional fee labeled as “expanded range.” DoorDash attempted to rationalize this fee on their website, stating that it assists in maintaining customers’ access to merchants located farther from their vicinity. However, the lawsuit claims that this fee is disproportionately imposed on iPhone users compared to Android users, presumably due to studies indicating that iPhone users have higher earning capacity.
Moreover, the lawsuit further accuses DoorDash of surreptitiously adding the extended range fee to the bills of DashPass subscribers, thereby utilizing it as a means to offset lost revenues resulting from discounted fees. DashPass, the company’s subscription service priced at $10 per month, offers free delivery for orders exceeding $12. Remarkably, the court documents provide insightful screenshots revealing that the extended range fee is exclusively applied to the account associated with DashPass, while orders with identical details but placed without a DashPass subscription remain unburdened by this additional charge.
The lawsuit goes on to assert that “DoorDash uses this deceptive practice to trick consumers into believing Dashers receive the ‘delivery-related’ fees when, in reality, each and every ‘delivery fee’ is retained in total by DoorDash.” Moreover, additional screenshots depict orders made through iPhones being subject to higher base delivery fees compared to those placed via Android devices.
Ross Hecox, alongside his minor children, filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court of Maryland, seeking monetary damages of no less than a staggering $1 billion on behalf of all consumers who have fallen victim to DoorDash’s alleged illegal pricing scheme over the past four years.
In response to the allegations, a DoorDash spokesperson firmly denied the claims, emphasizing that the amended complaint lacks foundation and merit. The spokesperson conveyed in a statement to Insider:
“The claims put forward in the amended complaint are baseless and simply without merit. We ensure fees are disclosed throughout the customer experience, including on each restaurant store page and before checkout. Building this trust is essential, and it’s why the majority of delivery orders on our platform are placed by return customers. We will continue to strive to make our platform work even better for customers, and will vigorously fight these allegations.”
This latest legal challenge is not the first instance in which DoorDash’s business practices have been called into question. In 2020, the company, along with other prominent delivery services such as GrubHub, Postmates, and Uber Eats, faced lawsuits for exploiting their dominant position in the restaurant delivery market by imposing fees on users, even during the challenging circumstances posed by the pandemic. Chicago filed a lawsuit against DoorDash, alleging that it falsely advertised delivery services from restaurants that had not consented to be listed on its platform. Additionally, the attorney general for the District of Columbia pursued legal action, accusing DoorDash of utilizing tips to supplement drivers’ base pay instead of providing them with additional compensation. DoorDash ultimately agreed to pay a settlement of $2.5 million to resolve the lawsuit with Washington, DC.
As the legal battle unfolds, the outcome of this latest lawsuit will undoubtedly have significant implications for DoorDash, shedding light on the integrity and transparency of its pricing practices.