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Consumer Disputes over Online Food Ordering Platforms Have Skyrocketed and Government Urged Traders to Improve

Source:Department of Consumer Protection

According to the statistics released by the Department of Consumer Protection of the Executive Yuan (hereinafter referred to as the DCP), FoodPanda had 564 consumer disputes from January to April in 2020. The DCP has been working with Taiwan Food and Drug Administration and the Directorate General of Highway, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to urge FoodPanda to improve the situation. Also, the DCP reminds consumers to pay attention to their own rights and interests.

During the severe pneumonia with novel pathogens (COVID-19), people are more inclined to order meals by using the online food ordering Apps. The data shows that from January to April 2020, Uber Eats had 80 consumer disputes while FoodPanda had 564 cases.

The consumer disputes can be categorized as follows:

1. Uber Eats

(1) “Eats Pass” promotion program (Consumers need to cancel the subscription; otherwise, it will be automatically renewed the next month): 38 cases

(2) Order cancelations (delivery disputes): 14 cases

(3) Ordering issues (a discrepancy of food quantity or ordering items): 9 cases

(4) Poor service attitude of customer service staff: 8 cases

(5) Other issues: 11 cases

2. FoodPanda

(1) Order cancellations (Delivery drivers unilaterally cancelled the orders without a refund as customers could not be reached at the destination): 368 cases

(2) Ordering issues (a discrepancy of food quantity or ordering items): 108 cases

(3) Poor service attitude of customer service staff: 41 cases

(4) Food ingredient issues: 11 cases

(5) Price dispute: 8 cases

(6) Other issues: 28 cases.

In addition, according to the DCP, FoodPanda’s absence rate from the mediation sessions held by local governments are comparatively high. FoodPanda replied that it was due to the strikes by delivery workers during the Lunar New Year holiday and a rising number of orders in the period. The DCP and related authorities have required these two firms to comply with the "mandatory and prohibitory provisions in the standard contract for distance sales" and the "Guidelines of Food Hygiene Self-management for Online Food Ordering Platform Operators" promulgated by Taiwan Food and Drug Administration. Moreover, both firms are also urged to actively participate in the mediation meetings held by local governments so as to properly handle consumer disputes and protect consumer rights.

The DCP also urges consumers to pay attention to the following precautions before ordering meals:

1. Check if the trader is on the name list of “corporations that were absent from mediation sessions without due reasons”, publicized by the municipal governments and county (city) governments.

2. Immediately preserve the evidence by keeping the contact information of both parties in the event of a consumer dispute.