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Uber gets slapped with lawsuit over missing food delivery tips

Uber says it's the restaurants' responsibility to make sure delivery personnel get those extra $$$.
Mariella Moon, @mariella_moon
November 6, 2016
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A courier in New York who used to deliver food for Uber has filed a lawsuit against the company over unpaid tips, according to Buzzfeed News. In the lawsuit, he said that tips from customers never made it to him and other delivery personnel for UberRush and UberEats. Both services deliver food to your doorstep from nearby restaurants, but they still have their differences. Rush mainly operates through GrubHub's delivery service whose rates typically include online gratuity, none of which (the plaintiff said) made it to couriers' pockets.

Eats, on the other hand, doesn't allow in-app tips at all as one of its purposes is to eliminate delivery tipping. It charges a $3 "booking fee," but the plaintiff argues that according to the law, a company must "adequately notify the customer" that this fee they're charging is not a gratuity in easily understood language written in "no smaller than 12-point font." Its checkout page does have a disclaimer that says "Tips are not included in the cost of your order. Tips are neither expected nor required." The plaintiff believes that's not enough, so the booking fees should go to the couriers.

As for where the missing online gratuities and booking fees go, well, they typically seem to get lost somewhere along the way. Uber told BuzzFeed that it's the restaurants' responsibility to make sure tips reach delivery personnel and that it even redesigned the Uber-GrubHub dashboard to make the task easier. However, couriers say they get ignored when they take it up with the restaurants.

Online delivery services typically go through so many channels that losing tips somewhere down the chain isn't that uncommon. When four Prime Now drivers in LA sued Amazon, their complaint included not getting the tips customers would pay via credit card. This also isn't Uber's first rodeo with tip-related lawsuits: in September this year, it agreed to pay riders $384,000 for pocketing around half of the 20 percent tip its app automatically charges passengers.

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