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Meal delivery services sued over restaurant prices amid pandemic


(Reuters) Grubhub, DoorDash, Postmates and Uber Eats were sued on Monday for allegedly exploiting their dominance in restaurant meal deliveries to impose fees that consumers ultimately bear through higher menu prices, including during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a proposed class action filed in Manhattan federal court, three consumers said the defendants violated U.S. antitrust law by requiring that restaurants charge delivery customers and dine-in customers the same price, while imposing "exorbitant" fees of 10% to 40% of revenue to process delivery orders.

The consumers, all from New York, said this sticks restaurants with a "devil's choice" of charging everyone higher prices as a condition of using the defendants' services.

They said this made it harder to keep tables full even before the pandemic wiped out most dining in restaurants, at least temporarily.

Grubhub Inc, whose businesses include Grubhub and Seamless, and Uber Technologies Inc, which owns Uber Eats, declined to comment.

DoorDash and Postmates did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Lawyers for the plaintiffs did not immediately respond to a similar request.

The lawsuit seeks triple damages, including for overcharges, since April 14, 2016, for dine-in and delivery customers in the United States at restaurants using the defendants' delivery apps.

The case is Davitashvili et al v Grubhub Inc et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 20-03000.

More insurance and risk management news on the coronavirus crisis here.