One benefit of online delivery services is the removal of that awkward moment when you ask everyone hanging out in your apartment if they have extra cash for a tip. The gratuity is taken care of before the food even arrives. But when you hand a pizza delivery guy five dollars you know it’s going in his pocket. That’s not necessarily the case with online ordering.
That’s the issue in a new class action lawsuit from drivers who work for Yelp’s Eat24 delivery service. They claim the tips don’t find their way to drivers – at all. The suit, filed in San Francisco federal court on Friday, is seeking up to $5 million in damages from Eat24 for drivers who work the service across the country.
For their part, Yelp claims the problem stems from Sidecar – a company Eat24 contracts with to supply drivers for the service. “This case appears to be brought by drivers who contract with Sidecar to deliver food for orders made through Eat24. To be clear, neither Yelp nor Eat24 hire or contract with any delivery drivers. For Sidecar-made deliveries, Eat24 sends all tips to Sidecar, who we understand then distributes those tips to Sidecar drivers,” Yelp said in a statement. “We believe this lawsuit has no merit.”
Yelp’s Eat24 isn’t the only delivery service to deal with this issue. As Fortune points out, Seamless had to make changes to its system after the New York state’s attorney general found that the percentage the delivery service took from bills also came from the tips, meaning restaurants could avoid giving delivery workers the full amount that customers had entered on the site.
Like a lot of things in life, you just have to trust that your money goes where it should. That or we could get rid of tipping all together and pay delivery drivers a living wage. But that’s for another article.
Update 9/18/15: According to Yelp the suit against them has been resolved after the plantiffs voluntarily dropped it.