The food service industry may be in dire straits, but that doesn’t stop some people from scamming small businesses into getting free food. According to a report in the LA TimesMore and more customers have filed credit card disputes over meal fees, falsely claiming that items were missing from their order or that they never arrived. Credit card companies tend to favor cardholders in these incidents and issue refunds that restaurants then have to pay for, or in cases where the delivery person is accused, someone could lose their job.

The most egregious story comes from H’s Spoon restaurant, whose owner Yoonjin Hwang says she will have to close at the end of the month because she lost so much money to this type of scam. In one case, a customer placed an order for more than $ 700 through Tock and then alleged fraud. Hwang sent photo evidence of order preparation and customer confirmation but still lost her reputation with Visa. She started taking photos of every interaction, but told Tock, „Despite the submission of receipts, the issuing card company is often on the consumer’s side, even in cases that may be fraudulent.”

It’s unclear how many of these orders are scammers (e.g., someone else’s credit card) and how many customers pretend they didn’t get what they ordered to try and get free shipping. Credit card fraud is ascending In general, and due to the pandemic, more orders are taking place with no direct contact between the restaurant and the customer. Third-party PS such as DoorDash and Postmates expand these possibilities and offer other opportunities for fraud, even with PS that take security precautions to ensure the honesty of both the customer and the driver. For example, with DoorDash, restaurants can press a button to confirm that an order has been picked up. With other PS, however, a restaurant can only confirm whether an order has been placed.

Third-party PS drivers have also complained that customers falsely claiming that an order was not delivered can have repercussions like their accounts being suspended. With contactless delivery now available, drivers on Reddit are sharing stories of times they’ve been asked to leave meals at the door only to report them undeliverable. „I followed the delivery instructions when I got there, left it on her doorstep, took a picture of the food, then knocked on her door and left,” wrote one worker two weeks ago. „Well, I get a message in the door telling me that their food wasn’t delivered, but I definitely did and now my account is about to be deactivated.”

There also appears to be little recourse to delivery staff accused of failing to deliver an order. In a video recently divided by the Daily DotA Doordash driver accuses a CVS agent of marking her food as not delivered when it was. „I get in trouble and have to pay for it and lose my job,” says the driver in the clip, allegedly providing proof that the delivery took place. According to Doordash, drivers are responsible for submitting photos. „When a customer reports that you haven’t delivered an order, we’ll review the delivery details to make sure the above actions have been taken.” says Doordash. „In cases where you haven’t followed these steps, your account may be disabled.” Because of the Doordash drivers’ CVS confrontation lost her job.

For what it’s worth, customers have experienced the opposite: a driver claimed an order was delivered when it wasn’t, or lack of food from an order. In these cases, however, the delivery usually grants a refund or a credit, which – as with credit cards – is made on the assumption that the “customer is always right”. That ethos has always made it possible Disenfranchisement of food workersand now automatically on the customer’s side can cost people their livelihoods and their businesses.

The pandemic has led to this one in four households Food insecurity last year, which could mean some of these examples of fraud are committed out of desperation rather than greed. When this is the case, it becomes clear how tragic it is when a basic human need like staying food becomes a central concern (especially in grocery stores) Dump thousands of pounds of food and the refusal to allow activists to give it to those in need). Everyone in this situation – restaurant owners, workers, customers – competes against each other. „It put a lot of mental strain on me because I’ve become more skeptical about large contracts,” said Hwang LA Times. „It pains me to believe that I would become so suspicious of our customers and that’s not how I want to do business.”

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