Politico Morning Tech: FTC’s Slaughter on Trump EO

September 18, 2020 Media

FIRST IN MT: DELIVERY APPS DEFYING THE LAW — DoorDash, UberEats, GrubHub and Postmates are following in Amazon’s footsteps, flouting local sales tax and commission cap laws, buying up rivals and imposing unfair contract terms on their restaurant “partners,” according to a report out today by the American Economic Liberties Project. “They are brazenly flouting the law,” Maureen Tkacik, the report’s author and a senior fellow with the group, told MT.

Among the findings: DoorDash, UberEats and Postmates aren’t collecting sales taxes on their fees, and, in the case of DoorDash, collect and pocket sales taxes in states that don’t charge it. During the pandemic, state and local legislators in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New Jersey and New York City have passed laws capping delivery app commissions. The services are largely ignoring those rules, Tkacik found.

Solutions: The FTC or state attorneys general should investigate the apps for engaging in unfair or deceptive practices, such as creating fake websites and phone numbers for restaurants that give consumers the illusion that restaurants are willing partners, the report suggested. It also proposes prohibiting delivery apps from imposing “no price competition clauses” — which forbid restaurants from discounting prices for customers who eat in or pick up their own take-out — and barring further consolidation in the sector.