A group of Derby takeaways are threatening to boycott food ordering service Just Eat after falling victim to what they claim is a fraudulent refund scam.
The takeaways claim that some customers are fraudulently claiming refunds from food orders that have been successfully fulfilled by the restaurants, resulting in the takeaways losing hundreds of pounds.
Usman Farooq, 22, from Delizia in London Road, Derby, is campaigning against Just Eat’s refund policy and is planning a protest.
He claims that the automatic refunds for customers are losing his business, and many other small businesses in Derby, many hundreds of pounds a month. Just Eat says it has measure in place to combat fraudulent activity.
He said: “What’s happening is customers place an order and they receive the delivery of the food, and then they select ‘missing item’ and because of the loophole, they get a refund of the whole meal that we’ve sent.
“If we don’t get this problem sorted, we’re going to protest and turn our machines off because it’s not worth us losing out on so much money.
“If there was a problem with the food, or a mistake, no problem and we’ll give them a refund, but we’ve sent out the food on time and they still get a refund.”
Also the chairman of the Derby Takeaway Union, Mr Farooq represents a union of around 80 Derby takeaways that are vowing to boycott the delivery service as a result of the problem.
He claims they are being ‘driven out of business’ by the ‘scam’ refund process on the food delivery service.
As a result his takeaway, and the dozens of others that have joined the union, will be ‘turning off’ their Just Eat delivery service on Monday, December 6, to protest against the problem.
He added: “There seems to be a common misconception that you’re a business owner so you’re rolling in money.
“What customers don’t realise is you’re a business owner who is massively overdrawn and haven’t paid any of your bills for months and that’s probably the reality of it for most of us.
“You wouldn’t walk out of a restaurant without paying for your meal, or the supermarket without paying for your shopping.
“But whilst you may think you’re just ‘gaming the system’ and getting a freebie meal courtesy of a multi-million pound business what you’re actually doing is crippling small, independent local businesses, often the very same ones who have supported our communities during the most challenging 18 months.
“It very much feels like we’re being driven out of business when we’ve done everything we can to keep the business sustainable and support the community as long as we can.”
When Derbyshire Live contacted Just Eat about this issue with their refunds, they explained that any refunds requested by the customer can be disputed by the restaurant.
Having recently changed their system, a spokeswoman for the company said that they would never want a takeaway or restaurant to suffer from this process, and will happily look into any refunds the restaurant disputes.
Whilst refunds are processed automatically to the customer, a restaurant will only be charged if the problem is within their control.
They added that the company has ‘robust measures’ in place to prevent any possible fraudulent activity, and has the ability to block non-genuine orders from being placed.
Just Eat is also reportedly blocking customers who have suspicious refund rates to prevent this problem from affecting takeaways such as Delizia.
They added that Mr Farooq was yet to open any disputes of his refunds, which he claims he has been unable to do.
A spokesperson for Just Eat said: “Just Eat is only successful if our restaurant partners are successful and we have a track record of helping restaurants prosper.
“The recent measures we’ve put in place are in line with industry standards and are to ensure an even fairer refunds process for all, such as increasing the time for restaurants to raise any disputes.
“Restaurant partners are always refunded in full when we find any fraudulent activity taking place.
“We’re keen to maintain an open dialogue with the restaurants on our platform and continue to review our policies and processes in this space to support both customers and restaurants alike.”