Small businesses that deal with Uber Eats have just scored a big win after Uber Eats agreed to change its “unfair contract terms”.
The current contract holds restaurants responsible for the delivery of orders, even if they have no control over deliveries once the food leaves its premises, according to the ACCC.
When problems occur, and Uber Eats refunds customers, it can claim back that money from the restaurant – even if the restaurant is not responsible for the problem.
“Following our investigation, Uber Eats has committed to changing its contract terms that we believe are unfair, because they make restaurants responsible and financially liable for elements outside of their control,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.
“We consider these terms to be unfair because they appear to cause a significant imbalance between restaurants and Uber Eats; the terms were not reasonably necessary to protect Uber Eats and could cause detriment to restaurants.”
Under the new contract, Uber Eats restaurants will be responsible only for matters within their control, such as incorrect or missing orders, according to the ACCC.
Also, restaurants will be able to dispute responsibility for any refunds and Uber Eats will reasonably consider these disputes.
Mr Sims said Australia’s competition watchdog would continue to monitor Uber Eats’ conduct.
“Ensuring small businesses aren’t subject to unfair contract terms by larger businesses is one of our top priorities,” he said.
“Business are warned that if they include unfair contract terms in their contracts, they will risk close scrutiny from the ACCC.”
Under the Australian Consumer Law, it’s not illegal for large businesses to include unfair contract terms when dealing with small business – although courts can declare such terms void.
“We have called for legislative changes so the ACCC can seek penalties and compensation for small businesses where large businesses impose unfair terms.” Mr Sims said.
“We welcome the government’s commitment in March this year to consult on options to strengthen unfair contract term protections for small business.”