GrubHub Inc., DoorDash Inc., Postmates Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc.’s Eats platform were hit with a proposed class action Monday in New York federal court alleging diners across the U.S. are being hurt by the monopolistic behavior of the companies behind the nation’s top food delivery apps.
Three New York food delivery customers’ suit claims the delivery app titans impose “no price competition” clauses on restaurants, forcing them to offer food items for the same price to both delivery and dine-in customers.
The customers say the clauses act as an “unlawful price restraint” and a “devil’s choice” for restaurants.
“In exchange for permission to participate in defendants’ meal delivery monopolies, restaurants must charge supra-competitive prices to consumers who do not buy their meals through the delivery apps, ultimately driving those consumers to defendants’ platforms,” the customers allege.
The customers say the “no price competition” clauses also hurt consumers, who can’t get a discount for ordering directly from the restaurant.
“Plaintiffs bring this claim for relief on behalf of all Americans who would still to enjoy a nice dinner out with their family before defendants make that impossible,” the customers said.
The lawsuit seeks certification of two nationwide classes: One class would comprise anyone who bought a meal since April 2016 directly from a restaurant that contracted with any of the delivery apps, while the other would include anyone who bought a dine-in meal since April 2016 from a restaurant that used a delivery app service.
“But for defendants’ anticompetitive actions, direct and dine-in consumers would have been offered lower menu prices on their direct and dine-in purchases,” the customers argued.
The suit brings claims of monopolization, conspiracy to monopolize and price fixing under the Sherman Act. It seeks treble damages as well as costs and attorney fees.
DoorDash, Postmates, Uber and counsel for the customers did not respond Monday to requests for comment. GrubHub declined to comment.