NATIONAL NEWS

DC sues Grubhub for allegedly employing deceptive practices

Mar 22, 2022, 11:57 AM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 3:17 pm
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 03: A Grubhub delivery person checks his phone during the coronavirus pandemic o...
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 03: A Grubhub delivery person checks his phone during the coronavirus pandemic on May 3, 2020 in New York City. COVID-19 has spread to most countries around the world, claiming over 247,000 lives with over 3.5 million infections reported. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
(Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

(CNN) — The attorney general of Washington, D.C. announced Monday he is suing Grubhub, alleging that the company harmed consumers during the pandemic by charging hidden fees and by misleading consumers about them using so-called “dark patterns” — along with a battery of other claims.

The food-delivery service, which grew in prominence over the pandemic as in-person dining shifted to takeout and delivery orders, said in response Monday that the company supports DC restaurants and has sought to work with Racine’s office over the past year to address its concerns.

“We are disappointed they have moved forward with this lawsuit because our practices have always complied with DC law,” a Grubhub spokesperson told CNN. “Many of the practices at issue have been discontinued. We will aggressively defend our business in court and look forward to continuing to serve DC restaurants and diners.”

In his Monday complaint filed in DC Superior Court, Attorney General Karl Racine alleged that Grubhub has violated the District’s consumer protection laws and is not transparent about the fees it charges users, saying the company does not display additional service fees in the way it prominently displays delivery fees.

“Until recently, Grubhub further obscured these additional fees by grouping them with taxes at checkout,” Racine’s office alleged in a statement. “This practice constitutes a ‘dark pattern’ — a design feature that deceives, coerces, or manipulates consumers into making choices that are either not what they intended, or not in their best interests.”

Racine’s suit claims Grubhub’s advertising is misleading by presenting free online orders and delivery as a universal feature, when only a subset of customers are actually eligible, according to the complaint.

The DC government also claims that Grubhub harmed restaurant owners with a pandemic-related promotion created for the purported benefit of local restaurants, but which instead allegedly “passed most of the costs of the discounts along to the already-struggling restaurants” while still requiring the restaurants to pay their normal, full commission on orders under the promotion.

And Grubhub allegedly took a number of misleading steps at various times to drive traffic to its platform, the complaint alleges, including by listing restaurants on its site without consent, creating non-official phone numbers for restaurants in a bid to generate more Grubhub orders and creating non-official websites for restaurants that routed visitors to Grubhub.

Racine’s complaint seeks a jury trial and restitution and civil penalties against the company.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

An illustration shows NASA's DART spacecraft and the Italian Space Agency's LICIACube prior to impa...
Ashley Strickland, CNN

What will be visible when DART spacecraft crashes into tiny asteroid

The NASA Double Asteroid Redirection Test aims to make history on Monday at 7:14 p.m. ET when it slams into Dimorphos, a tiny asteroid moon orbiting the larger asteroid Didymos.
2 days ago
NASA’s Artemis I rocket sits on launch pad 39-B at Kennedy Space Center as it is prepared for an ...
MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer

Approaching storm may delay launch try for NASA moon rocket

NASA's new moon rocket could face more launch delays, this time by tropical weather.
2 days ago
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey speaks at a Make America Great Again campaign rally on October 19, 2020...
BOB CHRISTIE, AP

Arizona judge: State can enforce near-total abortion ban

Arizona can enforce a near-total ban on abortions that has been blocked for nearly 50 years, a judge ruled Friday, meaning clinics across the state will have to stop providing the procedures to avoid the filing of criminal charges against doctors and other medical workers.
2 days ago
Courtesy 20th Century Studios
23 Sep 22...
Jason Carroll and Lisa Respers France, CNN

James Cameron says ‘Avatar 2’ is ‘more emotional’ than the original

James Cameron spoke to the differences of the new film.
2 days ago
WASHINGTON, DC - File photo: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).(Photo by Liz Lynch/Getty ...
LISA MASCARO AP Congressional Correspondent

McCarthy unveils House GOP’s midterm agenda in Pennsylvania

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy on Friday confronted President Joe Biden and the Democratic majority in Congress with a conservative midterm election agenda filled with Trump-like promises, working not only to win over voters but to hold together the uneasy coalition of his own party that has struggled to govern.
2 days ago
A sign is posted in front of a Tesla service center on April 20, 2022 in Fremont, California. Tesla...
Associated Press

Over 1M Teslas recalled because windows can pinch fingers

Tesla is recalling nearly 1.1 million vehicles in the U.S. because the windows can pinch a person's fingers when being rolled up.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
DC sues Grubhub for allegedly employing deceptive practices