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Montreal restaurant files class action against ‘abusive’ delivery fees during pandemic

Click to play video 'Montreal restaurant files legal action against food delivery companies' Montreal restaurant files legal action against food delivery companies
WATCH: A Montreal restaurant is seeking to launch a class-action lawsuit against food delivery companies for commission fees that are considered abusive. Deli Boys is the lead plaintiff in the case that is targeting food apps like Uber Eats, Door Dash and Skip the Dishes. Global’s Felicia Parrillo reports – Jan 12, 2021

Deli Boyz has been in business for four years, and for most of that time, the Côte Saint-Luc restaurant has been using food delivery apps like Uber Eats.

But they’ve recently had to rely more heavily on those companies, due to COVID-19 restrictions, which owner Emmanuel Darmond said has been proving costly.

“They always use to take 30 per cent, but when we used to pay $200-300 dollars a week commission we didn’t mind, because it didn’t represent 50 or 60 per cent of our business,” said Darmond. “But today, it does.”

As a result of those high fees, Darmond is launching a class-action lawsuit against three food delivery companies for the alleged exorbitant and abusive commissions they are charging during the pandemic.

READ MORE: Montreal wants to see cap on fees charged by food delivery apps

Deli Boyz is the lead plaintiff in the case that is targeting food delivery companies that operate smartphone applications, including Uber Eats, DoorDash and SkipTheDishes.

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The restaurant says the commissions these companies demand are in excess of 15 per cent, which the applicant says are abusive during a pandemic because restaurants are limited to takeout as indoor dining is banned.

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It also notes that several other provinces, states and cities have already capped the maximum commissions.

READ MORE: Quebec business community bracing for extended coronavirus lockdown and curfew

“Our client’s view [Deli Boyz] is if he would have had the exact same restaurant in Toronto or Vancouver and had the exact same orders, for last week’s period for example, he would have been charged $350 for the exact same delivery services, but instead, he was charged double — $700 by Uber Eats,” said Montreal lawyer Joey Zukran.

The Quebec Superior Court filing — which needs to be authorized by a judge — seeks damages in the form of money paid to these companies in commissions above 15 per cent, since Jan. 8. It is also requesting a judge bar the defendants from charging commissions above 15 per cent of the total customer order.

Click to play video 'Montreal calls on Quebec to cap food delivery charges' Montreal calls on Quebec to cap food delivery charges
Montreal calls on Quebec to cap food delivery charges – Jan 11, 2021

On Monday, Montreal executive committee member, Luc Rabouin, told Global News the province should regulate the fees that food delivery companies can charge.

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Premier Francois Legault said he would look into it, but noted that it would be difficult to enforce such rules.

READ MORE: Ontario moves to cap delivery fees in COVID-19 hotspots where restaurants are takeout only

Darmond argues, if other provinces can do it, so can Quebec.

“Cap the fees at 50 per cent lower — 15 instead of 30 per cent — it would make a huge difference,” he said. “It’s almost if we will survive or not.”

Uber Eats, DoorDash and SkipTheDishes all declined to comment on the case.

-With files from the Canadian Press