Yelp Sued Over Their Food Delivery Service's Alleged Tip Theft

In Depth

The sun rises, the sun sets, Yelp is accused of doing something massively dickish and unethical. Let’s get to it, shall we?

Earlier this year, Yelp spent $134 million for the privilege of purchasing a food-delivery service called Eat24, whereby (as with similar services) you can tip on your credit card while paying for the food itself. If you haven’t heard of Eat24, you’re not alone; I honestly didn’t even know it existed until today (who the hell doesn’t use Grubhub or Seamless?). Apparently some people have been using it, though, because two California employees of SideCar, a company Eat24 outsources deliveries to, are now suing Yelp over the fact that apparently, those credit card tips never actually got to them. Via Fortune’s Jeff John Roberts, Eat24—and, by extension, Yelp—allegedly just straight-up heisted them.

Moreover, plaintiffs Steven Kay and Esteban Polonski claim this is deliberate, as Eat24 apparently engages in some shady practices. From the text of the lawsuit itself:

drivers do not actually receive the tips that Eat24 collects on their behalf…Eat24 also conceals the fact that a customer has tipped a driver through its website, as the tip total is not included on the delivery invoices that drivers may see when picking up food to deliver.

In other words, according to Kay and Polonski, Eat24 does everything possible to make those tips disappear. Eat24 hasn’t responded to the specific charge that they hide the tip totals from the companies and drivers to which they outsource, but Yelp is all over the denial train here. In a statement to Grubstreet’s Clint Rainey, Yelp placed the blame squarely at SideCar’s feet:

This case appears to be brought by drivers who contract with Sidecar to deliver food for orders made through Eat24. … For Sidecar-made deliveries, Eat24 sends all tips to Sidecar, who we understand then distributes those tips to Sidecar drivers.

Someone is stealing from these drivers, be it SideCar or Yelp, and given the fact that Eat24 hasn’t refuted the notion that they deliberately hide tip amounts from drivers, I’m inclined to assume it’s the latter. Plus there’s the fact that Yelp is a terrible, horrible place that caters largely to the capricious whims of terrible, horrible people.

Food review sites are bad.

Image via AP.

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