Food delivery services Uber Eats and Deliveroo have been found not guilty of unfair practices by an investigation by the federal economy ministry.
The investigation by economic inspectors was based on complaints last summer, when about 60 restaurants launched the #SaveMyResto campaign, complaining that the two services were charging restaurants 30-35% on each order, at a time when the restaurants themselves were suffering from coronavirus measures.
They also claimed the two services were making advertising campaigns without reference to their customers.
“I don’t want these delivery services to weaken the hospitality sector, which is suffering greatly from the Covid-19 crisis,” said Ducarme at the time.
“I have asked the Economic Inspectorate to investigate any delivery platforms that do not comply with the rules. If it turns out that they are guilty of unfair practices or abuse of customers, they will of course be sanctioned.”
Now, without further announcement, the ministry has closed the investigation without finding any offence on the part of the two companies, De Tijd reveals today. No case has been submitted to the Brussels prosecutor’s office, the spokesperson for the current economy minister, Pierre-Yves Dermagne (PS), told the paper.
Restaurants that continue to offer a delivery service during lockdown continue to pay 30-35% commission to Deliveroo and Uber Eats, simply because delivery is their only way of making anything apart from pick-up, which offers a more limited market.
Nevertheless, the restaurant industry continues to insist the commissions are excessive, and though negotiated with restaurants individually, are effectively not open to discussion, given the gravity of the situation.
Uber Eats has yet to react to the news that the investigation is over. A spokesperson for Deliveroo, meanwhile, said the company had been confident of a positive outcome from the investigation.
“Restaurants are free to choose which of our services they subscribe to, with or without courier service,” the company said.
“In the last year, 650 new restaurants have entered into a partnership. Each contract is individually negotiated to ensure we provide restaurants with the services they need.”