B24-0699-Fair Meals Delivery Act of 2021 (DC Council)
Today, the DC Council is holding a public hearing on B24-0699, the Fair Meals Delivery Act of 2021. This legislation aims at third-party delivery services such as Door Dash and Uber Eats. Fair Meals Delivery Act would require restaurants and third-party meal delivery platforms to enter into an express agreement that would authorize these platforms to collect meal orders and deliver meals to customers as well as prohibit a third-party meal delivery platform from advertising or marketing contact information, image, or likeness of a restaurant on its platform.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the desire of many to social distance has led to the increased popularity and necessity of meal delivery services, especially for those who do not have restaurants around them that will deliver. This has created a new business model for restaurants, businesses, and consumers across the nation to navigate. This legislation establishes guiding principles for restaurants and delivery platforms to follow.
Restrictions on third-party meal delivery platforms.
B24-0699 would require restaurants and third-party meal delivery platforms to enter into an agreement authorizing third-party meal delivery platforms to collect meal orders and deliver meals prepared by the restaurants to customers. However, the agreement should not include language that requires a restaurant to protect a third-party meal delivery platform, contractor for the delivery platform (the delivery driver), or any registered agent of the delivery service from any damages or harm that may occur after the restaurant’s product leaves the restaurant. In addition, third-party meal delivery platforms are prohibited from advertising telephone numbers, websites, or application software that features a restaurant without an agreement.
Customer disclosure requirements
The legislation would also provide more information for consumers about their delivery. Once a delivery service provides the final price, but before the sale is complete, the platform would be required to clearly disclose to customers any commission, fee, or other payments they will be charged.
There are a number of enforcement mechanisms included in B24-0699. Any violation of this law would be civil in nature. The City can fine violators under the Civil Infractions Act anywhere in the range of $250 to $1,000 for each violation. Also, the Attorney General for the District of Columbia has the authority to file a civil action in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, or other courts with jurisdiction, for damages up to $5,000 or the amount of the actual damages, whichever is greater. In addition to initial damages, fees would include attorney fees, costs, and other relief deemed appropriate for the violation.
Today was the public hearing for the Fair Meals Delivery Act in the Committee on Business and Economic Development. The next step is for the bill to be heard in the Committee of the Whole for potential changes. If there are any questions or concerns about this bill, please reach out to the bill's sponsor Councilmember McDuffie or its co-sponsor Councilmember Allen.