TAKEAWAY app Just Eat has been slammed for hiking its “service charge” from 50p to as much as £1.99.
Critics point out many customers won’t even notice the change since it only appears right at the point of payment – despite a “total” without it displayed earlier.
For those increasingly paying by Apple Pay it is almost impossible to see, since the details are so small.
For those paying by card, it is underneath where they confirm card details and hit “place my order”.
It will boost takings for the UK’s biggest takeaway app by tens of millions extra.
CHANGES KEPT QUIET
Just Eat has made no official announcement and the changes are only described in a hard-to-find article in its help section.
Just Eat’s 50p service charge was introduced in January 2018 – on top of delivery fees, which vary but are typically between 99p and £3, though can be free.
Now, the service charge will be 5 per cent of the food order value with a minimum of 50p and a cap at £1.99.
Just Eat says the change in service charge will only impact orders where it’s own drivers take care of the delivery.
It offers this to restaurants without their own delivery team, commonly to branded restaurant groups.
Where a restaurant uses its own drivers – which is often the case with local Indian, Chinese or pizza restaurants – the fee remains 50p.
When making an order on Just Eat, only the cost of the food and delivery fee – added together as the “total” – are shown before hitting the Go To Checkout button.
Even the page after that – which confirms name, address and delivery time and asks whether customers want to pay by PayPal, Apple Pay or by card and cash – has no information on the full amount.
The service charge only appears at the next page.
JUST EAT ISN’T ONLY APP WITH SERVICE CHARGE
The other two biggest delivery apps Uber Eats and Deliveroo also have service charges, though newer rival FoodHub doesn’t.
They display the total cost of the order, with the service fee included, at the first total that customers see.
Deliveroo’s is also 5 per cent but capped at 99p.
Uber Eats service fee and capped at £2.99. Both have delivery fees too.
Consumer rights expert Martyn James, from complaints website Resolver, said: “Companies like Just Eat work because they make life convenient.
“But it’s not convenient for consumers to not be told about charge hikes that will cost them considerably more in the long run.
“People need to know what they’ll pay up front in order to make an informed choice about the best company to use.”
A Just Eat spokeswoman said: “To help us ensure we continue to deliver the best takeaway experience for all of our customers on behalf of our restaurant partners, we have moved from the current fixed service charge to a variable charge depending on the food order value.
“The change will only apply to orders from restaurants where Just Eat takes care of the delivery and simply reflects the continued investment in our delivery service.”