Chicago sues DoorDash and Grubhub for alleged shady business practices

City officials accuse the food-delivery apps of swiping cash from restaurants and their customers.

Brian Bennett Former Senior writer
Brian Bennett is a former senior writer for the home and outdoor section at CNET.
Brian Bennett
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The city of Chicago says Grubhub and DoorDash engage in sketchy business practices.


Chicago is ticked off at DoorDash and Grubhub. On Friday, the city filed lawsuits against both meal delivery services. Brought by the city's acting Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Commissioner Kenneth Meyer, the filings accuse the companies of deceptive and unfair business practices.

The alleged misconduct is specific to each outfit. In the case of Grubhub, the service allegedly spoofed restaurant websites and phone numbers either to charge "routing" fees or to siphon traffic from legit sites, according to a release from the city. 

DoorDash is called out for allegedly pocketing customer tips meant for restaurant delivery drivers. The company also imposed a misleading "Chicago fee" that was marketed as a donation to the city but actually went straight to DoorDash, according to the release. 

In response, a DoorDash representative told CNET the lawsuit is baseless. "It is a waste of taxpayer resources, and Chicagoans should be outraged," they said. "DoorDash has stood with the City of Chicago throughout the pandemic, waiving fees for restaurants [and providing] $500,000 in direct grants."

Last year, DoorDash settled a lawsuit with Washington, DC, over its tipping practices for $2.5 million.

Grubhub's response was equally combative. "We are deeply disappointed by Mayor Lightfoot's decision to file this baseless lawsuit," a company spokesperson said. "Every single allegation is categorically wrong and we will aggressively defend our business practices."