When a consumer makes a purchase from DoorDash, their delivery driver is reportedly guaranteed a minimum payment. Although consumers are able to leave tips for their drivers, the workers allegedly do not receive these tips on top of their minimum payment. Instead, DoorDash allegedly uses these tips to subsidize their own payments to drivers. Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins discusses this with Scott Hardy from Top Class Actions.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Farron Cousins:                  In recent years, food delivery services have popped up all over this country with a lot of areas having multiple different companies really to choose from. Different apps, different services, whatever you want, you can get your food delivered to you. DoorDash has become a hugely popular online app and delivery service, but unfortunately according to a new class action lawsuit, the tips you’re leaving for those food delivery drivers aren’t actually making it to the driver.

Joining me now to talk about this is Scott Hardy with Top Class Actions. Scott, another disappointing story, I got to say. DoorDash is one I use all the time, one of the only ones we have in my area. And it’s very disappointing to learn from this lawsuit that allegedly the tips aren’t going to those drivers. That, that that’s very troubling for those of us who use this app.

Scott Hardy:                          Yeah, that’s the thing is this is a wage and hour class action 101. If you’re going to have people tip your employees, give the employees the tips. It’s shocking to me that a, you know, $1 billion startup like DoorDash is sitting there going, what? Oh, we have to actually give the tips to our employees. That’s crazy. And the way DoorDash is making this happen is that if this delivery driver is taking your food to your door and DoorDash said, hey, we’re going to give you $7 for this delivery, then you, you know, you go ahead and take the food, you offer them a $4 tip, then that $4 just goes into the $7 that DoorDash pays that person.

They don’t give that tip to them at all according to this class action, which is terrible. You know, we’re always wanting to take care of the drivers. We want to take care of people that take care of us. And if that money isn’t hitting them, then that’s a major problem. And so this class action is actually representing consumers, people who bought the food thought their money was going into those, thought their money was going to the drivers but wasn’t. And then there is another class action that’s representing the drivers that are saying, hey, where are our tips?

Farron Cousins:                  Right, I mean this is a classic case of stolen wages from these workers. These tips are, are left by the consumers with the assumption that 100% of that is going to the driver. That’s why we do it. I’m sure if most people realize like, oh, the driver’s not getting this tip. Why, why would I leave one? I mean, I absolutely would not be giving a tip if I didn’t think it was going to this person. Instead, it’s just going basically to the corporate profits so they don’t have to pay out of pocket for their driver. We’re subsidizing the work of these employees who should be entitled to what we’re trying to give them.

Scott Hardy:                          Exactly. You know, good work design, deserves a good tip and we’re trained to do that here in the US. We see that option to tip. We’re going to take care of these people because they’re taking time out of their day to take care of us. Let’s take care of them. And so for DoorDash to have this policy in place where they’re just taking that tip money to subsidize what they’re paying their drivers. So we’re helping fund the startup for them, not, you know, and, and in a very kind of cloak and dagger-ish way because they’re hiding it.

That’s just really disappointing. And, you know, I’ve, I’m hoping that DoorDash will do the right thing and come out and say, we’re sorry. You know, we know people love our service. We know people love the flexibility of using DoorDash. We’re sorry, drivers, here’s those millions of dollars that we took in and didn’t pay you. And customers don’t worry. Now your tips are actually going to the drivers. Hopefully they’ll do that. Will they? We’ll see.

Farron Cousins:                  Right. I mean as you mentioned, this is a pretty clear, you know, wage and hour 101. I, I think the, the drivers, at least in this particular case, they’ve got a very, very strong case. And until then, until we get any kind of resolution on this, folks, the best piece of advice right now is when ever possible, tip in cash. Whether it’s DoorDash or any of these other services, whether you’re at a restaurant, if you can tip in cash to make sure that it always goes into that person’s pocket, do so when ever humanly possible.

That is the only way to be absolutely certain that that tip money goes to the server or the driver instead of back to this faceless mega corporation. For more information about this particular issue, follow the link in the description of this video. Head on over to Top Class Actions and while you’re there, make sure you sign up for their weekly newsletter. Scott Hardy with Top Class Actions. Always a pleasure talking to you.

Scott Hardy:                          Great talking to you too, Farron. Thank you.

Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer magazine and a contributing writer at DeSmogBlog.com. He is the co-host / guest host for Ring of Fire Radio. His writings have appeared on Alternet, Truthout, and The Huffington Post. Farron received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of West Florida in 2005 and became a member of American MENSA in 2009. Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced