EDITORIAL: Delivery fee limit is typical New York

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PHOTOGRAPHER:

It must be something in the water that makes New York state governments unable to stop themselves.

It seems that every time a government body in New York gets the opportunity, it will either impose a tax or a regulation.

So leave it to Albany County to impose a new regulation on delivery fees for companies that provide the service for area restaurants.

Citing sometimes exorbitant fees, Albany County has capped delivery food apps like Grubhub and DoorDash from charging businesses more than 15% for their services. These fees are tacked on to the price of the order, driving up costs to customers. Some companies were reportedly charging businesses as much as 33%.

We understand the sentiment behind the regulation.

With the covid crisis keeping more people at home and more dependent on deliveries so they don’t have to leave their homes, some companies are meeting the demand, and making customers pay for it.

This situation has only been with us a few months, so this is a relatively new issue. Yet Albany County felt the need to swoop in with a new regulation without giving the market an opportunity to sort it out for itself.

As evidenced by comments from some businesses, the new expanded delivery arrangement is still a work in progress.

Some businesses say they’re willing to pay the fees, since it’s cheaper to use these delivery apps than to hire their own delivery people. The business they generate by attracting home-bound customers and being able to deliver their goods is worth the expense.

Other businesses are paying their own staffs for doing delivery, allowing them to bypass the commercial delivery systems.

Others have reduced the fees they’re being charged by these commercial companies, for instance, by opting out of being listed on smartphone apps.

Others with more computer savvy have found ways for their customers to place orders online or through their own business apps, again bypassing the major delivery companies and their fees.

Others have found it’s easier not to do delivery at all.

Customers, too, have options.

They can patronize restaurants that don’t use the commercial companies or that advertise lower-cost or free delivery.

Or they can order take-out and pick up their food themselves. Curbside pickup these days is contact-less and safe.

When the commercial apps realize that stores and their customers have come up with work-arounds to their high fees, they may have no choice but to lower their charges in order to stay in business.

That’s how this should be sorted out.

Not the typical New York way.

Categories: Editorial, Opinion

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