DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber under fire for “junk fees”

In this week’s roundup with senior RSG contributor Paula Lemar, we’ll dive into DoorDash’s new and expanding grocery services, the problem with “junk fees” used by some platforms, and a redesigned Uber app that is more compatible with iPhones than ever before. 

How Uber has stepped up in Russia’s war on Ukraine: Drivers stay in dangerous areas following missile strikes to provide free transport for refugees, medics and essential workers, figures show (Daily Mail)

Summary: The number of Uber drivers working in an area of Ukraine does not change after there has been a missile strike, the head of the ride-hailing service in the country has revealed. 

You might expect workers to flee dangerous areas as soon as alarms are raised, but according to Kateryna Netymenko, that is not the case.

Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, she said: ‘Whenever there is an air alarm, the Metro turns into a a shelter, and all public transport stops as it is too risky to carry passengers. People have no other means to move around, so drivers stay online.’…

My Take: These drivers are either very brave or desperate. I can’t imagine driving around in a war-torn area where missile strikes were. However, I do also understand the desire to help out your fellow man. 

This situation is nothing compared to what drivers will do in the states, though there are several drivers who will stick around hurricane and blizzard areas to help those who are stranded. This seems much riskier. 

Kudos to the drivers willing to do this for people who would otherwise be stranded! 

Uber Freight declares ‘electric trucks are finally here’ with its first EV pilot program (Electrek)

Summary: Uber Freight is teaming up with California-based WattEV, an electric trucking and charging infrastructure company, to launch the company’s first zero-emission electric truck pilot.

“Electric trucks are finally here,” Uber Freight head of sustainability Illina Frankiv declared after announcing the collaboration.

Uber’s (the rideshare company) commercial trucking division, Uber Freights, revealed the strategic partnership Tuesday as part of a joint effort to advance zero-emission freight transportation….

My Take: According to Uber, electric trucks are here, evolving their Uber Freight line of business. But is it really here? Is it really ready? It will only be on select routes and only in Southern California for now. Eventually, it wants to go nationwide, but the article doesn’t really outline a timeline for this. 

So, drivers, don’t lose heart yet. They’ll likely still need drivers for their Freight division for a while.

Check out How to Become an Uber Freight Driver for more information on being a driver.

Uber’s redesigned app puts all its services in one place (Engadget)

Summary: Uber has given its app a major redesign for the first time in a long while, and the new version reflects the massively expanded range of services in recent years. The updated Android and iOS apps center around a new home screen that puts ridesharing and Uber Eats deliveries in one place, with fewer steps needed to book trips or order food. There’s also a dedicated tab for all the services available in your city, so you won’t have to wonder which options are available.

The revamp promises more personalization as well. Tap the usual “where to?” button and you’ll now see both saved locations as well as recommendations for destinations and ride types based on your habits. If you normally reserve rides instead of booking on the spot, you may see other scheduled options. An activity hub shows all your past and future Uber uses….

My Take: Uber has done a redesign of its app. Not the first time, but it’s definitely been a while since we’ve had this kind of overhaul. 

Unfortunately, I’m an Android user, so I don’t have the insight into the changes that an iPhone user would have. According to the article, with these updates, iPhone users with iOS 16 “can now see live ride progress on their phone’s lock screen.” 


Here’s a sneak peek at the updates and what you can expect to see on your iPhone. It puts all of Uber’s services in one place so users know what the app is capable of at a glance. 

If you have an iPhone, let us know what you think of these changes. 

Democrats press Grubhub, DoorDash and Uber on their use of ‘junk fees’ (Washington Post)

Summary: Democratic lawmakers are calling on Uber, Grubhub and DoorDash to cough up more information about their purported use of so-called “junk fees” — hidden or deceptive charges that critics say unfairly raise prices for consumers.

The push could shed light on how pervasive those tactics are in the tech sector. It comes as the Biden administration is cracking down on “junk fees” more broadly.

On Friday, a group of Democratic senators pressed the three online delivery services about “concerning reports” they are engaging in “misleading and harmful” pricing practices, according to letters shared exclusively with The Technology 202.

They cited instances where the firms allegedly misled consumers about where their tips go, concealed lower prices offered outside of their platforms and mislabeled or hid extra fees….

My Take: Pretty sure passengers and drivers have been complaining about hidden or misleading fees for years. 

Drivers didn’t like them because it was more money that was being taken from their earnings without explanation. 

And obviously passengers don’t like them because they don’t like being charged for something that isn’t being explained. Yeah, a lot of passengers probably just look at the upfront cost and call it good enough, but there are plenty that would look at the breakdown and wonder what the extra fees are and why they are being charged for extra stuff they didn’t agree to.

If you’re going to charge me for something, let me know what it is. Be upfront about it. No more of this hiding fees and clumping random fees together and hoping for the best. 

DoorDash Partners with ALDI To Expand On-Demand Grocery Delivery (DoorDash News

Summary: DoorDash, the local commerce platform, and ALDI, the grocery price leader for six years running*, today announced a new partnership to bring on-demand grocery delivery to nearly all ALDI locations across 38 states. With the addition of ALDI, one of America’s fastest-growing retailers, more than 98% of DoorDash’s monthly consumers in the U.S. have access to a non-restaurant store on DoorDash.** 

“By partnering with DoorDash, we can conveniently bring our award-winning, fresh and affordable groceries to even more of our customers’ doors with the click of a button,” said Scott Patton, Vice President of National Buying at ALDI. “Whether shopping for a weekly grocery haul or in need of a few extra ingredients for tonight’s dinner, our customers now have another way to shop ALDI for all their grocery needs.”

Through this partnership, consumers can conveniently shop for all of their groceries including fresh produce, meat, seafood, dairy, bread, household essentials, and even the highly sought-after ALDI Finds, all at the low prices they count on from ALDI. Grocery orders can be placed on-demand from local ALDI stores via the DoorDash marketplace app or website. As consumers face rising prices on groceries and home essentials, DoorDash continues its commitment to delivering an unparalleled experience focused on selection and value….

My Take: It was just announced in a recent roundup that DoorDash is breaking into the grocery game. 

I mean, if you’re going to break into the grocery market, then you’d better start creating some solid partnerships. What better way to start than with ALDI? They are known for having low prices, which appeals to a large market. It might even bring more people to shop at ALDI that have never tried it before if they can shop the store from their DoorDash app. 

I’ve always been curious about ALDI, but I don’t have one nearby, so I’ve never given it a shot before. Perhaps with this partnership, there might be one that’s close enough for delivery services? 

What do you think of DoorDash getting into groceries now? Will you do your grocery shopping through your DoorDash app? 

-Paula @ RSG