New DoorDash tipping policy could bring big consequences for customers

DoorDash has warned its customers that they may have to wait extra time for their food to be delivered if they don’t give a tip.

Users of the online food ordering app who enter zero as their tip amount will now receive a pop-up warning telling them that drivers, named Dashers, can choose whether or not they want to accept the order.

Drivers will more likely prioritise customers who tip when ordering their food, DoorDash said in a statement.

The company said that if a tip is left for their drivers, they will be more motivated to take the order and deliver better customer experiences.

DoorDash did admit, however, that this pilot may also mean that customer’s requests could be declined or food could sit for longer at restaurants or shops, with hot food slowly turning cold.

This could lead to customers waiting longer, creating a “lower quality experience” for the customer.

DoorDash will issue warnings to customers who do not tip (DoorDash)
DoorDash will issue warnings to customers who do not tip (DoorDash)

Despite this, DoorDash will be testing out the tip pilot on their app and will see if it makes the food service experience better or worse.

DoorDash added in their statement that they still have the option not to tip and are still committed to the commitment to quality and the delivery of each and every order.

The pre-tipping service is being randomly tested on customers across the US and Canada, and the app will analyse the results and engage with customers before they roll anything out extensively.

A DoorDash spokesperson told The Independent that the “reminder screen is something that we’re currently testing to help create the best possible experience for all members of our community.”

Currently, tips can be given on the app post-delivery, or the customer may opt for giving cash, but pre-tipping is supposed to eradicate the driver’s anticipation if they are to receive a tip or not.

Four years ago, DoorDash came under fire after a story by The New York Times about a day in the life of a DoorDash delivery driver revealed a policy that meant tips effectively were not being passed over to drivers.

The drivers would agree to a set amount of money from delivery but saw none of the tips, which reportedly went into supplementing the set amount instead of adding it to what they already earned.

DoorDash was critisied in 2019 for withholding tips from drivers (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
DoorDash was critisied in 2019 for withholding tips from drivers (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The app had to pay $2.5m in a lawsuit in 2019 surrounding the tips and ditched the policy after an onslaught of social media criticism was directed towards the app and the company’s CEO, Tony Xu.

"We’re changing our model -- the new model will ensure that Dashers’ earnings will increase by the exact amount a customer tips on every order," Mr Xu tweeted after the incident in 2019.

"We thought we were doing the right thing by making Dashers whole when a customer left no tip," Mr Xu also wrote.

"What we missed was that some customers who did tip would feel like their tip didn’t matter."

More recently, DoorDash, along with Amazon and Walmart, have been subject to criticism by the UN, who claimed in a report released on 31 October that they are “trapping” their workers in poverty.

The UN alleged that DoorDash’s independent contractors were not guaranteed a basic level of pay, sometimes only earning less than the federal minimum wage of around $7 an hour and were only paid for “active time” on delivery.

While DoorDash did not reply to the UN’s claims, they did make a statement to The Independent, stating that their US drivers earn on average “over $25 per hour on delivery” and the majority of them have other jobs alongside working for DoorDash.

“These allegations fundamentally misunderstand how DoorDash provides economic opportunity and financial security for millions of people who want to earn money when, how, and where they choose... Respect and dignity for all Dashers are core to our mission of empowering local economies, and we will be engaging with the special rapporteur in the coming weeks to correct these blatant misconceptions about dashing,” they said.