Customers Say Postmates Has Been Underestimating Delivery Costs

Founder & CEO at Postmates Bastian Lehmann during TechCrunch Disrupt London 2015.

John Phillips / Getty Images

Lots of people seem to be having the same problem with the on-demand delivery service Postmates.

After placing an order, the company quotes an estimate for what it will cost. But after the goods are delivered, people say they end up getting charged way more than they originally agreed to:

People mostly associate Postmates, which is valued at half a billion dollars, with restaurant takeout, but the company has a lot of partnerships, including 7-Eleven and Walgreens, that allow customers to get pretty much anything delivered. While the convenience is a bonus people are willing to pay for, the frustration over being charged more than you expected to pay is a major turn-off:

Postmates acknowledged the problem to BuzzFeed News, saying it's caused by out-of-date prices for the thousands of restaurants its delivery team picks up from. “We show the price estimate, based on the menu that's in our system,” wrote Postmates spokesperson April Conyers in an email, “but there may be some discrepancy.”

In some cases, when there's more at play than changing menu prices, Postmates ends up giving a refund to customers — for example, when Postmates failed to inform customers that a restaurant would be charging a special fee because of the app:

Postmates offers delivery from many restaurants, some of which — unlike the partner vendors that Postmates works closely with — don’t even realize they’re on the platform at all. This can cause problems with food quality and supply, as well as kitchen timing.

Restaurants that don't want to be available for Postmates delivery can request to be permanently removed, Postmates said; others, like San Francisco's popular Blue Barn, charge a fee. “Last year we delivered from 100,000 merchants,” said Conyers. “You can imagine, things come up.”

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