Customers cancelling food deliveries in the Philippines could be slapped with a hearty fine and jail time, if a new bill passes.
The Bill could be coming into play as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which saw demand for food delivery rise along with delivery drivers getting abused and suffering from frequent cancellations.
The Philippines went into lockdown in mid-March with restaurants and hospitality outlets closing their doors. This meant the only option for people who did not want to go to the supermarket, was to order food through delivery services. The country has started to emerge from its strictest measures in the past couple of days.
If the House Bill goes through, offenders will get six years in jail and face a ₱100,000 thousand (NZ$3,054 thousand) fine. To add to the charges, they must also reimburse the food and delivery service providers and pay the provider double the fee charged for the canceled transaction.
Demand has gone up for services during the lockdown and shoppers stuck at home in have been pranking delivery riders. They have been buying food and then cancelling the order before paying. This leaves the rider with a sour taste as they have to foot the bill.
AKO Bicol Party-list Representative Alfredo Garbin, told CNN he does not want delivery riders working for mobile apps to be at the mercy of "unscrupulous individuals" who "unreasonably, unceremoniously, and unconsciously cancel their orders".
The food delivery system in the Philippines runs with the driver picking up and paying for the food from the provider, then dropping it to the customer who covers the cost of both.
Although there is an exception to potential new rules. Customers who have waited more than an hour or paid in advance will not be punished for making a cancellation.
Shoppers who abuse delivery riders in any way including over social media, can also face a minimum of six months in prison.