In a lawsuit filed by the State Attorney General's Office on Thursday, online food delivery platform Grubhub charged some Massachusetts restaurants illegal fees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a media statement from Mass.gov, Maura Healey is suing Grubhub Holdings Inc. for allegedly violating a provision in Massachusetts’ economic development law. This law prohibited third-party delivery service platforms from charging fees to restaurants that exceed 15% of an order’s menu price.

Healey's lawsuit demands refunds for restaurants that were affected by the illegally high fees. The lawsuit specifically states that Grubhub "knowingly charged fees to restaurants that exceeded 18 percent of the order’s menu price”.

The Delivery Fee Cap Statute went into effect on January 14 and finally ended when Governor Charlie Baker lifted Massachusetts' State of Emergency on June 15. Attorney General Healey had this to say in the media statement:

We allege that Grubhub knowingly and repeatedly violated the fee cap statute, raising costs by thousands of dollars and harming restaurants that were already financially distressed and trying to survive. We are suing to get money back to these establishments and to hold Grubhub accountable for its unlawful conduct. Our restaurants have been hard hit by this pandemic and we will do everything we can to help get them the relief they need to recover.

Healey also said in the statement that her office sent letters to Grubhub and other online food delivery service platforms in February reminding them that the 15% fee cap was in place. In May of this year, AG Healey sent a cease and desist letter to Grubhub, ordering the company to cease charging covered establishments fees in excess of 15 percent of the menu price of the online order, in violation of the law.

Obviously, demand for food delivery soared during the pandemic with many cities and states placing caps on fees. For more on the story, visit Mass.gov's website here.

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