New Iowa law prevents ‘pirating’ from food delivery apps

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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) – More transparency is coming to third-party delivery apps, thanks to a new Iowa law. Those delivery app companies now must come to an agreement with the restaurant before food can be ordered on the app.

Before this law went into effect, a delivery app could have customers place orders from a restaurant without the restaurant’s consent, commonly known as pirating.

Critics say this “pirating” led to price gouging because some delivery apps were marking up prices inside of their own app without asking the restaurant for the real price of the food. That practice is now outlawed.

One of the people who’ll be affected by this law is Stacy Kazos, who runs a Siouxland based delivery company called “The Market Delivers.”

She says her company forms a client-style relationship with restaurants in the community, making sure to speak with them first before listing their food on her app. But Kazos says some other delivery apps don’t even ask restaurants if they’d like to partner with them, they just start taking online orders posing as an ordinary customer.

“They’ll list them on their app with or without consent of the restaurant,” said Kazos. “And oftentimes that can lead to problems because they’ll have a menu that’s outdated, or they don’t know if that restaurant ran out of a certain item.”

With this new law, delivery companies can no longer list the menus of restaurants without having a contract with the restaurant first.

For Victoria Pollreisz, a part-time delivery driver herself, having that personal relationship with a restaurant up front is just good business sense.

“We’re personal, like we know each other, we have each other’s backs. We work with all the small businesses too. So I think that’s important for them to be represented well,” said Pollreisz.

The Market Delivers also has delivery drivers use a branded car and wear a uniform. They say it helps those in the community identify what vehicles and people are in the neighborhood.

A lack of transparency can have another unintended effect. If someone places an order through a delivery app, the restaurant may not know it’s a third-party app placing the order. So when the actual customers call to complain, their name may not be on file.

Copyright 2022 KTIV. All rights reserved.

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