Foodpanda fined NT$2 million for alleged anti-competitive practices

The online food delivery platform foodpanda has been fined NT$2 million (US$72,150) in Taiwan for allegedly imposing inappropriate restrictions on affiliated restaurants and hurting fair market competition, the country’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said Friday.

The FTC said it issued the NT$2 million fine after it found that foodpanda was forcing its affiliated restaurants and eateries to list the same prices in their physical stores as on the foodpanda online platform, which was a violation of the Fair Trade Act.

Dine-in patrons should not have to pay the same as customers ordering online, as food deliveries carry a commission fee, the FTC said.

In addition, foodpanda also violated the law by making it an option for people who wish to order take-out meals from its partner restaurants to do so via its platform, although such customers have to pick up the food themselves at the eateries, the FTC added.

The customers who order take-out meals via foodpanda are mostly long-time patrons of the restaurants, and they should be able to order directly from the eateries, if they wished, the FTC said.

If restaurants are forced to channel their take-out orders through foodpanda, not only will they be limited in terms of reaching new customers, they will also be competing with themselves on the platform, the FTC said.

Moreover, when customers order take-out meals via foodpanda, the restaurant still has to pay a commission to the company, the FTC said, adding that many restaurants have already lost their dine-in patrons to delivery service platforms.

Foodpanda, meanwhile, can use its commission fees to offer discounts or special deals to its customers, which would constitute a restriction of competition, the FTC said.

The FTC issued a warning to foodpanda, and also to another online food delivery platform Uber Eats, saying they should refrain from hurting fair competition in the market, as they had been doing by offering discounted commission fees to lure more restaurants into signing exclusive partnership deals with them.

In response, foodpanda said Friday that it has not yet received any formal notification of the fine and had no idea why it was issued.

It said when it is notified, it will consider whether to file an administrative appeal against the FTC’s decision.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel