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Uber Eats has acknowledged its refunds policy is not “100% accurate”, following year-long accusations from retailers that the company is wrongfully charging them for sending deliveries to customers with missing items.

Several retailers first alerted betterRetailing to the issue in April 2020. At the time, retailers were eventually compensated, but only after it was raised with the delivery service. Since then a handful of different retailers reported Uber Eats was continuing to automatically charge them for missing items, with one claiming this happened three times in one week.

In a bid to win their money back, store owners have provided CCTV images of the products going into the bags of drivers as evidence, and secured driver signatures to confirm they have every item.

A Birmingham retailer, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “We can’t keep affording to have these deductions. It only ever happens to small orders, but they soon start to rack up. Every order I send out now I make the driver sign to say they agree that every item has been put into their bag. When I try and complain, I just get a standard response, and nothing is ever done.”

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Alcohol, tobacco and confectionery were the most popular lines retailers claimed customers lodged false complaints about, with charges of anywhere up to £30 being made each time.

However, after constant probing, one retailer received personal correspondence from one of Uber Eats’ territory account managers who admitted the company’s refunds policy is not “100% accurate” and it refuses to acknowledge CCTV as evidence.

In the email received by the retailer, and seen by betterRetailing, the representative said: “Uber Eats does have a rigorous refund policy in place with missing items being a possible example of something that may need to be covered by a restaurant. Each query is assessed on a case-by-case basis, although please be aware that our support team wouldn’t use CCTV when making a decision.

“The system will not be 100% accurate – for example, sometimes Uber may pay for a refund that is either customer fraud or the fault of the restaurant, and sometimes the restaurant may pay for a refund that is either fraud or the fault of Uber.”

They said because of this, the partnership agreed a “goodwill threshold”.

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“This means that you can claim back an agreed amount of refunds from Uber each month if you believe that a change has been made incorrectly,” it read.

betterRetailing understands Uber Eats is now working on product solutions for retailers specifically to improve accuracy when packing orders.

It has recently improved reporting for restaurant partners, with its ‘Restaurant Manager’ portal now giving more detailed information about what went wrong with each refunded order.

The company has also updated the app to make it easier for customers to select exactly what items were missing with their order.

When asked to comment on whether the delivery service is planning on rectifying its refunds policy, a spokesperson for Uber Eats said: “The vast majority of orders made via Uber are completed without an issue, and we believe that our refunds policy is fair for eaters and restaurant partners. We have a dedicated team who are constantly reviewing and improving our processes and we are always happy to review any refund if there is a concern.”

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