Australian watchdog says Uber Eats will amend 'unfair' contract terms

FILE PHOTO: A man puts on a delivery bag with the logo of Uber Eats in Mexico City, Mexico May 20, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso/File Photo

(Reuters) - Australia’s competition watchdog said Uber Technologies Inc’s food delivery service Uber Eats will amend its contract terms to accept more accountability for delivery issues, easing the burden on restaurants.

The move comes at a time when global regulators have stepped up scrutiny of the business practices of global technology titans.

“We consider these (current) terms to be unfair because they appear to cause a significant imbalance between restaurants and Uber Eats,” the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Chairman Rod Sims said on Wednesday.

The ACCC said Uber Eats will amend terms to clarify that restaurants will only be responsible for matters within their control such as incorrect orders. Restaurants will also be able to dispute responsibility for refunds, it said.

“From August 2019, we’ll be introducing changes to our agreements with restaurant partners that are designed to be more clear, improve transparency and better reflect the way we operate in practice,” Jodie Auster, regional general manager for Uber Eats, said in a statement to Reuters.

The firm also agreed to remove from contracts references to it not providing logistics services, said the ACCC, which called the detail “misleading” considering Uber Eats provides drivers, location tracking and other information to deliver meals.

The watchdog turned its attention to Uber Eats last year after reports of restaurateurs saying contract terms left them responsible for late deliveries.

Reporting by Devika Syamnath in Bengaluru; Editing by Christopher Cushing