AG Maura Healey sues Grubhub for charging restaurants illegally high fees during pandemic

BOSTON — Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced Thursday that she has sued food delivery service Grubhub for allegedly illegally charging fees to Massachusetts restaurants that exceeded a fee cap that was in place during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The lawsuit, which was filed Thursday in Suffolk Superior Court, alleges Grubhub violated a provision of the state’s economic development legislation that prohibited companies like Grubhub from charging fees to restaurants that exceeded 15 percent of the order’s menu price, according to a statement released by Healey’s office.

That fee cap went into effect January 14, 2021 and was in place until June 15, 2021 when Governor Charlie Baker lifted the state of emergency in Massachusetts.

“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,” Healey said in a statement. “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.”

In her complaint, Healey claims Grubhub charged fees to restaurants that exceeded 18 percent of the order’s menu price, which violated state law.

“Serving restaurants is at the heart of everything we do at Grubhub and we strongly disagree with the allegations in this lawsuit,” the company said in a statement to Boston 25 News. “While we do not believe the temporary price control was either legal or appropriate, we complied with it while it was in effect and for an additional month after it expired, effectively conveying millions of dollars to local restaurants across Massachusetts. We look forward to responding to these baseless allegations.”

The lawsuit seeks to secure refunds for affected establishments, as well as civil penalties of $5,000 per violation, together with the costs of investigating and prosecuting the case.