Solon files bill to penalize cancelled or prank MC courier orders

Motorcycle food and courrier services may soon have the law on their side if a new bill is passed. AKO Bicol Party-list representative, Alfredo Garbin, has filed House Bill 6958 that aims to protect motorcycle courier services like GrabFood, Lalamove, etc. from bogus or prank orders that may hurt them financially.

Titled the “Food and Grocery Delivery Services Act,” it hopes to make it “unlawful for any customer to cancel confirmed orders for the delivery of food and/ or grocery items when the said items have already been paid by or are already in the possession of the Delivery Rider or otherwise is in transit to the customer.”

Clients may face 100K fine, jail time if they prank MC courier services image

House Bill 6958 also covers persons who availed of the service by a motorcycle courier, for the purpose of pranking or with no genuine intention of availing the service. If a person is found guilty, he or she could be fined up to PhP100,000 or face up to 6 years in prison. In addition, they will have to reimburse the rider the amount of the canceled/ bogus transaction, plus twice the fee for the canceled transaction.

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the importance of motorcycle riders working as couriers in our daily lives. During the lockdown, people's movements were restricted to just acquiring basic needs. These motorcycle delivery rides became the public's lifeline for acquiring groceries or buying food from their favorite restaurants during the lockdown. The pandamic has also given rise to the “pasabuy” service in which the rider (using his own money) buys additional items along the way on the customer’s behalf.

Unfortunately, this pasabuy service has also financially affected the riders, particularly when transactions are cancelled after the riders have already bought the items. The customer may only have to pay the cancellation fee but the rider often shoulders the cost of the order and is only reimbursed upon delivery.

Worse still were a few bogus transactions where riders would be sent to a random address with thousands of pesos worth of orders (food, grocery, or special orders) as a prank, either to the rider or the unknowing resident.

“It is unfortunate to know, however, that there are unscrupulous individuals who would cancel their orders even if the applicable service provider has already placed and paid for the food or grocery items which were already confirmed to be paid and are ready for delivery,” said Rep. Garbin.

The new bill, if passed into law, hopes to impose a hefty fine to discourage clients from cancelling orders or pulling pranks on the riders.