It’s a common story in the age of delivery apps: A mysterious bag of food that you didn’t order appears in front of your door.
What should you do? Should you contact the restaurant or the delivery app?
Here are practical steps suggested by delivery drivers and restaurants.
Start by reading the receipt or label on the delivery bag.
If you know the recipient: Contact the intended customer to let them know where to find their food, or take it over to them if you’re feeling especially helpful.
If you don’t know the recipient: Leave the food alone. There’s a chance that the intended customer will try to find and retrieve their delivery.
If more than 30 minutes goes by and nobody comes to pick up the food, either throw it away or safely eat it yourself.
Food apps will generally refund customers when their order is delivered to the wrong place, so you aren’t harming the intended customer if you get rid of their order after waiting for awhile.
Don’t contact the restaurant. They can’t help
Restaurants can’t do much about orders delivered to the wrong place, so there isn’t much you can accomplish by contacting them.
Only the delivery app can create a new order and dispatch a new driver, and contacting app support takes too much time when a restaurant is busy.
Restaurants can’t easily contact the customer, and even if they do, there isn’t much they can do to help.
Here’s what one restaurant owner on Reddit said:
“I get calls at my restaurant when this happens. I tell the caller to eat the food. I can’t get in touch with the customer or the driver and DD support is too difficult to deal with.”
You can’t contact the delivery app or the driver
There is no practical way to contact DoorDash, Uber Eats, or any of the other food delivery apps when you are not the customer.
Even if you manage to contact an app in a reasonable amount of time, the app will not dispatch a new driver to pick up the order.
What about the driver?
You might be able to flag down the delivery person if they are still nearby, but you won’t be able to contact them once they are out of sight.
If a courier immediately recognizes their error, they may come back to redeliver the food. But don’t expect the driver to come back once they are long gone.
They have likely moved onto the next delivery, and most customer won’t want food that has been sitting out for a long time.
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