House bill wants six years of jail time for canceling food delivery orders

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 8) — A House bill wants to penalize those who cancel confirmed orders, burdening most delivery riders and service providers due to frequent abuses especially amid the coronavirus pandemic.

AKO Bicol Party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin has filed House Bill 6958, or the Food and Grocery Delivery Services Act, which prohibits cancellation of transactions from food and grocery delivery service providers when delivery riders have already advanced the payment for the items or the items are already in transit to the customer.

Under the measure, a copy of which was released on Monday, violators will get the penalty of prision mayor or at least six years of jail time. They must also pay a ₱100,000 fine and reimburse the food and delivery service providers for the value of the items advanced by the rider. They should also pay the provider an amount of money double the fee charged for the canceled transaction.

"This covers instances wherein customers order food and/or grocery items for the purpose of pranking or those who have no genuine intention of availing of the service which causes damage and undue duress to the Delivery Riders and their corresponding services," the bill reads.

Meanwhile, those who shame, demean, embarrass, or humiliate the delivery riders across any platform may face at least six months of imprisonment or prision correccional.

"It can be lowered if the proper committee finds it too harsh. It's still subject to amendment anyway," Garbin told CNN Philippines.

"Pero laganap kasi ang pangloloko sa deliveries kaya this bill should serve as an announcement and sink into the consciousness na sersoyo dito ang Congress," he added.

[Translation: But doing pranks on deliveries has been widespread nowadays, so this bill should serve as an announcement and sink into the consciousness of people that Congress is serious about this.]

The only exemptions from the prohibited cancellation of orders are: When the customer uses a credit card and the payment will still be credited to the service provider despite the cancellation; the customer remits to the service provider any payment as a pre-condition for the cancellation of order; and the delivery of the items will be or was delayed for at least an hour from the expected time of arrival and such delay was not caused by the driver's negligence.

For protection, the measure also requires food and delivery service providers to make their customers submit a valid proof of identity and residential address or proof of billing. Verification of the identity of the customer must be done through video calls.