Uber Eats is experimenting with a new delivery fee structure that sees its flat AED5 fee raised by up to 140 percent to AED12 for select customers in Dubai, depending how far a user is from a restaurant.
An Uber spokesperson told Arabian Business delivery fees will be “more affordable” for users who order from nearby restaurants while maintaining access to restaurants further away at a “slightly” higher price.
The lowest delivery fee is AED4, AED1 less than Uber Eats’ original AED5 flat fee.
The food delivery company claims all users included in the experiment were informed of the price hike via in-app messages, but the messages - which did not mention price increases - promoted the change as delivery for less.
The in-app message customers received said, “Nearby restaurants now delivered for less. You’ll see a different delivery fee for each restaurant. The closer you are, the lower the fee”.
When users on Twitter complained about the rise in prices, an Uber Eats social media representative claimed the app has “fixed prices” for delivery fees.
However they later deleted their replies and told a user that delivery fees “help cover delivery costs” and that the fee “varies for each restaurant based on things like your location and availability of nearby couriers”.
Uber did not comment when asked how the hike in prices would affect Uber Eats drivers, which is a separate option in the app should customers choose to add it.
One user told Arabian Business, “Who's going to tip after paying AED10 in [delivery] fees? Seems a rip off considering these apps already take about 35% of order value from restaurants.”
Under the trial, if Arabian Business (located in Dubai Media City) were to order a McDonald’s meal from the fast food outlet’s Dubai Media City branch (located across the street) the delivery fee would be AED6 on Uber Eats, which constitutes the same price as a McDonald’s burger.
An Uber Eats spokesperson said the company will “look forward to receiving feedback from our community before further rollout”.
Other delivery companies including Deliveroo have a fixed AED7 fee, while Zomato’s price ranges from AED 5 to AED7.5, depending on the restaurant.