As more consumers embrace digital tools and services such as online delivery platforms in the new normal, they face the risk of falling prey to fraudsters who use these same technologies against their victims. In the case of online deliveries, these scams include fake bookings or fraudulent orders of food and other goods, often victimizing both legitimate customers and delivery riders.
With October once again expected to be declared by the government as Consumer Welfare Month, leading quick-commerce platform provider foodpanda is doubling down on its commitment to protect their customers and “Ka-Panda” delivery partner riders alike from fake bookings and other scams.
“At foodpanda, we take great pride in being able to quickly deliver food, groceries and other essentials to our customers, while ensuring the digital safety and privacy of our customers, partner vendors, and partner riders,” said Daniel Marogy, managing director of foodpanda Philippines, at a recent corporate social responsibility event spearheaded by the company.
“The quick-commerce industry has truly grown by leaps and bounds during the past two years especially during the peak of lockdowns. Unfortunately, the industry has also seen a rise in the number of fraudsters trying to victimize consumers and rob freelance delivery riders of their hard-earned income,” Marogy noted. “But foodpanda has measures in place to make sure that we are ahead of the curve in battling these fraudsters.”
No abono policy for foodpanda partner riders
A fake booking involves a scammer placing an order for food and having it delivered to the address of the unsuspecting victim. If the recipient declines to pay for the unexpected delivery, then it is often the hapless delivery rider who is forced to shoulder the cost. The same result occurs if a rider is sent to deliver to a bogus address, and in many instances, multiple riders are sent to the same location, carrying multiple items each.
According to Marogy, foodpanda has a very simple but effective measure in place to protect its freelance delivery partners even when these fake bookings occur. “Our delivery partners do not shell out any of their own money to pay vendors upfront, prior to delivery,” he explained. “We fully understand how difficult and risky it is for a rider to pay for items with their own money, so we have made this no abono policy as our standard procedure, even during the early days of our operations.” He also mentioned that the said process is also foodpanda’s way to empower its delivery partners in servicing orders regardless of the amount payable.
Marogy added that for fraudulent or even for canceled or incorrect orders, their “Ka-Panda” delivery partners are advised to simply return the said order back to the vendor. foodpanda will be the one to coordinate with the vendors on the payment for the items, while the delivery partner riders will still earn for the back-and-forth trip. “This also means that our Ka-Pandas do not have to personally sell unclaimed food items, just to recoup their capital,” Marogy explained.
Secure payments, cashless tipping
Marogy added that aside from these safety measures, their own platform is also equipped with advanced security features to make customers’ payments and other transactions secure. “When our customers opt for cashless methods for ordering, such as credit cards or e-wallets, we ensure they have peace of mind. If our app says that your online payment is successful, that is 100% guaranteed – no need to fork over cash to the rider,” Marogy assured, adding that customers can even opt for cashless means to tip their riders, with 100% of the amount going to the Ka Pandas’ accounts.
Awareness is key
Even as foodpanda’s platform and processes help keep customers and riders alike safe from fraud, Marogy also reminded the public that vigilance and awareness are important for maximum protection. “It is vital that we keep our personal information private and out of reach from fraudsters, and this is true for our customers as well as our partner riders whose accounts are all fully digital,” he said.
“Awareness is key, and we commend the government for initiatives such as their Consumer Welfare Month, as well as proposed bills such as the sim card registration act, that put the spotlight on these issues. foodpanda is committed to raising awareness among our ecosystem of stakeholders, and we join the call for greater vigilance and protection against all kinds of fraudulent activity,” Marogy added.