Commerce Ministry warns delivery apps about overcharging


BANGKOK (NNT) – The Ministry of Commerce has tightened controls on delivery apps and services during the pandemic to prevent operators profiteering, as online orders have surged.

Mr Wattanasak Sur-iam, Director-General of the Department of Internal Trade (DIT), said today the Commerce Ministry has been monitoring delivery fees as more people now work from home. Moreover, some provinces have banned sit-in dining at restaurants and food outlets, leading people to buy more goods online, especially food.

He has spoken with 11 digital platforms such as Foodpanda, Grab, Lineman, Lazada, Shopee and Thailand Post and all of them pledged to cap their delivery charges during the crisis. In addition, he said many platforms have organized promotional campaigns to help people.

Mr Wattanasak said most digital operators reported purchase orders had increased 5-10 percent. Referring to an earlier report that some digital platforms are raising commission fees for food vendors to increase gross profit (GP), he said the platforms have insisted they have no plans to increase GP or any delivery charges as they are fully aware of the situation and vendors’ hardship and want to help them.

However, the DIT has instructed delivery companies to upgrade the sanitary standards of their workers to prevent a virus spread and ensure consumer confidence. The DIT has also asked the digital operators to consider reducing the GP to help restaurant operators who are unable to serve meals in the restaurants. They were also warned against price gouging on face masks and hand sanitizers.