Flushing small business owner David Liu is sounding the alarm on DoorDash’s business practices after the food delivery platform terminated his merchant account for alleged fraudulent activity.
“We figured if DoorDash is doing this to us, and we’re just a small shop in Queens, they can be doing this to anyone,” said Eric Leung, Liu’s business partner. “There’s other businesses that could be going through this same exact situation, but the owner’s first language is not English, or they don’t know how to navigate these legal processes or report to news stations.”
Liu, the owner of A-Crepe, located at 42-35 Main St. had to temporarily close his shop due to a family emergency, and won’t be able to reopen until early March. On top of dealing with family concerns, Liu was in shock on Jan. 19 when he checked his bank account and noticed that DoorDash, the food delivery service that has exploded in popularity during the pandemic, had withdrawn a total of $46,700 earned from sales and proceeds.
Leung, speaking on behalf of Liu, said DoorDash closed their account abruptly, without any notice last month. A few days later, DoorDash terminated the account without any explanation after making the withdrawal.
“All within one day, without warning. After that occurred we were really confused,” Leung said “This is literally months and months of revenue — we have rent, bills and other expenses to pay and we can’t afford to without this money.”
According to Leung, DoorDash had access to their account number. The company did an automated clearing house (ACH) transfer to pull funds from the account. The business partners were able to recover $32,000 after disputing with Bank of America, and filled out an affidavit stating an unauthorized ACH debit transaction. The bank did what they could, Leung said, but could not recover around $14,000. The remaining funds were still withheld by DoorDash.
Leung said DoorDash withheld their last week of sales ($4,865) under the premise and allegation that its merchant account had committed fraud.
“The support staff was not truthful or honest when they stated that the payment was sent; we have bank statements that show our sales revenue never arrived,” Leung said.
When they had contacted DoorDash numerous times through phone calls and emails for an explanation as to why their account was canceled without notice, Leung said a representative had cited fraudulent activity, but didn’t provide any further information.
In an email sent to A-Crepe on Jan. 19, a DoorDash representative said, “The only specifics we can provide is that the terms of services have been violated through fraud and when that happens, they will not reactivate the store. I apologize for the inconvenience.”
Confused by DoorDash’s allegation of fraud, Leung said they had asked for evidence and the specifics on what terms of service were violated, but never received an actual response.
“It’s quite confusing when someone accuses you of something, and you ask them and own up to it and be accountable and they won’t tell you,” Leung said. “I’m horrified that we live in a time where these big tech companies can brazenly cancel you and withhold your money, without an explanation and not answer to you. If we did something wrong, then we’re willing to fix it. But we don’t even get the chance to.”
A DoorDash representative confirmed to QNS that Liu and Leung’s account was flagged for potential fraudulent behavior by an automated and manual detection system that identifies any fraudulent behavior to protect members of the community.
“DoorDash always works to ensure we offer the highest quality of service, especially at a time when every order counts. Upon investigation, we’ve identified fraudulent activity associated with this account. We will work with the merchant directly on a solution and we remain committed to supporting and protecting our community,” a DoorDash representative told QNS.
Last week, after Liu and Leung appeared on NY1 news explaining their situation, DoorDash had returned about $4,000 from sales and proceeds to the business partners, Leung said. They were able to recover around $18,000 or so, but there’s still a slight discrepancy between what they calculated and what DoorDash returned, which is still in dispute, according to Leung.
Leung said he is bothered by the fact that DoorDash is alleging the $46,700 plus $4,865 were withheld due to “terms of service violations,” which the company didn’t provide any evidence of.
“This was a central point in our story and defense, not just for the massive sum of money, as we have emphasized, if there was actual wrongdoing, then we will own up and resolve it. But the fact that DoorDash has refused and failed to provide any evidence or further details, has us suspecting if the allegations were even real or just made up,” Leung said.
As their fight with DoorDash became a nightmare, Leung said they wish for no one to experience what they’ve been through with the company. They’re currently using other food delivery platforms such as GrubHub and UberEats. After the situation is resolved, they’re planning to sever all ties with DoorDash.
“I’m just grateful that we were able to pretty much recover all of our funds, which was ours,” Leung said. “There was a lot of grief and emotional distress, and we are meeting with a lawyer to see if there is a legal route we can pursue.”
Leung’s message to all small business owners: Don’t be afraid to speak up.
“If we can do it, then anyone can do it. I just want people to stand up for what is right, and that’s all for the power of community. We will stand together for what’s right and tell those big companies we’re not going to get bullied,” Leung said.