Consumers question packaging fees on takeaway food orders
Have you ever noticed when ordering takeaway food that there is an additional cost on top of the delivery fee? That is the packaging fee.
This fee is easy to overlook because it is usually small and people acknowledge its value because takeaway food needs proper packaging.
Now, however, some shops have been found to be adding unrelated costs to it, giving consumers unpleasant surprises.
Earlier this week, a blogger posted online that a takeaway business charged packaging fees for bottled cola, which did not need any additional packaging.
Equally bad, some shops apply individual packaging fees for each ingredient of a milk tea, each kebab in a barbecue, and even for choosing the flavor of a hot-pot meal.
With all these charges stacking up, sometimes the seemingly insignificant outsourcing fees can account for half of the cost of a takeout order.
The eco-friendly act of using less packaging is widely approved, but it can't be an excuse for unexplained packaging costs, which has been considered a grey area on takeaway platforms.
The Shanghai Consumer Protection Commission in June called for rules on standardized and transparent packaging fees for takeaways.
Two major takeaway platforms, Meituan and Ele.me, have said that they would supervise merchants to reasonably set the cost of outsourcing packaging and set an upper limit.
Consumers, who find unreasonable fees that seem beyond the cost of packaging, are advised to report them to the platforms, and they will conduct a corresponding price limitation after verification.
While other rules are yet to be unveiled, the best way for consumers to protect their rights is to look carefully before paying their bill and select honest providers.