Senate approves bill protecting delivery riders, drivers against bogus orders

Riders and drivers will soon be protected from having to pay for canceled bookings or bogus orders.

This came after the Senate approved Senate Bill (SB) 2302, also known as An Act Providing Measures to Protect Individuals Engaged in Food, Grocery, and Pharmacy Delivery Services, on third and final reading today, January 17.

The bill also tries to protect the public from fraudulent delivery bookings by making it a criminal offense.

Senators Manuel “Lito” Lapid, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Joel Villanueva, and Majority Leader Juan Miguel “Migz” F. Zubiri drafted Senate Bill 2302. Pimentel was the one who sponsored it.

Pimentel observed the worrying rise in fraudulent bookings and hoax orders as individuals increasingly rely on online bookings for food, supplies, and medicines throughout the pandemic.

He stated that enacting the measure would increase the protection provided to delivery riders and drivers, as well as the general public.

The bill forbids any system in which the delivery driver and rider are required to make an upfront payment for order fulfillment.

“This representation recently found out that an additional service called ‘Pabili or Pasabay’ is being offered by online delivery service providers wherein a customer may get the service of the online delivery service platform to buy products. It is the delivery driver or rider who advances the payment,”  Pimentel stated.

“If this bill is passed into law, that arrangement of the driver or rider advancing the money to fulfill an online order shall no longer be allowed,”  he stated emphatically.

Delivery service providers will also be obligated to pay the amount in the event of a hoax order, according to the legislation.

“It is the online delivery service application (or app) provider who is in business and the delivery driver or rider is just an agent, to use an all-encompassing generic term, of the business. Hence, all losses of the business must be borne by the businessman, the app provider,”  Pimentel added.

According to the bill, delivery service providers that violate the act face imprisonment and/or a fine of up to P100,000, as well as having their licenses and permits withdrawn.

According to Pimentel, the bill mandates the adoption of know-your-customer standards, which include the submission and verification of consumers’ evidence of identification and residence address, subject to conformity with the Data Privacy Act of 2012. He stated that anonymity will no longer be a fraudster’s ally.

Cancellation of confirmed orders, unless permitted by the delivery service provider, is prohibited by the statute.

Under the act, it would also be illegal to place a fake order or refuse to receive an underpaid verified order.

Anyone who commits any of the forbidden activities specified in the bill faces imprisonment and/or a fine of not more than P100,000.

Given the increasing number of examples of wrongful order cancellations and fake orders, the State must act quickly to protect delivery drivers and riders of all food, grocery, and pharmacy delivery services. “Not only is this bill appropriate during this pandemic, but it will also be pertinent after the pandemic because the internet has made all of us acclimated to online transactions and made many of us dependant on delivery services,” Pimentel said.

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