A group of takeaway owners disgruntled by an apparent refund 'scam' on Just Eat are said to be considering removing themselves from the platform completely.
The news has been revealed by Monir Ashraf, owner of King Grill Pizza in Preston Road, who claims he's paying out so much in fraudulent refunds every month, that he might be driven out of business.
He said: "It's not just us, it's nine takeaways I know.
"At the moment I'm speaking to other takeaway bosses, we have a Whatsapp group and we're talking about shutting Just Eat down in Leyland.
"But it's going to take us all to be in agreement."
Just Eat allows customers an automatic refund on their order if they are not happy with the product or service.
While this has long been the case, the platform changed how refunds works for takeaway owners in October. Instead of Just East asking the takeaway whether they agreed with the refund or not, and fronting the money if the owner said they disagreed, the refunds are now charged to the restaurant and can be disputed afterwards.
The process for customers hasn't changed and Just Eat say they haven't seen an increase in refund rates since making the changes.
But Mr Ashraf said: "We've had issues for the past four months with refunds.
"Customers are ordering, we make it, send it out, and then a few days later we get an email from Just East invoicing us for a refund.
"You ask for a reason and it'll be 'because the customer said the item was cold', but it's just very odd because the drivers know the area very well and everything is delivered in 20 to 25 minutes, even though we say it can take up to an hour.
"We even get requests for refunds saying a milkshake has been delivered damaged. How can you damage a milkshake?"
Mr Ashraf says dishonest people have cottoned onto a scam, and in the past month, he has had to refund £687 - but this has been disputed by Just Eat.
They say since the beginning of November 2021, £311 in refunds have been given to King Grill customers, and that the owner has challenged each one, and had the money reimbursed.
Mr Ashraf says the discrepancy is because refunds requested by the customer today can show up weeks later on his invoices, and Just Eat's system "doesn't make sense".
He also says that wrong orders should be taken up with the delivery driver so it could be rectified, but this rarely happens.
Despite the reimbursements from Just Eat, Mr Ashraf insists the customer service he has received is "poor".
He said: "Basically, you're told to put up with it. I've called the helpline in India, and their English is extremely bad. They want everything on an email, so you do that, and wait for weeks for a reply."
He said he and his team have been forced to do extra paperwork, chasing orders through their system, and have resorted to blocking customers who they believe have made fraudulent refund requests. They are also photographing orders before they leave the takeaway, in case they need to prove the quality of the product.
He added: "All the time, we're losing out seriously.
"The reality is, in a few months we might end up bankrupt. This comes on top of price rises due to Brexit."
What Just Eat say:
Just Eat said restaurant partners are still able to dispute all refund requests that come in and that restaurant partners are always refunded in full when they find any fraudulent activity taking place.
A spokesman said: "Just Eat is only successful if our restaurant partners are successful and we have a track record of helping restaurants prosper.
"The recent measures we’ve put in place are in line with industry standards and are to ensure an even fairer refunds process for all, such as increasing the time for restaurants to raise any disputes.
"Restaurant partners are always refunded in full when we find any fraudulent activity taking place. We’re keen to maintain an open dialogue with the restaurants on our platform and continue to review our policies and processes in this space to support both customers and restaurants alike."