A GrabFood customer and his colleagues were left hungry and baffled after their delivery driver failed to send the order to their workplace, and instead U-turned and left it at a nondescript location at Jewel Changi Airport.
After liaising with Grab, the customer, Melvin Tan, found out that the driver had deemed placing the food at the delivery location's security guardhouse as unsafe, and had been instructed to dispose of the order by the GrabFood customer service agent.
Since then, Tan claims that he has not received any refund or compensation from Grab for the missing order.
Grab, however, revealed that the delivery driver had simply followed protocol as Tan was uncontactable at the time of delivery and the delivery address is an area that is restricted to members of the public.
S$500 worth of food never arrived
Tan took to Facebook to share about the incident after attempts to resolve the issue with Grab apparently failed.He told Mothership that on Aug. 11, he ordered a large amount of food from Shake Shack's Jewel Changi outlet for a workplace gathering. The order amounted to S$502.90.
The food was to be delivered to their workplace located along Tanah Merah Coast Road. Tan said he is unable to reveal the specific address due to security reasons.
He also revealed that he did not leave any instructions for the delivery driver on where to leave the food.
After waiting for around two hours, the food did not arrive.
Tan shared that he decided to contact Grab, and was apparently told that the driver had claimed that the food was already delivered.
The photo the driver had snapped as proof of delivery and sent to Grab showed a completely different location.
A colleague who happened to pass by the same location recognised the place from the photo that Tan received from Grab.
The colleague then informed Tan that it was a rubbish bin at the Basement 2 carpark entrance of Jewel Changi.
Driver felt that food would be stolen from security guard house
The next day on Aug. 12, Tan followed up with Grab and was informed that the company was investigating the issue. He was also apparently reassured that he would be given a full refund.
On Aug. 15, Grab shared with Tan that the driver was unable to find the delivery location that day.
Five days later, Grab retracted their previous statement — the driver apparently knew where the delivery location was but claimed he was unable to contact Tan to deliver the food.
Tan disputed this by claiming that his chat history with the driver was empty, and even went as far as to check the CCTV footage at his workplace during the supposed time of delivery for any signs of the arrival of the driver, but apparently, there were none.
Tan shared with Mothership that for his previous GrabFood orders, drivers would leave the food at the building's security guardhouse to be collected.
By Sep. 1, Grab had made several clarifications to Tan that the driver was instructed to place the food at a "safe place".
Although the driver could have left the food at the guard house, the driver was apparently concerned that the order would be stolen, Tan was told.
GrabFood's agent, who was in contact with the driver, thus suggested that if there was no "safe" location for the driver to leave the food at, the food should be disposed of.
According to the customer service agent Tan was in contact with, disposing of orders is part of Grab's "standard operating procedures" as the driver has to complete other orders.
What then baffled Tan was the driver's decision to travel back to Jewel Changi, just to drop off the untouched food worth S$500 next to a rubbish bin near the carpark.
Tan was initially told that he would only be refunded S$50 into his GrabPay wallet instead of a full refund.
He rejected the offer, but Grab reaffirmed that they would be unable to refund him the full amount.
Following the back and forth with Grab, Tan was left perplexed as to why the food was not simply left at the guard house, and why the driver trashed the food at Jewel Changi.
He also said he was told initially by one customer service agent that he would get a refund, only for the next agent to tell him he was not going to get it.
Consumer did not pick up calls
In response to Mothership's queries, Grab shared that they are aware of the incident and based on their investigation, the delivery-partner had followed Grab's delivery protocol of disposing of the order as the consumer was uncontactable.
Grab revealed that on Aug. 11, the day of the delivery, the driver had picked up and brought the order to the delivery address indicated.
Noting that this was a large order, the driver sent several messages to the customer via the Grab app to notify him that he will be arriving soon.
Contrary to Tan's claims, when the driver reached the location, his calls were not picked up by the customer.
This was despite multiple attempts to reach the customer by both the driver and GrabFood's support team, Grab said.
For Tan's claims that his chat history with the driver is empty, Mothership understands that the chat history will typically be cleared once an order is completed.
Delivery location is restricted
Additionally, the delivery location is restricted to members of the public, and the driver was unable to enter and look for the consumer.
"As there was no safe place to leave the order and our delivery-partner could not wait any longer, the delivery-partner was advised to dispose of the order," Grab stated.
Mothership also understands that delivery riders are required to deliver the orders to the correct address, or risk being penalised or absorbing the cost of the order if customers do not receive the order should, for example, the food get stolen.
Grab's delivery-partners are advised to dispose of the order if a consumer cannot be contacted at their stated location, as it may affect the delivery-partners' next food order and earning opportunities.
These orders have to be disposed of "at the right place to avoid any food safety and hygiene issues".
Mothership understands that this means orders have to be thrown in an appropriate rubbish bin, and cannot be simply left at a random location.
"Grab strives to provide the best experience possible for consumers and delivery-partners. We encourage all parties on our platform to treat one another with kindness and understanding," Grab said.
Tan responded to Grab's statement by saying that he did not receive any calls or messages from the delivery driver.
He also insisted that the delivery driver would have ensured the order was delivered if the customer opted to pay cash on delivery, instead of using his GrabPay wallet.
This meant the delivery driver would have been obliged to hold on to the food until he got paid for it.
Top photo from Melvin Tan / FB