Albany County Legislature adopts local law to cap costly third-party delivery fees
ALBANY – The Albany County Legislature, on Monday, adopted a local law that limits the fees that third-party food delivery companies can charge restaurants during a declared emergency. The measure is designed to protect small business owners struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The legislation complements an Executive Order signed by County Executive Daniel P. McCoy earlier this year, which restricts a delivery company from charging no higher than 15 percent of the purchase price. The local law takes it a step further by giving restaurants the ability to seek relief and enforcement, and to commence legal action if necessary.
“The Albany County Legislature continues to lead in several different ways as we help businesses see their way through this pandemic,” Albany County Legislature Chairman Andrew Joyce said. “Whether it be a half million dollars in grant funding for small businesses, or key legislation protecting local restaurant owners, we’re focused on getting through this crisis stronger than ever before. I’d like to thank Legislator Sam Fein, my colleagues on the Legislature and County Executive Dan McCoy for moving so quickly to make this happen.”
Similar legislative measures have been undertaken in New York City and Westchester County, among others, and was first by Legislator Samuel Fein who was concerned about the impact fees were having on local businesses already struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our local restaurants are barely surviving and can’t afford to lose upwards of 30 percent of each order to third-party delivery apps. I’m proud that we took action to end this predatory practice. Local Law J ensures that when you place a food order, your money goes to your local restaurant rather than out-of-state corporations that are making record profits during this pandemic,” Fein said.
Legislators Matthew Peter and Dustin Reidy joined Fein to co-sponsor the bill.
“It’s bad enough when national and international companies take advantage of small independent businesses, but during a pandemic it’s almost criminal. At a time when local restaurants are facing the most uncertain of economic times, we cannot let delivery companies take advantage of their need with predatory fees and practices,” said Peter. “Between the cap and the CERT small business grant funding recently awarded, I’m proud the legislature is taking a stand to try to help small businesses get through this pandemic. I want to thank Chairman Andrew Joyce, and Legislators Sam Fein and Dustin Reidy as well as County Executive Daniel McCoy and Mayor Kathy Sheehan for spearheading this effort, and my colleagues on the Legislature for passing this so quickly.”
Reidy added, “Food delivery is a necessary service both for local restaurants and residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Out-of-state food apps know this and have taken advantage, raising fees as high as 30% of a delivery charge. We need to rein this predatory pricing in and support our local, small businesses during this pandemic and I’m proud to say this legislation does just that.”