Column: 4 bills to protect small businesses from tech apps

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Last week I passed into law four bills to help save and support our city, and our district’s small business restaurants. Third-party food delivery apps, an emerging form of tech in our city, are innovative and when existing in harmony with our restaurants, satisfy customer demand and provided a safe alternative to dine-in during the crisis stages of the pandemic.
However, some business practices and behaviors in the industry are in need of oversight and legislative solutions. To this end, my colleagues and I introduced and passed two temporary laws (and then extended them) putting limits on how much these apps can charge restaurants per order and prohibiting the practice of charging restaurants for phone orders that never took place.
Of the new set of bills just recently passed (and are now awaiting signature from the mayor), these include a third extension to the commission cap, or a limit on how much third-party food apps can charge partnering restaurants; a permanent prohibition on false phone orders; a requirement for apps to list the actual telephone number of participating restaurants and not just an app-generated number; and finally, a bill necessitating that apps receive the consent of restaurants that they deliver from.
Each of the bills passed address a particular problem presented by this segment of the tech sector. In doing so, they are intended to protect the bottom line of our struggling small business restaurants who have never faced such hardship, and give them the agency and autonomy to partner with who and on what terms, which is their right.
For questions about the legislation, or any concerns related to life in District 13, please contact my office at either or at (718) 931-1721. Thank you and stay safe.

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