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Why I'm giving up on DoorDash

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TL;DR: This is another over-long customer service rant from Jed, this time explaining why I won't be using DoorDash again even though I used to be a vocal fan of theirs.


From late 2013 through late 2016, I was a big fan of a food-delivery service called DoorDash. They were local, they had a nicely designed website, food almost always arrived earlier than scheduled, and they had great and very responsive customer service. I recommended them to friends, and ordered from them fairly regularly.

But something has changed. Sometime around late 2016, their website started behaving badly in various ways. The last two times (before last night) that I tried to order from them, I got all the way through the selection and ordering process before being told, on the checkout page, that the restaurant I had selected was closed. In both cases, the restaurant wasn't actually closed, and the DoorDash main page continued to correctly say that the restaurant was open, but the system wouldn't let me check out.

The first time that happened was some kind of holiday, and I somehow spoke with a phone rep who was sympathetic (though not helpful); I think they were having some kind of computer issues. So I wrote that off as a glitch. The second time it happened, I filed a feedback report (because there's no longer a way to reach them by phone), and I got back a note that thanked me for my feedback and said something about how sometimes restaurants are closed, missing the point of my bug report.

So I was already leaning toward giving up on them, but last night the restaurant we wanted to order from wasn't available on GrubHub, so we tried DoorDash one more time. And it all seemed to be going smoothly. We successfully placed the order. I got the notification that the delivery person had left the restaurant with my food, five minutes before the scheduled arrival time, and the restaurant is only five minutes away. (On a normal day when I was up for being out in public, we probably would've just walked over to the restaurant. But last night I was in no emotional shape for being outside; I really needed to stay home and eat comfort food.)

Twenty minutes later, fifteen minutes after the scheduled delivery time, there was no sign of the delivery, so I called the delivery person. (DoorDash now gives the customer the delivery person's phone number after you order, effectively turning the delivery person into front-line phone support.) He said he didn't have my address. (!!!) I told him my address. He repeated it back, and said something I couldn't understand. I asked him when the food was likely to arrive. He said "What?" I asked again. Silence. I waited. Silence. I asked again. He said "What?" I asked again. Long silence. I said "Hello?" Long silence. I hung up.

Fifteen minutes later (half an hour after the scheduled delivery time), he still hadn't shown up, so I called again, and we went through the same sequence, though this time he didn't ask for my address. Finally I came up with another phrasing for my question: "What time will my food be here?" He gave me a time, and then he gave me another time, and then he gave me a third time. I gave up and got off the phone.

The food did eventually show up, 45 minutes late. He called to tell me he was here, but I couldn't see him from my front door; I went out on my front lawn in my bathrobe to look for him. He had apparently parked a couple houses away; he walked over and handed me the food. To his credit, he did apologize when he handed it to me, though he hadn't apologized at any previous time. I was too angry and too hungry to ask for an explanation. (Btw, he got a large tip, because DoorDash lets you specify a tip at order time and I always give a large one.)

DoorDash doesn't provide any way to get in touch with the company when this sort of thing happens, except an online feedback form that they say they'll respond to within 48 hours.

I have no idea what the delivery guy was doing during the 50 minutes between when he left the restaurant, five minutes away, and when he arrived at my house. I have a vague idea that DoorDash has switched to a system of having a delivery person do multiple deliveries to different people in one run, but presumably they should account for that in their delivery scheduling. If the order form had told me that it would take an hour and forty-five minutes to deliver, I wouldn't have placed the order.

If this had been just one time, I would write it off as an unusually bad fluke. But in combination with the two previous problems, and the difficulty of getting problems addressed, I'm giving up on DoorDash. Three miserable experiences in a row makes it not worth my time and energy to give them another try.

It's disappointing; they used to be great. And I haven't had great experiences with other delivery companies around here; the ones I've tried have tended to be slower and more expensive than DoorDash. But at least those other companies let me place an order, and then deliver when they say they will.

I got an email this morning from DoorDash that included an apology, gave me a credit toward my next order, and added “it is our commitment to provide you with only the best quality of service.” And provided a phone number. I may call them to try to explain to them why I won't be using their service again. Or I may not bother.

I also got an email this morning from GrubHub, offering me 25% off my next order if I use their app. Well played, GrubHub!

PS: One thing I did wrong here: I recognized around the time of my first call that I was in distressed-because-hungry mode, and that I should have a snack. So I did, but I didn't have enough of a snack to calm me down; I should've eaten more. That would've helped a lot.

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