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Court summons Zomato over 'deceptive' delivery practice

A customer filed a plea against Zomato's 'Legends' service, that claims to deliver hot and authentic food from iconic restaurants of different cities.

Sourav Mall, residing in Gurgaon, has filed a complaint with a Delhi court, asserting that Zomato's Legends service, which guarantees delivery of hot kebabs and similar dishes from renowned restaurants in other cities, is misleading and false, as reported by The Indian Express.

Sourav placed an order from Zomato on October 14, 2023, using the Legends service. He ordered four dishes, three from Delhi and one from Lucknow. The dishes were chicken kabab roll from Jama Masjid, vegetarian sandwich from Jangpura, triple chocolate cheesecake from Kailash Colony, and galauti kebab from Lucknow. He raised questions on the company as the order was delivered within 30 minutes and the shop in Lucknow is more than 500 kilometers away.

Sourav filed a lawsuit against Zomato's 'Legends' service for delivering food from Lucknow to Gurgaon in a very short timeframe, regardless of the distance. Considering his petition, the local court in Saket, Delhi has issued a summons to Zomato.

Civil judge Umesh Kumar acknowledged the plea and has scheduled the matter for the next hearing on March 20, 2024. The lawsuit seeks injunction and damages amounting to Rs 1,00,000, alleging that Zomato's scheme was misleading and false, as mentioned in a Bar and Bench report.

Advocates Tishampati Sen, Anurag Anand and Biyanka Bhatia represented Saurav for his petition which states that the food is not actually being transported from different cities, but it was being stored at various places/warehouses of Zomato.

Also, all the restaurants in Delhi, from which he placed the orders, were approximately 30 kilometers away from his residence, so the commute from Gurgaon to these locations would take over an hour even on a traffic-free day. The petition states that when he tried to track the delivery partner, he found that the food was collected from a third-party location instead of the restaurant.

"That further it is pertinent to note here that the Plaintiff did not even receive the food in the original packaging of the restaurant partner, it came under the packaging of Zomato in a red box, with a mere note indicating the name of the restaurant partner and no other branding. This lack of original packaging adds to the dubiousness of the food delivered to the Plaintiff being authentic," the plea said.

He has requested the court to instruct Zomato not to use the expression 'delivered hot' and instead opt for 'reheated and delivered hot.' "By using deceptive expressions such as "delivered hot", "freshly prepared" and concealing the entire truth from the Plaintiff, when it is under a duty to reveal, Zomato is committing fraud," the suit added.

The petition pointed out a blog post by Zomato CEO Deepinder Goyal that promotes the services under Zomato Legends as, "By leveraging Zomato’s vast network of restaurant partners and delivery partners, deep understanding of food technology, and insights into what our customers love, legendary dishes will be delivered from across India to you, the very next day.”

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