Just Eat is one of the most popular online food delivery services in Europe, Australasia, and Canada. And as with most apps that connect restaurants to customers, they include the customer's number in the order in the event that the restaurant needs to contact you for some reason.
Michelle Midwinter, a 33-year-old from Bristol in the United Kingdom, recently took to Twitter to share an experience she had with Just Eat's customer support after a delivery driver sent her unsolicited and super creepy texts.
Midwinter took to Twitter to share screenshots of the texts that the delivery driver had sent her, as well as screenshots of Just Eat's customer support.
Just a snippet of Just Eat’s response to my receiving unsolicited messages from the guy who had just delivered my food. Nice one Just Eat! Apart from him using my number in this way surely being in breach of privacy laws etc, they don’t really seem to take it seriously do they?? pic.twitter.com/OVZkl0IW5f— Michelle Midwinter (@ShelbyTree) January 15, 2018
The customer service representative offers a £5 ($6) "good will voucher," raising the offer to £10 ($12) when Midwinter labels the offer "outrageous."
In a statement, Midwinter explains:
"There was absolutely no problem with the order and I was very happy. That was until I received a WhatsApp message saying 'hy' from a number I didn't recognise. I asked who it was and the person revealed they had just delivered my food."
"At first I was shocked at the fact someone could approach me in that way, but that turned to feeling very uncomfortable as I realised the guy has my name, address, and phone number. I have never had an issue with using the service before, and certainly no issue from the takeaway in question. I usually order with my boyfriend, and to be honest, he answers the door most of the time and this has certainly never happened to him."
Midwinter goes on to say that she wrote about the incident on Facebook, and found out that two friends had received similar messages from the same driver. That's when she decided to contact Just Eat.
"I didn't feel comfortable going directly to the restaurant as I was worried about any repercussions. I did not want them to find out who made the complaint - after all my privacy had already been breached and how was I to know they would not tell the driver it was me who filed the complaint? This guy has my name, address, and phone number and if he ended up getting fired over this, who knows what he would do with my information as he clearly had no qualms over using it in the first place."
Midwinter says she was shocked by Just Eat's response, and decided to post it on Twitter to see if she could get the attention of the company. The tweet has since been retweeted over 7,000 times and received more than 16,000 likes.
Just Eat has since contacted Midwinter to say that they will be taking action. Midwinter explained that although she has now received help, she was contacted by many women who weren't...
"Countless females have reached out and shared their stories which are much more traumatising than mine. I now realise we have to consider the bigger picture. This is no longer about my person experience, this is about every single female who has been victimised in this way by someone from a company we put our trust in."
Midwinter wrote on Twitter:
That escalated quickly. I am astounded by the amount of females who have contacted me saying a similar thing happened to them. This is no longer about my personal experience, this is about privacy law and safeguarding females. This is clearly a huge problem and it needs to stop https://t.co/m9uObXFjYc— Michelle Midwinter (@ShelbyTree) January 16, 2018
Social media users came forward with similar stories, or messages of support.
This happened to me a few years ago, he kept the number because he liked the sound of my voice and wanted to make friends. I ended up changing my number safe to say i never ordered from that takeaway again.— georgie smith (@Dode227Smith) January 16, 2018
I can't believe people are defending the man. You wanted dinner, not chatting up. ffs.— ♛Carrie♛ (@FennieBee) January 16, 2018
Please report this, definitely - massive breach of data protection laws, no way someone should be able to hold your details like that— Alissa B (@Alissa_Comms) January 16, 2018
I got similar texts from a guy a while back telling me he got my number from his work and wouldn’t tell me who he was or where he worked. I was so freaked out!— Selin ☃️ (@_Selinxo) January 16, 2018
How disgusting. Just Eat definitely need to use a similar system to Uber where they use a phone number that links the driver and customer numbers together when the order is active and stops working after so no private info is revealed.— Ben M (@benmooe) January 16, 2018
You were right to air it. They need a system like Uber have of temp numbers. Hope you have a nice day. Most of us men are just fine and do the washing up. (I am not flirting, don't report me!)— Cotic (@Cotic) January 16, 2018
It's horrible that you've had to go through this, but hopefully some positive change for the future comes out of it.— Danny Palmer (@dannyjpalmer) January 16, 2018
Had someone who came to my meetup once ask my advice on the exact same thing.— Feminists in Dublin (@FemInDublin) January 16, 2018
I told her to contact Just Eat. They said they passed it into the restaurant and the driver was given a warning.
There needs to at least be a written policy against this .
Just Eat told BBC Newsbeat in a statement that it was "deeply concerned" to hear about the incident.
"We are also speaking to this customer offline and if the customer decides this is a criminal matter and reports it to the police, we will of course assist the police with any investigation."
"This lacked empathy and does not reflect our policies or the way Just Eat would expect something like this to be dealt with."
The United Kingdom's Information Commissioner's Office, the public body in charge of upholding information rights, suggested on Twitter that the incident could be a breach of the Data Protection Act, and confirmed that it is investigating.
What do you think of this?