Food delivery customers complain of tip gouging

ABC7 I-Team Investigation
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Some food delivery customers have complained that drivers are adding extra tips to their bills, and the I-Team has discovered that it's more common than one might think.

What if you paid for your food with a card and discover that you are a victim of tip gouging?

"My reaction at first was like, 'Oh, I guess it was like a mistake,'" said Michael Alpern, a Jimmy Johns customer.

Even if the dollar amount is low, altering tips is a crime that can be reported to police, but usually customers and store managers don't bother.

Consumers should check your bank account regularly and save receipts, but Alpern noticed when he saw his credit card receipt. The receipt showed a $5 tip on a $12 bill, which was $3 more than he wrote in for the tip.

"He reprinted my receipt, put a $5 tip and then forged my signature," Alpern said.

The driver received his tip from Jimmy Johns.

The extra $3 dollars in question was reimbursed to Alpern, said the owner of the store in the 3300-block of North Clark. However, he also said that there was no proof his driver altered the tip or added a signature.

A Jimmy Johns corporate spokesperson said that driver no longer works for the company.

A similar incident happened to Adam Teitelbaum, another Jimmy Johns customer.

"Michael told me that happened to him, I'm like 'Well, I'll take my precautions," Teitelbaum said. "And the next couple days it happened to me as well."

Teitelbaum ordered his sub from a different Jimmy Johns, located in the 40-block of East Chicago Avenue.

Armed with the information from his friend, Teitelbaum took a picture of his store copy receipt, without the delivery driver noticing. Then when he looked at his bank statement, he said he noticed the tip increased by $2.

Jimmy Johns provided him with their store copy of the receipt, showing that higher tip amount.

"It was somewhat disbelief that someone would risk their job over two dollars, granted they may be doing it to other people so obviously that adds up," Teitelbaum said. "It was almost like shocking that this occurred."

Teitelbaum's extra charge was reversed by Jimmy Johns and he was given gift certificates. A store manager said the driver in question was fired. A general manager said they are taking further precautions by going through delivery driver receipts and double checking for accuracy and fraud.

"It is advantageous for them to stay small because a lot of people don't pay attention to details," said John Lucki, a fraud expert and former Chicago police financial crime investigator.

Lucki said he saw this scheme all of the time when he was a police officer.

"You figure a delivery driver who is taking advantage of customers 5, 10, 15 times a day it will add up very quickly," he said.

He says consumers should keep copies of debit and credit card receipts and fill in the tip on the duplicate copy, for your own records. He adds that customers should check

Check the online transaction, not just the pending transaction, but the final sale. Or do what Teitelbaum did and take a picture of the "store copy."

Fraudulent charges can be disputed and reversed with a bank or credit card.

"If consumers care about their pocket they honestly should pay attention and check their credit card statement," Alpern said.
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