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DoorDash glitch sends users into a free-food frenzy

Customers allegedly ordered crab legs, tequila, contraceptives and even televisions.
The homepage for DoorDash on a smartphone.
The homepage for DoorDash on a smartphone.Gabby Jones / Bloomberg / Getty Images

Malfunctioning technology may have worked in rare favor for the customers of one popular food service.

On Thursday, July 7, customers of food delivery app DoorDash reported that a brief glitch in the system caused user's accounts to not be charged — no matter what they ordered on the app. As customers noticed the glitch, some allegedly put through massive orders of expensive items like crab legs, tequila, and in at least one case, a 32-inch high-definition television.

"Aww nah, y’all going to jail. DoorDash not having this," one Twitter user posted with a screenshot of a nearly $6,500.00 tequila order on DoorDash.

"I used to pray for times like this to rhyme like this," posted one Facebook user with a screenshot of a $20,000 seafood order. "Ain’t a crab left in that (f—ing) ocean u hear me."

“Doordash glitch went crazy im all stocked up free of charge,” said one user on Twitter with a photo of a bag full of Plan B emergency contraception.

“It happened for me here in Texas, I didn’t realize it til this morning when I looked at my bank,” said another user in a comment on Reddit.

“Thanks a bunch DoorDash,” said another Facebook user, posting a screenshot of her receipt and another photo of a television box and full shopping bags from Midwest big-box store Meijer.

As it is with trending topics on the internet, you may be wondering if people really did get their orders for free. Well, according to a few app users we talked to regarding the mealtime melee, they did. 

“Well, apparently the whole DoorDash system was glitching,” said Cardiya, a DoorDash user who talked about her experience to TODAY Food via direct message. “Everyone’s order was going through for free. Even the driver’s system was glitching as well.”

Cardiya said that “everyone” got free food, and that it included her order from Chili's. She added that some Dashers got big tips. “My food went through for free,” she said.

“Well, I simply got a call last night telling me DoorDash had a glitch in their system. Saw that it actually worked,” Twitter user @ItsJB23_ told TODAY via direct message. “People were using cards with $0 on it or expired cards.”

DoorDash issued the following statement to TODAY:

On the evening of July 7th DoorDash experienced a payment processing issue, and as a result, some users were able to check out without an authorized form of payment for a short period of time. We were subsequently notified that some users were placing fraudulent orders, and we immediately corrected the issue. We’re actively canceling fraudulent orders, and are in touch with merchants impacted to ensure they are compensated for any unauthorized orders they may have received. We work to ensure that we are always offering the highest quality of service to the communities we serve, and we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused by this.

DoorDash Spokesperson

So … what happens now?

Users on social media were quick to point out that DoorDash might end up charging customers for orders that have gone through at a later time, pointing out that users sign a contract agreement when they first sign up. And they might be right — a section in DoorDash terms of service entitled "Payment Terms" states the following:

In the event that the charge to your payment method may incorrectly differ from the total amount, including subtotal, fees, and gratuity, displayed to you at checkout and/or after gratuity is selected, DoorDash reserves the right to make an additional charge to your payment method after the initial charge so that the total amount charged is consistent with the total amount displayed to you at checkout and/or after gratuity is selected.

DoorDash terms of service

Whether this stipulation applies to what costs are “displayed” rather than what ends up actually being charged to users’ accounts remains to be seen, but as a one user pointed out earlier, expired cards may have been used to complete these transactions, making charging users after the fact particularly difficult. 

"From a legal perspective, the DoorDash users were on notice, whether or not they read the terms of the app or not. Because, you know, 99% of people don’t," Ruth Carter, a Phoenix-area contract attorney told TODAY. They said that whether or not users read the service agreement, they're bound by law to the stipulations in that agreement.

"Let’s say you bought something for 50 bucks, and they accidentally only charge you five," Carter added. "The contract says we can come back later and charge your card again 45 bucks to make it up."

While speaking with Carter over the phone, another salient point emerged about the legality of Thursday's looney dash: Knowingly using a fraudulent or expired card to buy something in any other situation would be classified as the well-documented crime known as fraud in the American legal system. Users beware.

Whatever the food delivery service decides to do in response, there’s one additional issue social media couldn’t get over: The blatant lack of tipping by many of the people who participated in the evening's events. 

“Yall messed up for STILL not tipping those doordash drivers. It’s honestly sad,” said one Twitter user, which lead many, many other users to agree.

EDITOR'S NOTE (July 11, 2022 at 12:43 p.m. ET): This article has been updated with a statement from a DoorDash spokesperson.