Zomato is in the news again, this time for having allegedly shortchanged a bunch of small food vendors in Pune. The vendors have gone to court, and have reportedly sued Zomato.
The case relates to a building in Pune, owned by IT major Accenture and seven vendors engaged in catering services to the employees of the company who were spread over several floors in the building.
The vendors have reportedly alleged that in 2017, TongueStun, a startup, entered the scene and was contracted by Accenture to be the aggregator, and seven vendors were asked to operate through TongueStun. There signed contracts with the vendors, as desired by the Accenture management.
Last year, however, Zomato acquired TongueStun and according to the food vendors, things changed after that. According to the Economic Times, once TongueStun became a Zomato subsidiary, the vendors were told that their contracts were the same, but they allege that several clauses had been added.
However, when the vendors were supposed to receive their dues from Zomato, one vendor who had expected to receive Rs 26,370 got just Rs 387 in his account. Another who had thought he would receive over Rs 1 lakh as credit got Rs 9,000.
The vendors claimed the amounts deducted from their dues by Zomato were illegal and as a mark of protest they logged out of the app. On November 26, all these vendors were also reportedly evicted from the premises. Some of them complained they were not even permitted to take out their equipment.
The National Union of Hospitality Industry of India (NUHII) and the National Association for Facility Management and Corporate Caterers have stepped in to support the vendors. Zomato will have to face the issue legally.
Both Zomato and Accenture have defended the action. Zomato has said the vendors were at fault but that they were willing to settle the issue amicably. Accenture has distanced itself saying they will deal with only Zomato.