Mueller's Plan To Protect Restaurant Owners Signed Into Law
January 2, 2021
By Jessica Mathews/News@whmi.com
A local lawmaker’s plan to protect restaurants from being taken advantage of by independent delivery services has been signed into law by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
HB 5770 was sponsored by Republican State Representative Mike Mueller of Linden, who says his plan will protect restaurant owners. The bill amends the Michigan Consumer Protection Act to prohibit a third-party delivery service from using any likeness, trademark, or other intellectual property of a restaurant without obtaining written consent. It would also require a third-party delivery service to be registered to do business in Michigan in order to enter into an agreement to use a restaurant's likeness, trademark, or other intellectual property.
Mueller earlier stated that some delivery services are offering food from restaurants on their apps without first getting permission from the business and it’s costing restaurants money – adding restaurant owners are already struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic. He said restaurants that have active partnerships are being charged fees that are not expressively written in their contracts. Mueller added that while listing a restaurant on a delivery-service app might seem like a good advertising opportunity, it’s not the case when the company is unfairly subjected to service fees. Mueller further raised concerns about food quality. He commented that if a third-party service takes a long time to deliver food, for instance, it can reflect poorly on the restaurant by no fault of its own.
Violations carry a maximum civil fine of $1,000 per violation. The legislation further allows a person who suffered a loss to bring an action to recover actual damages or $5,000 - whichever was greater - in addition to reasonable attorney fees and allow a court to award punitive damages.