A Unionville sushi bar is denying allegations of "fraudulent activity" from DoorDash after the company that runs the food delivery app suspended its account and withheld $67,000 at a time when the restaurant is struggling due to the pandemic.
"We've been doing okay on takeouts, but just recently we got on DoorDash right before Christmas and we just have not been receiving any money from them," said Andy Li, co-owner of Yang's Sushi Bar on Highway 7 near Kennedy Road.
For its part, DoorDash says it's withholding the money because it's detected what it considers a suspicious number of large orders on the Yang Sushi account.
In regions where indoor dining is prohibited, many restaurants like Yang's sushi Bar have turned to the apps to survive — even though delivery fees eat into a lot of their profits. Recently the province put a cap on what Uber Eats, DoorDash and SkipTheDishes charge for commission.
When York Region locked down in early December, Li says Yang's Sushi signed up.
Li says an aggressive marketing push over the holidays paid off, adding the restaurant logged almost $67,000 in sales in just a few weeks, but hasn't seen a penny.
DoorDash, however, thinks those sales might be the result of something other than good marketing.
The company says it's withholding the money due to what it considers a suspiciously sharp rise in orders over a short period of time — many exceeding $400. The California-based company told CBC News an automated program it uses to detect potential fraud flagged Yang Sushi Bar's account.
"Upon further investigation, we identified fraudulent activity associated with this account, and are actively working with the merchant to resolve the issue. We hope to find a solution quickly and remain committed to supporting our community," DoorDash told CBC Toronto in an emailed statement.
Li says the restaurant received an email stating that DoorDash found them in violation of their terms of service, and that their account had been deactivated. The email said because of the alleged violation they would not be receiving any money.
"So, I guess they just didn't expect us to have such big sales," said Li, denying any illegal or fraudulent activity on the restaurant's part.
"If it is fraud or like money laundering or any kind of thing, we wouldn't be making all those orders, right? We actually keep track of everything ... even the ingredients we buy and all the labour," Li said.
"We would not be able to survive so easily without that money," he said. "We just want to keep going."
Li says he received a follow-up email from DoorDash telling him in order to get the earnings back, they had to provide a picture or video evidence of at least one specific customer of their choice picking up food.
He says he did not see a requirement for this kind of proof anywhere in the company's terms of service.
"If there's a fraud, they should contact authorities instead of keeping our money and we would be willing to work with them on this too."