Food delivery platform Foodpanda Malaysia announced its revision of its newly-launched policies after complaints and feedbacks from its merchant partners.

“We appreciate our merchant partners’ candid and constructive feedback. After extensive conversations with them, Foodpanda has decided to revise the Wastage Policy with immediate effect,” Foodpanda Malaysia said in a statement on Friday.

The food delivery platform has also apologized and said it was never its intention to use this policy change to “unfairly apply any ‘hidden’ fees” towards its merchant partners.

“First and foremost, we would like to apologize for any inconvenience that our recent policy may have caused. It was never our intention to use this policy change to unfairly apply any ‘hidden’ fees towards merchant partners on our platform,” Foodpanda said.

Foodpanda Malaysia’s statement came after local media reported that several vendors on the platform have called for protests against ‘hidden’ or promotion charges which caused them to incur losses.

A vendors’ group on Facebook where vendors discussed and complained about several issues they faced, has garnered 7,000 members within two weeks, TechNode Global noted. Some have called for the termination of the platform’s services or turned off the platform’s device for a day to protest and show their dissatisfaction.

In the statement on Friday, Foodpanda claimed that at its core, the Wastage Policy was designed to tackle cases of fraudulent transactions resulting in food wastages, which was why a proposed policy was introduced to rebalance the current cost structure with its merchants.

“Foodpanda is committed to improve and ensure smooth implementation of policies. Therefore, after in-depth discussions with merchant partners, we have decided to review and exempt selected fees and charges from the Wastage Policy,” the company said.

Foodpanda said it would like to reiterate its commitment to maintaining a healthy ecosystem between Foodpanda and its partners.

“To further assist all merchant vendors in need, Foodpanda has also simplified our vendor Help Center to provide more efficient resolutions. All merchant queries will be responded to within 48 hours,” the food delivery platform said.

The food delivery industry in Malaysia has seen more players after the COVID-19 pandemic hit as demand for food delivery services surged. Many have opted to order food online or through apps due to dine-in restrictions to contain the infectious virus. Malaysia budget airline AirAsia Group launched AirAsia Food services in May last year while Sea Ltd’s Shopee Food was officially launched in Klang Valley in September this year. Singapore-headquartered Grab’s GrabFood is another major food delivery platform in Malaysia.

Earlier in July, The Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC) said it has actively engaged with relevant stakeholders to obtain further information, following the public outcry on issues relating to the services of food delivery platform companies, the imposition of exorbitant commission fees by such companies, and the price of food and beverages on food delivery platforms.

MyCC said it was closely monitoring and assessing the situation as to whether the conduct(s) of certain food delivery platform companies is in contravention of the Competition Act 2010 or not.

The commission, along with the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) have met with relevant parties including the food and beverages (F&B) and retail industry players to understand the issues raised by them.

“Based on the series of meetings held, we have identified several concerns and challenges in the industry, in relation to not only competition but also consumerism. The way forward for us is to actively engage with the food delivery platform providers,” MyCC Chief Executive Officer Iskandar Ismail said then.

Foodpanda is a brand under Germany-headquartered multinational online food-delivery Delivery Hero. It has a presence in Thailand, Pakistan, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Romania, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Japan.

Delivery Hero acquired Foodpanda in December 2016.

Malaysia Competition Commission closely monitors food delivery platforms after public outcry on exorbitant commission fees