Demae-can, one of Japan’s top food delivery services, is consequently seeking lump-sum payments from affected users.

“I’m being charged 60,000 yen (US$547) now. I’m gonna die.” “I received a unilateral message telling me to pay up within two weeks due to a payment error.” These are just a couple of the messages that were posted to social media by users of home food delivery service Demae-can after it came to light on June 30 that an error in payment processing for certain orders over the past three years essentially allowed people to eat delivered food for free.

In a notice to affected users only, Demae-can stated that while a portion of orders placed through mobile phone carriers’ payment apps (namely DoCoMo, au, and SoftBank) were accepted and the food was delivered, a glitch in the system on Demae-can’s end caused the carriers to either refund or cancel any charges.

▼ “Your food, delivery, and service charges come to a grand total of 0 yen. Enjoy!”

Here’s the tough part. The company began accepting mobile phone carrier payments on August 24, 2018 and the glitch seems to have occurred anytime between August 2018 through April 15, 2021. Demae-can is now seeking lump-sum retroactive payments from affected users for that entire duration.

▼ “I’m beginning to regret all of those late-night orders…”

This story leaves us with more questions than available answers at the time of press: Why did it take so long for anyone to catch on to the system error? How many users were affected and how much money was lost? What would happen if someone refuses to pay the money they technically owe Demae-can?

The company is yet to make a formal statement regarding the details. While waiting for further information, let’s focus on a happier memory of the company instead–like that time they teamed up with Yoshinoya to deliver beef bowls to medical workers via drone.

Source: Nikkei XTech via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Pakutaso 1, 2
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