The dreaded Instacart deactivation. Thousands of shoppers have logged into the grocery delivery app only to see the message that their account is now deactivated or “under review.”
With deactivated accounts, gig workers can’t pick up orders, shop, or earn money. And since you’re an independent contractor and not a direct employee, it can be a frustrating process to contact Instacart to figure out the reason for deactivation. Even if you can speak directly with an Instacart rep, you won’t always get an exact reason for the account suspension.
We’ve got some good news for you though. Account deactivations are incredibly rare. Instacart needs more shoppers and commonly offers sign-up incentives and referral bonuses. If you’re doing your job — making the deliveries and dropping off the orders in a timely manner — you should be fine.
Still, mistakes can happen that cause the review or safety team to deactivate your account. We’ll discuss the most common reasons why an account may be suspended or deactivated, and what you can do to get your Instacart account reactivated again.
Was Your Instacart Account Deactivated?
If your account has been deactivated, you’ll be notified via email and an in-app notification.
In-app, you’ll get a message reading, “Your account has been activated.” You’ll be directed to read a related email from Instacart to learn more.
The email will concisely tell you why your account is now inactive. It will state something like, “Your account has been deactivated due…” and then outline the reason for your account’s deactivation.
If your account is under review, the process is similar. You’ll get an an-app message telling you your account’s under review. Instacart may not tell you why.
Why Do Instacart Drivers Get Deactivated?
Here are some of the most common reasons that an Instacart shopper may find their account deactivated.
Canceling Too Many Orders
While being able to select or decline the orders you want to take is a wonderful gig perk, exercise caution. If you frequently pick up gigs and then cancel them before completion, this will raise your cancellation rate and put your account at risk for suspension. The maximum cancellation rate is 15%.
If you cancel more than 15% of orders you’ve accepted, you’re at risk of having your account deactivated.
And account deactivation rates can happen for cancel rates below 15%. For any cancellation of any one order, your account may be put under immediate review.
To avoid harming your cancellation rate, use this feature sparingly. If you must use it during the delivery process, contact Instacart support to have a chat agent cancel it for you.
For double or triple-batch trips, you can reach out and get support to remove part of the order batch without harming your cancellation rate if you remove that batch before checking out.
Your Instacart account could be deactivated if customers report missing items with their delivery. Receiving more than a couple of complaints like this could lead to an account deactivation, low customer reviews, or both.
Double-check your car to make sure items have not fallen out of the bag or in the trunk. If you can do a quick item count before dropping off the order, this may be helpful. Make sure the number of items in the bags matches the total item count on the receipt.
Also, make sure you are clearly communicating to customers if an item is not in stock. Customers do not get a paper copy of the receipt. They may think they’ve paid for an item that you couldn’t buy because it was not available.
Reports of Orders Not Delivered
This is similar to missing items, but it’s an even more serious offense. If customers complain of never receiving their order, your account will likely be deactivated. It can generally happen upon the first or second complaint.
Some drivers talk of shopper scammers who try to get free groceries by claiming they never got their order.
Take pictures of the order when you drop it off at the doorstep. Even if it’s a “hand it to me” order, you can likely get a picture of the items in front of the door before you ring the bell and complete the hand-off.
Serious Customer Complaints
From time to time, customers will grumble. Maybe they dislike your bag-backing style or feel their driver was surly and should’ve smiled more. Other than lowering your average review score, these are minor complaints that should not impact your standing with the Instacart app.
However, for more serious Instacart customer complaints, your account could get deactivated. These are for serious offenses, like arguing with the customer, cursing, or confrontational or inappropriate behavior.
There is recourse for shoppers. You will have a chance to tell your side of the story. If the customer has no phone (chat, video, photo) proof and you have received no other such allegations, your account will likely be reinstated.
Keep your ratings up. Low ratings can tank your overall shopper profiler score, and over time, lead to your account being canceled, as these scores mean that you are not providing a positive experience to Instacart’s customers.
Your average rating is your overall shopper score, 1 to 5 stars, based on your last 100 deliveries. Some believe the minimum score to aim for is 4.3 or 4.7. Others claim that even one rating less than 5.0 is detrimental.
There isn’t a magical score to maintain to not get deactivated. But do everything you can to provide a pleasant customer experience. This includes communicating with customers when items are out of stock, recommending substitutions, and packaging items with care.
Unauthorized Purchases with Instacart Credit Card
Shoppers are only authorized to purchase items that customers specifically order in the app. Your account will be deactivated if you use the credit card to make a purchase for yourself as this is fraudulent activity.
It may also be considered fraud if you use the card to make unauthorized purchase replacements.
While some shoppers do authorize their shopper to use their best judgment and substitute any missing items if the replacement is significantly more expensive your account could be deactivated. These deactivations can happen several weeks or several months after the shopping trip.
Co-shopping is not permitted and is grounds for immediate account termination. This occurs when you bring another person with you on the shopping trip, including your child, friend, or significant other.
Many gig workers believe this is permitted if they classify their child or co-shopper as a contract worker, but this is untrue. The full independent contractor agreement explicitly states that co-shopping or bringing your child to work with you is not permitted.
In practice, many Instacart shoppers do bring their kids along and are not reprimanded but we do not recommend this. It could lead to a permanent deactivation.
Requesting Too Many Pay Bumps
Shoppers can request a “pay bump” if a shopping batch is canceled after you have already picked up the items or begun the delivery process. Or if heavy pay is missing for orders that weigh 50 pounds or more and contain individual items that weigh more than 8 pounds.
However, if you overuse the bump system, your account will be deactivated. Many shoppers have requested bumps for ineligible orders in order to get an increase in pay.
In the event you do need to request any bumps that are justified, it’s a good idea to reach out to shopper support. It’s easier to proactively communicate with them rather than having to reach out after your account has been closed.
Violation of Alcohol Policy
For any alcohol deliveries, you must hand the order directly to the shopper and verify their age by scanning their driver’s license or state I.D.
If you deliver an alcohol order without scanning their driver’s license, this is a direct policy violation and Instacart will most likely immediately deactivate your account.
Poor Chat Agent Review
This is anecdotal. Some deactivated shoppers claim that their accounts have been deactivated after leaving a poor review for an Instacart support agent.
This is not a claim that’s been verified by the grocery delivery services app, but still, many shoppers will not leave a review below 5 stars for their chat rep out of fear of any agent retaliation.
While this can’t be proven, it seems possible. Instacart.com chat agents have a great deal of discretion. They can choose to flag or deactivate any driver accounts. So always keep it professional and courteous.
Using Batch Grabbers
Instacart batch grabber bots claim to get you more batches by ‘cheating the system,’ but this is against Instacart’s Terms of Service and could result in deactivation.
Fortunately, there are more legitimate ways to get more batches on Instacart.
Identify Verification Failure
The Instacart delivery platform uses a photo identification system to confirm your identity and to prevent you from sharing your app access with anyone else.
The first time you log into the app, you’ll be prompted to take a selfie. For future logins, your selfie will need to “match” the original visual record. Failing the selfie log-in test is not uncommon and always frustrating. Bad lighting, a tilt of the face, or a hairstyle can cause you to fail the login.
If you do fail the test, you will need to reactivate your account. Go through the proscribed steps, upload additional photos, and provide more identification.
Failing a Background Check
If you fail a background check, any account deactivation is likely to remain permanent. Instacart can deactivate your account for old issues on your driving or criminal check that were there when you applied, or for new issues that turn up.
How to Get an Instacart Account Reactivated
It is possible to get your Instacart account reactivated — especially when many deactivations are triggered by accidents.
- Look for the deactivation email notice from Instacart.
- Reply to the Instacart email stating that your account has been deactivated.
- Follow all of the other steps outlined.
- You may need to provide supporting documentation like videos, images, or screen grabs to show receipts, delivered orders, or conversations with the customer.
- Depending on the offense, you may need to email the safety team at email@example.com. You can also contact customer service by phone.
According to other deactivated drivers who have been reactivated, the appeals process usually takes about 48 hours. This means it could take you two (2) days to get your account back and start accepting customer orders again.
Do not try to open a new account or a second Instacart account while you’re waiting. The shopper app doesn’t allow this, and it can look like a scam move as if you are trying to skirt the rules.
You can also reach out on X (formerly Twitter). Many drivers report that @InstacartHelp is very helpful in expediting the appeals process.
Tips to Avoid Instacart Deactivation
While many account deactivations happen by mistake or accident, here are some helpful pointers to avoid getting deactivated.
- Avoid canceling orders: Keep your cancellation rate as low as possible, and only cancel orders when you absolutely must. While your account won’t get deactivated unless you reach a 15% cancel rate, ideally you want to stay at around 10% or less.
- Photograph everything: You want visual proof that you are bringing customers their orders. Take pictures of the food you drop off. Or even before you hand it off, set the order down and take a picture of it in front of the door.
- Keep receipts: Save your receipts — especially for high-value purchase items. Yes, store managers can go back and dig up old receipt records but that is time and hassle. It’s much easier if you can hold onto them. Take a snapshot of the receipt before you store it away.
- Keep Your Ratings High: Keep your overall ratings high. If you have a 4.8-star average rating and then a questionable incident happens, you’re less likely to be deactivated than if you had low ratings to begin with.
- Don’t argue with customers: A customer may be rude, surly, or unreasonable. Don’t argue or escalate. Follow up with customer support to let them know what’s happened.
- Communicate: Proactively communicate with customers, grocery store employees, and with Instacart support when necessary.
- Follow the rules: Follow the rules. Don’t bring your kids with you to work even if you know dozens of other shoppers do it and no one cares. Don’t have your friends help you shop and give them unauthorized access to the app. Behave professionally and ethically.
It can be frustrating if your Instacart account gets deactivated, especially if Instacart is your only source of income. Knowing and following the rules, including the most common reasons why deactivations happen, can help you avoid mistakes and keep your account in good standing.
In the event of a misunderstanding or wrongful deactivation, there is an appeals process that usually takes no more than a handful of days.
If your Instacart account is in good standing right now, that’s great news. But it’s still probably a good idea to sign up for another gig too, like Uber Eats or Shipt, so if your Instacart account ever does get suspended you have another immediate fallback lined up for you to earn money.
And if you are currently deactivated from Instacart, it’s a good idea to look for another gig platform job. Try a couple of options so you can earn money while you appeal your Instacart suspension, and then have a future back-up going forward.