3 min read

    3 min read

    Instacart has been plagued by accusations of tip-baiting. It’s been such a big topic that the Senate has now launched an inquiry into the problem – and now it looks like Instacart is listening. Below, RSG contributor Katie Heflin shares Instacart’s announcement, what it means for Instacart shoppers, and her own Instacart tip-baiting story.

    Instacart recently sent out an email letting drivers know they’re making changes to their platform. Is Instacart tip-baiting really over?


    Watch the view below and at YouTube here: Is Instacart tip baiting over?! Instacart changes tipping policy!

    Instacart is listening to us! The latest email from Instacart announces that customers will now have to provide feedback if they decide to change our tip after we have delivered their groceries.

    Instacart has said tip-baiting happens infrequently, but we have heard from many Instacart shoppers – it definitely doesn’t seem like isolated incidents. Unfortunately, this announcement from Instacart does not address when customers lower the tip by a lot – which happens more frequently.

    In the email, Instacart also mentions potentially deactivating customers who are abusing the platform. It appears from the email that Instacart will take a look at the reason why the customer removed the tip and if it becomes a habit, they could be deactivated.

    What is Instacart Tip-Baiting?

    Instacart tip-baiting is when customers offer a big tip for shoppers to accept their order. The Instacart shopper would get excited – sometimes these tips were quite substantial!

    However, unfortunately, with tip-baiting, the shopper would deliver the order and leave and the customer would go into the app and completely remove the tip.

    In most cases, this is completely unfair to the shopper. If customers are mad something was out of stock, or it took longer than expected, it’s not fair to take it out on shoppers who frequently do not have any control about what the line is like for the store or what the store has in stock.

    More Instacart Changes Coming

    In addition to the (potential) reduction in tip-baiting, Instacart is also reducing the tipping window from three days to 24 hours.

    According to the email Instacart sent us shoppers, only .25% of customers adjust their tip after 24 hours, so we’ll see how big of a change this is.

    Instacart is also changing the cash out experience. Instacart is going to let shoppers cash out tips pretty much right away, so if you want a paycheck every day, you can.

    Instacart will also be waiving cash out fees (50 cents) throughout the month of July only.

    My Instacart Tip-Baiting Experience

    I had to make several trips (7-8 trips back and forth) with heavy items like soda. The tip wasn’t huge – $7 – but it would have made a difference!

    A few hours later, I noticed the tip was completely gone.

    Why would people do this when they know you know where they live? Not that RSG condones this behavior at all, but wouldn’t you be concerned about that as a customer? All for a relatively inexpensive tip? Crazy!

    It’s good to see Instacart doing something about some of these problems affecting shoppers. Instacart shoppers are frequently shopping for people who want to remain indoors, healthy for themselves and/or their family members, or for people who can’t go out and shop.

    It makes sense to pay them fairly and not let customers remove tips just so they can get a ‘faster’ order from shoppers who rely on those tips to balance their earnings.

    What do you think about this announcement from Instacart? Do you think it will fix Instacart tip-baiting?

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    -Katie @ RSG

    Harry Campbell

    Harry Campbell

    I'm Harry, the owner and founder of The Rideshare Guy Blog and Podcast. I used to be a full-time engineer but now I'm a rideshare blogger! I write about my experience driving for Uber, Lyft, and other services and my goal is to help drivers earn more money by working smarter, not harder.

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