Weekly Round-Up: DC Instacart Drivers Set to Receive Settlement Money

In the news this week, we have more Uber scams to be on the lookout for, as well as the news about an actual Uber and Lyft challenger in San Francisco! There’s also an Instacart settlement in DC and more in this week’s Weekly Round-Up with senior RSG contributor Paula Lemar.

DC Instacart Drivers Owed Thousands in Refunds After Settlement


Thousands of local Instacart drivers are owed a refund following a settlement the D.C. Attorney General’s Office reached with the delivery service, but only 50 have filed a claim so far.

In 2020 the attorney general sued Instacart for misleading consumers about service fees and failing to pass the full amount of tips left by consumers to the workers. Instacart paid a $1.5 million penalty to resolve the lawsuit.

“Our lawsuit revealed and was based on the fact that Instacart was charging people for fees, leading people to believe those fees were going to the drivers who were delivering meals when in fact those fees were going back to Instacart, which was a violation of our consumer protection laws,” Attorney General Brian L. Schwalb said.

Full-service Instacart workers who made deliveries in D.C. between Oct. 1, 2016, through April 30, 2018, could receive refunds of $150 or more depending on how long they worked for Instacart and how many deliveries they made. The attorney general’s office believes there are possibly 10,000 eligible claimants, but they only have until Saturday to file a claim online. Those who file will be asked for proof of when they worked….

My Take

If you were a driver for Instacart in DC between Oct. 1, 2016, and April 30, 2018, you could be eligible for compensation, and you must file IMMEDIATELY.

Keep an eye out for local settlements that you might be eligible for, and take advantage.

According to the article, you only have until today, Saturday, March 25, 2023, to file!

DoorDash Announces New Retail Partnerships and Shopping Features to Help Consumers Get What They Need Now


Over the past several years, we have drastically accelerated our growth beyond restaurants to meet evolving consumer needs and expectations for convenience.

Since day one, our merchant-first approach has guided us to build products and services that best serve every business on Main Street, helping to bring them online, reach more customers, and compete in new ways.

Now, DoorDash has more than 100,000 non-restaurant stores across our Marketplace and Drive platforms in North America. Today, we’re excited to announce several new retail partners on DoorDash including Lush Cosmetics, Victoria’s Secret, and Party City.

Plus, new shopping features to give consumers a more seamless experience including delivery windows, express delivery, enhanced search within retail stores, and frictionless in-app communication.

“Our mission is to bring consumers all the best of their neighborhoods to their doorstep, including retail, grocery, convenience, and alcohol items, at low cost while saving them time,” said Fuad Hannon, VP of New Verticals at DoorDash.

“Features such as express delivery ensure that our customers get essentials like over-the-counter medicine quickly while enhanced search lets them easily find travel necessities for that last-minute weekend trip. We’re proud to develop these features in partnership with retailers as consumers crave convenience, alongside speed and selection.”…

My Take

DoorDash now partners with Lush Cosmetics, Victoria’s Secret, and Party City.

Once more, DoorDash is expanding its offerings to become a one-stop shop for everyone. Need party supplies? Done. Need food for the party? No problem. Need a gift? Easy.

We’ve recently covered their break into the grocery side of the business.

They’ve also been adding partners left and right over the past couple of years, including package pickup and returns, Facebook Marketplace (after dumping Walmart), etc.

Who will they partner with next? A year ago, one of our roundups featured an article that suggested DoorDash and Lyft merge.

That would certainly be an interesting move for DoorDash, breaking into the rideshare driver end of the gig economy. So far, their main focus has been food and retail delivery.

DoorDash is Adding Support for Cash — But Not In Its Main App


Restaurant delivery service DoorDash announced today it will begin to support the ability for customers to pay with cash for their online orders.

But there’s a catch — the feature is only being rolled out to DoorDash’s white-label delivery solution for restaurants, DoorDash Drive, which allows restaurant owners to offer delivery from their own website or app while tapping into DoorDash’s courier network. The company says that, during tests, Chinese restaurants and pizza shops have been early adopters of the feature.

In fact, when enabled, nearly 20% of pizza orders in the U.S. fulfilled through its DoorDash Drive solution have been paid for using cash, the company said.

The pay-with-cash option is meant to cater to customers who aren’t necessarily comfortable sharing their payment card information online and prefer to use cash, as well as the underbanked who may not have access to online payment options.

Despite the rise in e-commerce and digital payments, there’s still a sizable demographic that continues to use cash, when possible. Other tech giants and retailers in the U.S., like PayPal, Walmart, and Amazon, have similarly targeted this market in years past by offering ways to shop online, then pay with cash….

My Take

It’s nice that cash is still an option. There are times when I’d much rather pay with cash versus using my card. It also makes sense, for now, that DoorDash isn’t making it available on its app, just through its restaurant partners.

As the article said, the most popular have been pizza and Chinese takeout. Those are two established delivery services people have been utilizing long before DoorDash or its competitors have been around. It’s great to keep accommodating the “old” ways.

Plus, as the article points out, there are several people who would rather not input their card information into a website. With how widespread hacking is, it’s safest to keep your cards off of the internet.

Uber and Lyft Finally Have an SF Challenger in Alto. But Will it Survive?


“Can Alto succeed at employee-driven ride-hail?”

That’s the question a TechCrunch article posed in July just days after the San Francisco market launch of Alto — a ride-hailing app with a decidedly different model.

Unlike Uber and Lyft, Alto drivers are actual employees with health care, sick leave, paid time off, and even a 401(k)…

My Take

Five years into Alto’s launch, it does actually look like there is a viable Uber and Lyft competitor out there!

Unlike Uber and Lyft, Alto drivers are actual employees with health care, time off, and even a 401(k) – which actually means Alto isn’t for every driver since many of you express you’d prefer to keep part-time/independent contractor status.

However, for the many drivers who want more protections and benefits, it’s great to see this model can survive. Click through to the article though, as it’s still unclear if Alto can survive in a market like San Francisco and other cities, or if it’s more a niche- and city-specific rideshare company.

Uber Driver Calls for More Warnings From Rideshare Platform After Near $900 Scam


Denzel McAlpine accepted a ride request while driving for Uber Friday morning, a ride that cost him nearly $900.

The Southern Nevada local says he drives up to 150 people around the Las Vegas Strip a week. He’s been an Uber driver for nearly seven years to help pay rent and support his small home renovation business.

“I drive locals and tourists. I pretty much drive all around the city,” McAlpine said outside the 8 News Now station Tuesday morning.

Last week, he hit a milestone: 4,000 trips. But, right now, he’s not celebrating.

He said he accepted a ride after midnight on Friday in the Summerlin area. The ride was canceled by the passenger soon after. Then, he got a phone call from someone claiming they were with Uber Support.

McAlpine said the person offered him a $250 bonus for reaching his driving milestone….

My Take


Anytime someone is telling you to delete the debit card from your account (where you usually receive your payments), it’s a scam. You are getting rid of the way you get paid and uploading a way for them to get paid instead.

Is Uber doing enough to inform their drivers of these kinds of scams? Scams have been part of the deal since the beginning. There will always be someone trying to take your money from you or take advantage of you in some way.

Is it Uber’s responsibility to warn its drivers of these kinds of scams? There are probably more scams out there than Uber can actually keep track of, for starters.

As the drivers wise up to the shenanigans, the scammers change their tactics to something else that works.