Instacart Is Changing Its Policies After Customers Were Accused Of ‘Tip-Baiting’

Alexis Morillo
Photo credit: Michael Loccisano - Getty Images

From Good Housekeeping

During the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals have turned to grocery delivery services like Instacart more than ever before. While keeping up with demand, Instacart has updated their policies accordingly, and most recently adjusted their tipping system to eliminate tip-baiting.

Tip-baiting is a practice that happens when a customer promises large tips for their grocery shoppers, and then after the delivery changes the tip to a lesser amount or down to zero. Big tips entice shoppers to fulfill orders and be more efficient when shopping.

This is especially problematic because during the coronavirus crisis, some shoppers depend on Instacart for their main income and are putting their health on the line by leaving their homes to fill orders.

The issue of tip-baiting has gotten recent attention from members of the senate, led by Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii. He sent a letter to the founder and CEO of Instacart about this concern.

"Shoppers risk their health and safety in order to deliver groceries and other goods to people who are sheltering in place—they should be able to count on reasonable compensation for that risk," he wrote: "Shoppers choose which orders to take based on the expected compensation, which is largely driven by the estimated tip. By permitting customers to 'bait' shoppers with high tips that are then revoked, your company’s compensation policy enables this deception."

In the letter, Senator Schatz also called for a potential investigation of Instacart's tipping system by the Federal Trade Commission.

The grocery delivery service has since made changes to their tipping system. Now, instead of having three days to adjust a tip amount, customers will only have 24 hours to do so, according to The Verge. Instacart will also ban customers who consistently use tip-baiting. Additionally, if a tip is altered after the fact, customers will be required to leave feedback and explain why they changed the tip amount.

You Might Also Like