As if a braving stores during a global pandemic wasn’t enough for Instacart’s Shoppers (the gig workers who actually go into the grocery stores and make the deliveries), they’ve also had to deal with tip-baiting. Tip-baiting is when a customer entices a Shopper with the promise of a big tip, only to rescind that tip once the delivery is made. It’s a tactic some customers would use during especially busy times to get their delivery faster.
On Friday, Instacart launched a new feature to help combat tip-baiting. TechCrunch writes that users who remove their tip after the delivery must provide feedback as to why it’s being changed. Users also now have only 24 hours to change a tip, down from the previous three-day window. (Ed. note: why did they allow a three day window in the first place?) Additionally, repeat tip removers will have their accounts deactivated.
Instacart said that tip-baiting wasn’t rampant and represented less than .5 percent of orders.
The move is the latest in a string of changes Instacart has had to make on the fly during this pandemic. The grocery delivery startup was thrust into the limelight over the past months, becoming an essential service as lockdowns and general fear of COVID-19 prevented people from going to the grocery store.
The record-setting, sudden influx of online grocery shoppers meant big changes for Instacart, including boosting the size of it network to 750,000 Shoppers, adding new grocery order features, and providing more health and safety measures for its Shoppers. There’s also been backlash from its Shoppers, many of which went on strike over the inadequacy of those health and safety measures, as well as the company’s default tipping policy.
As states start to re-open, questions remain about if and how people will return to the grocery store. The online grocery shopping boom will most likely come to an end this summer and from there will pivot to see how many e-commerce curious remain once the in-person option is once again available.
In the meantime, tip your Instacart, and every delivery driver, generously!