During the COVID-19 pandemic, people turned to grocery delivery services like Instacart more than ever before. While meeting demand, Instacart has updated its policies accordingly and, most recently, adjusted its tip system to eliminate tips.
Tip baiting is a practice that occurs when a customer promises large tips to grocery buyers, and after delivery, the tip is reduced or reduced to zero. Big tips encourage buyers to fulfill orders and be more efficient when shopping.
This is particularly problematic because during the coronavirus crisis, some buyers depend on Instacart for their main income and put their health at risk by leaving their homes to fulfill orders.
The baiting issue recently caught the attention of members of the Senate, chaired by Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii. He sent a letter to the founder and CEO of Instacart about it.
“Buyers are endangering their health and safety in order to deliver groceries and other goods to those who have taken shelter there – they should be able to count on reasonable compensation for this risk,” he said. he writes: “Buyers choose the orders to be taken according to the expected compensation, which is largely motivated by the estimated tip. By allowing customers to “bait” buyers with high tips which are then revoked, your company’s compensation policy allows this deception. ”
In the letter, Senator Schatz also called for the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Instacart’s failover system.
The grocery delivery service has since changed its tip system. Now, instead of having three days to adjust the tip, customers will only have 24 hours to do so, according to The Verge. Instacart will also ban customers who consistently use bait. In addition, if a tip is changed after the fact, customers must leave comments and explain why they changed the tip amount.
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