During the COVID-19 pandemic, people turned more than ever to grocery delivery services like Instacart. 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 their grocery buyers, and then 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 home to fulfill orders.
The issue of baiting has recently drawn the attention of members of the Senate, led by Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii. He sent a letter to the founder and CEO of Instacart about this.
“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 which orders to take based on the expected compensation, which is largely driven by the estimated tip. By allowing customers to” bait “buyers with high tips which are then revoked, the compensation policy of your business allows this deception. “
In the letter, Senator Schatz also called for a possible investigation into the Instacart tipping system by the Federal Trade Commission.
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 systematically use baiting. In addition, if a tip is changed after the fact, customers must leave comments and explain why they changed the tip amount.