Do Instacart Shoppers Get Penalized for Mistakes?


Young man with his grocery shopping on white

Instacart has a rating system in place for customers to rate their experience. It’s the key measure that tracks how well a Shopper is performing, and the amount of money they make depends on their rating. But do Instacart Shoppers get penalized for mistakes?

Here’s what I learned from looking into it:

Instacart Shoppers do not have their pay docked for making mistakes or receiving a bad review. However, Instacart Shoppers do get rated by customers, and the Instacart system, in turn, rewards higher-rated Shoppers with more orders than those who receive a mediocre or poor rating.

Like most performance systems, Instacart’s too is a two-edged sword. As it should be.

Hardworking shoppers are rewarded, while those whose performance falls short feel the impact on the earnings. Naturally, they’d make less.

So, looked at objectively, the system’s focus is on incentivizing hard workers, not really about penalizing shoppers for mistakes.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how to contact Instacart when something’s wrong with your order and how its rating system impacts shoppers.

Let’s dive right in.

Ready to start ordering from Instacart?

CLICK HERE to go to the Instacart order page.

What happens if your Instacart order is wrong?

If an Instacart delivery or pickup order is wrong, customers contact Instacart’s help center via the app or website, report the error, and receive a prompt response; most often either a refund, or a new delivery of the correct item(s).

Instacart shoppers are doing their best to ensure that all batches (orders) are correctly delivered.

Consider that they get paid based on their performance and that your ratings count toward their having a contract or not. So, they’re motivated to ensure all deliveries are done well. But being human beings, mistakes are bound to happen.

Now and then, an order could be wrong! What do you do if that happens?

Like most reputable organizations, Instacart has a dedicated Help Center that you can contact if your order is wrong and when you need other forms of support.

So, if you got the wrong order, your order wasn’t delivered, or you’re not completely satisfied, you could reach out to Instacart Care.

You could call, email, or send a message via your Instacart app, and you’ll receive a prompt response.

The complaint will be addressed. You’ll be sent an email confirmation immediately and notified when you receive a response.

In the app or via its website, you could also report the following cases:

  • Missing items
  • Incorrect items
  • Damaged items
  • Poor replacements
  • Early/late orders

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How do I report wrong items on Instacart?

Report incorrect Instacart items from a delivery or pickup order via its help center on the app or website. In most cases, they will simply refund the incorrect item, but depending on the issue, delivery of the correct item is possible.

Naturally, you’ll be sent an email confirmation immediately and notified of a fitting response.

A written complaint, I believe, is the way to go. You don’t have to wait on the phone, and there’s documentary evidence everyone can refer to.

On the whole, the company’s help center is pretty fast.

What happens when everything goes well? Should you leave a tip for the shoppers/drivers?

I devoted a recent article of mine to this theme. I explained, among other things, that most Instacart shoppers are not exactly making out like bandits.

And as a token of our appreciation of their service, it’s good that we offer them generous tips. But how much should you tip, and is Instacart’s recommended 5% enough?

Just click the link to read it on my site.

How do I complain about an Instacart shopper?

Customers can rate Instacart Shoppers directly on the Instacart app for either negative service or positive service. Instacart also has a help center on its website, and customers can call a community support member or send an email.

I bet you don’t enjoy complaining about anyone. So, the key is to ensure you always give detailed and clear instructions about what you’ll like them to purchase and deliver for you.

Since their livelihood depends on this income stream, I believe most shoppers are putting in their best. But, it’s your right to complain when you’re not satisfied, and the company’s Help Center is your best bet.

A written complaint is often the best, seeing as all parties can easily refer to it.

But remember, these Instacart Shoppers often work very hard for fairly low pay. So if the Shopper is still at your house, it’s always good to ask questions or resolve problems directly.

But is Instacart a good full-time income?

Check out a recent article of mine where I explored this issue in some depth. I shared the average income to expect, when you’ll get paid, and whether you can make good money with the company.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Do Instacart shoppers see complaints?

Instacart shoppers do see complaints. All the complaints and compliments from customers are seen on their accounts. But, they are reported anonymously so that the customer names and addresses are not included.

This, I believe, is to protect the customers. Shoppers see their ratings, but it’s hard for them to know for a fact which customer gave a particular rating.

So, if a complaint or compliment is “vague”, it’ll be difficult for a shopper to know which customer wrote it.

But, if it’s specific and peculiar, perhaps there’d been an exchange between the shopper and the customer about a particular item, it might be possible for the shopper to know.

Ratings are a normal part of doing business.

So, if you’re curious about whether Instacart shoppers can also rate customers, check out a recent article of mine. In it, I showed that as of the time of writing, there’s no official mechanism on Instacart’s app that allows shoppers to rate customers.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Does Instacart remove your lowest rating?

Instacart does remove a Shopper’s lowest rating. The company’s system is designed such that a Shopper’s lowest rating and ratings relating to what’s outside their control are automatically forgiven.

The rating system is not designed to penalize workers. It’s essentially a feedback mechanism that provides shoppers with data about where to improve.

But, the rating system, even though vital and used by Instacart’s competitors, it’s something a shopper must keep at the top of their mind.

Because its impact can have dramatic effects.

If a shopper consistently gets low ratings, they’re not going to be getting orders! And, if they get high ratings, they can make a lot of money.

Consider what some Instacart workers say:

  • “It only takes 2 customers to give you 4 stars, and poof, you have no more access to view batches worth a damn.”
  • “I just dropped to a 4.94, and I’m more or less fired. I don’t think I can recover from this. I’m not taking $8 batches.“
  • “My rating dipped to 4.97 over another bogus 4-star rating. Now I’m seeing no batches, or they’re disappearing quickly. Instacart’s rating system is so broken.”
  • “I automatically wake up around 3 AM to check my ratings and then go back to bed. It’s horrible how IC has conditioned my brain.”

The best thing you can do is to ensure that you do your best as you go about making your deliveries, and if a customer leaves an unfair complaint, you can always take it up with Instacart.

Ready to get started as a Shopper with Instacart?

Just CLICK HERE to sign up now right on their website.

Did I cover all you wanted to know about Instacart and whether it’s a good full-time job?

In the article, we looked at what to do when your order goes wrong for any reason. Perhaps the wrong item was delivered.

Instacart’s help center is highly responsive. So, there’s nothing to worry about. They’ll provide a solution fast.

I also shared how you can register your complaints about shoppers. Note that shoppers can see your comments, but it’s reported anonymously.

So, they’ll most probably not know it’s from you. What happens to low ratings shoppers get? I explained that the company’s system automatically removes it, which is great if you ask me.

Ready to start ordering from Instacart?

CLICK HERE to go to the Instacart order page.

Jeff Campbell

Hi! I'm Jeff Campbell. I was a leader for Whole Foods Market for over 2 decades. I worked in 9 stores in 4 states, not counting the hundred-plus stores I've assisted in other ways. I was a Global All-Star, a Gold Pen Winner, and won Top-10 Store (company-wide) 3 times in addition to Best New Store (company-wide).

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