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Does Instacart Refund Missing Items?

Instacart is one of the most dependable online grocery delivery platforms in the nation. But there’s no perfect service. And now and then, mistakes occur and something you ordered doesn’t show up. So does Instacart refund missing items?

Instacart does refund missing items. To request a refund, report the issue to customer support. After they’ve confirmed it, a refund will be processed. An Instacart account credit is instant, whereas a refund credited to a bank account or card can take 5-10 days. 

In this article, we’ll check out themes around whether Instacart refunds missing items and how to request a refund. But we’ll also look at whether you can just get them to send you the missing items and if the Shopper gets penalized for mistakes.

Let’s get into it. 

Ready to start ordering from Instacart?

CLICK HERE to go to the Instacart order page.

Instacart refund missing lg

What happens if Instacart forgets something?

An item that was ordered and not delivered but was paid for would be eligible for a refund or account credit. But it has to be reported by the customer. However, in the event a Shopper simply forgot to deliver all of the shopping bags from their car, it would most likely be re-delivered in a timely manner.

The main thing is to report the issue and get it resolved. 

And if the Shopper messed up, you can give them a lower rating on the app. Too many low ratings and they will start to be given fewer orders. Eventually, repeat errors can get them let go by Instacart.

But the Shopper is not penalized for mistakes, and their pay is not docked when this kind of mistake occurs. 

Instacart bears the cost. It’s almost always a mistake because, as I hinted above, Shoppers are aware of the rating system and would not be careless or deliberately do what may hurt their contract and earnings.

Some Shoppers are so diligent that customers have wondered if they could get the same Shopper to do their deliveries. Is this possible? 

It’s the theme of a recent article of mine where I looked at what happens when you complain about a shopper. I also looked at whether shoppers are free to choose orders and the info you can see about shoppers.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Do Instacart Shoppers get penalized for refunds?

Instacart Shoppers do not get penalized for refunds. Instacart bears the cost of refunds. The way Shoppers are impacted is through the ratings that customers leave. However, it is possible for a Shopper who has multiple issues with refund to be let go. 

But if a Shopper consistently gets low ratings, it will affect their earnings. 

How? They won’t be getting enough orders to justify being a Shopper. The algorithm rewards hardworking and professional Shoppers who get the best ratings.

But those who get multiple low ratings get fewer orders given to them.

If a Shopper makes few mistakes, it would probably not affect them adversely because the rating system is not that punitive. It’s only when a Shopper is becoming a liability, as determined by multiple low ratings, that the algorithm penalizes them.

You can rate Shoppers, but you’ve probably wondered whether they can also rate you. 

Check out a recent article where I looked at whether customers get rated on Instacart. I also looked at whether Shoppers get to choose the orders they want to deliver. And I spoke about whether Shoppers rate customers.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Do some Instacart customers lie about missing items?

Given there is no way to prove an item is missing, it is possible some customers lie about missing items. Even with some photographic evidence of the delivery, it would be easy to keep 1 or more items delivered and claim they were missing.

Instacart Shoppers, in their comments on a popular forum, wrote about their experiences with customers who lie about missing items.

Instacart shoppers must provide feedback to Instacart support about these cases of fraud. 

When complaints are made about customers, their accounts are flagged.  Customers who lie often do it again. Backed by data about this pattern, they would most likely be deactivated from the platform in time.

The best way for Shoppers to protect themselves is to ensure that they take pictures of all items they deliver to each customer and report to Instacart as soon as they sense that something is amiss.

But for large orders that can be pretty hard to do.

Does Instacart refund wrong items?

Instacart does offer refunds for wrong items if a Shopper simply selected an incorrect item or made a substitution without the permission of the customer. Report the issue via the app and either immediately get an Instacart credit or a refund credited to a bank account or card within 5–10-days. 

You have up to 7 days to report issues with your order.

So, if your Instacart order is wrong, simply contact customer support using the Instacart app or website. Report the error, and the issue would be resolved promptly. 

It’s uncommon that Instacart Shoppers would send you with the wrong items though. 

There’s a rating system in place that incentivizes them to do their best because you get to rate them. And their reviews and earnings depend on the ratings. 

So, most would get you the correct items most of the time. 

We’re human beings; errors come with the territory. And it happens even to the best of Shoppers. You have nothing to worry about as you’ll get a refund.

But have you ever wondered whether Instacart Shoppers steal groceries?

I researched it and wrote up my findings in a recent article of mine. In it, I also looked at whether you can get scammed on Instacart. I explored who pays when your items are missing. And whether shoppers can add personal items to your bill.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

How do I request a refund on Instacart?

To request a refund, simply contact Instacart via the app or website, or call 1 (888) 246-7822. Customers have up to 7 days to report issues with an order. Of course, it’s best to report it as soon as possible. 

The below steps show how to ask for a refund:

  • Tap the 3 horizontal lines at the top left corner of the app and tap Your orders.
  • Tap Get help on the specific order you have an issue with.
  • Choose the issue you experienced  
  • If prompted, indicate whether you were charged for the items
  • Select the affected items in your order
  • If prompted, select an Instacart credit or a refund

The account credit is immediate, while the refund to a bank or credit card can take 5 to 10 days.

Of course, for a wrong or damaged item, you could also take it to the store with your Instacart receipt and ask for a credit, replacement, or refund. 


In the article, we looked at whether Instacart refunds missing items. We started with what happens when it forgets something.

Then, we looked at whether its shoppers get penalized for refunds. We looked at whether some customers lie about missing items.

And we wrapped things up by looking at how to request a refund.

Ready to start ordering from Instacart?

CLICK HERE to go to the Instacart order page.

Image by Robin Higgins from PixabayImage by REDQUASAR from Pixabay

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Jeff Campbell