Some users of grocery delivery service Instacart are reportedly luring shoppers with large tips before changing the amount to zero. Customers looking for someone to pick up their orders amid the coronavirus pandemic are using large sums of money to entice Instacart workers, but then go into the app and modify the tips after delivery, according to a Thursday report by CNN.
While the report cites a handful of workers who have had tips drop by as much as $55, an Instacart representative said these instances are rare. In March, customers either increased their tip or didn't adjust it after delivery on 99.5% of orders, according to the representative. They added there's been a 30% increase in customer tips.
Instacart says it's made lowering tips to $0 more difficult by removing the "none" option when customers select a tip amount, forcing them to manually change the amount to $0 if they choose to. The company says this makes it less likely for a customer to remove the tip.
Before Instacart shoppers accept an order or set of orders from different customers, they can look at what's being requested, which store they'll need to go to, and how much they'll get paid. Customers can change their tip amount for up to three days. Some workers reportedly told CNN that money can make up around half of their income.
Delivery apps have seen a boost in usage as people practice physical distancing — and, as a result, cut back on trips to the grocery store when possible — to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the newly identified coronavirus. Earlier this week, Instacart said it's seen a more than 300% rise in demand, and has increased the number of shoppers from 200,000 to 350,000.