Trying to avoid the grocery store these days?
If you order through Instacart, you can have your groceries delivered right to your door from dozens of different supermarkets. However, some customers claim the people grabbing those groceries for you may be helping themselves as well.
Terri Angel loves the convenience of Instacart grocery delivery from stores like Kroger and Costco, among others, but she is getting concerned with mysterious charges that keep showing up on her bill.
"The other day, after I went back and reviewed the receipt, there was a pack of cigarettes on it," she said.
Someone had billed her an extra $7.
"It was a very expensive pack of cigarettes, a brand I haven't heard of, purchased and put on our list," she said. "So it was on our receipt and we did pay for it."
Another day, she was billed for Red Bull energy drink.
"Just recently, on the 8th, a Red Bull was added at the end of the shopping cart," she said. "I guess they were thirsty and needed energy and decided to add on a Red Bull."
She wonders how many others she's missed.
Angel is executive director of a collection of group homes for the disabled, the Point Arc of Northern Kentucky, and orders groceries for them several times a week.
It's those disabled clients, she says, who are being ripped off.
Complaints increase as orders surge
A recent report in USA Today claims a growing number of customers accuse Instacart shoppers of stealing their groceries.
Instacart's Facebook page has a number of complaints of similar mystery charges.
It was pretty much inevitable that during a pandemic, with so many shoppers now ordering online and so many more people having to be hired to fulfill those orders, that we would see an increase in complaints.
Instacart says orders have surged 300% this year, and it has hired tens of thousands of new shoppers to handle the load.
It says each are thoroughly checked out before being hired, but says occasional errors and problems do happen. But It notes that "in these rare instances ... customers should contact Instacart care to have their order refunded."
Terri Angel has one other piece of advice: Go over your receipt every time.
"Absolutely," she said. "Check your bill. Make sure you are checking every item on that receipt and that you received it."
Instacart is an independent company, and is not owned by Kroger, as some people believe. Kroger contracts with it for home delivery.
But Kroger spokeswoman Erin Rolfes says if people have an Instacart problem, Kroger would like to hear about it so they can track it down.
Instacart, meantime, told us customers should reach out with any order or delivery problems (full statement below), so you don't waste your money:
Full Instacart Statement
"We’re seeing the highest customer demand in Instacart history and have more active shoppers on our platform today than ever before picking and delivering groceries for millions of consumers. As consumer demand continues to climb, our teams are working around the clock on a rapid response product roadmap to ensure that we can continue to safely and reliably serve those turning to Instacart as an essential service provider. We've recently started to roll out new “Missing Order” and “Missing Item” features that allow customers to make in-app reports and automatic refund requests in the rare instance that an order is delivered to the wrong address or doesn’t arrive, or an item is missing from the customer’s order. Instacart also has a 24/7 Care organization dedicated to customer and shopper support, as well as a robust Critical Response Team dedicated to immediate needs."
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