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Instacart customers frustrated after shoppers allegedly grocery shop on their dime

Several people have reached with complaints that their Instacart shopper has added items to their cart but kept them for themselves.
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Posted at 7:06 AM, Mar 09, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS — In a world where you can do almost anything virtually, people are choosing to shop online rather than picking their groceries up in person.

“It’s just a convenience for me. If I forgot something for dinner, in two hours, I can have chicken. If I forgot an ingredient, it will be at my door in a few hours,” Julie Dickerson said.

Customers who are using Instacart have reported issues. Several people have reached out to Scripps News Indianapolis with complaints that their Instacart shopper has added items to their cart but kept them for themselves.

“Chili dinner, macaroni, cheese (and) seasoning. It was clearly what he was fixing for dinner that night, and I paid for it,” Dickerson said.

Dickerson said she didn’t notice initially, but she was nickeled and dimed several times. She first realized this after adding a $20 bag of frozen shrimp to her order. She didn’t order or receive it.

“This is theft. I mean there are people that are getting their dinner off of somebody else's credit card," Dickerson said.

Becki Cook has experienced the same issues too.

"When it becomes a necessity for somebody to bring it to you, you want to trust that they are going to do it and not steal from you," Cook said.

Cook said it was a few smaller priced items added to her cart.

“They basically shop for their own groceries, but only enough that each customer doesn’t make a big deal out of it,” Cook said.

Both Cook and Dickerson order delivery through the Kroger App, which partners with Instacart.

"It's disappointing to me because you trust Kroger to have people working for them, or that they are partnered with, that are going to provide a service and not take money from their clients," Cook said.

Kroger said Instacart handles their same-day orders and directed us to them for answers.

"I have received no such complaints recently. Also, if this is an issue with Instacart employees, I’d encourage you to address your questions to Instacart, first. We don’t employ the drivers.

One option, in the area served by Kroger Delivery: if shoppers choose same day grocery delivery, Instacart and its team handles the orders. If customers can wait for the next day, their grocery orders will be delivered by Kroger Delivery associates in the new blue trucks – and no tipping."
Kroger Central Division

A representative from the Instacart customer support line said you should call them if you notice an issue, tell them what happened and they will refund you the money.

Their number is 888-246-7822.

Instacart says a shopper can be deactivated.

"I would give you money if you really needed food that bad. I'd give it to you. You don't have to take it from me," Dickerson said.

Cook said she won't be using Instacart anymore.

"You've been found out, social media is working its magic again and people are sharing stories. So, I think Instacart better address it or they're going to be losing a lot of money," Cook said.

The Better Business Bureau in California (BBB), where Instacart is based, said they have received 5,050 complaints about the company in 3 years.

The complaints are broken up by category:

  • Problems with product or service: 1,730
  • Delivery issues: 530
  • Billing and collection issues: 271
  • Advertising and sales issues: 182
  • Warranty issues: 17

*Note: These numbers only show the complaints that have been categorized. Some complaints don't fit into the above listed categories.
The company does have a B- rating with the BBB of California because there is a government action against them.

The BBB recommends you submit a complaint or a review of your experience.

You can also file a complaint with the FTC, and they can do an internal investigation.

The BBB says if you encounter a problem, make sure you dispute it right away. If Instacart doesn't give you your money back, you can seek a refund from your bank.

The best way to ensure this doesn't happen is to shop for your own groceries.

To read more on the complaints filed through BBB,click here.

This article was written by Kaitlyn Kendall for Scripps News Indianapolis.