Instacart drivers say some customers leave large tips, then change it to $0 after delivery

MOKENA, Ill. -- Some Instacart drivers are calling their customers out and asking them to stop "tip baiting."

They say tip baiting is when a customer enters a large tip when they order and then change the tip to a low amount once they get their items.

Several Instacart drivers say they've been tip baited more than once and they're asking those customers to knock it off.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Kristi Fitzpatrick was driving for a rideshare company. But now with fewer passengers requesting rides, she decided to become an Instacart shopper to help support her family.

"And it was moving very fast," she said. "We were getting lots of orders and it was tremendously helpful."

The Mokena, Illinois woman says she prides herself in shopping efficiently to make sure her customers receive everything they asked for in a timely manner.

But despite her good work, she says she's become the victim of tip baiting.

"They will put a 50, 60, 70 in some cases a $100 tip. Everything goes perfect...and suddenly there's no tip and there's a dollar or there's just basically change," Fitzpatrick said.

Bryant Greening, attorney and co-founder of LegalRideshare, says he's currently working with several Instacart drivers who claim they too have been the victims of tip baiting.

"There are not enough shoppers to fill all the orders being placed, and we're seeing that customers are actually trying to persuade drivers to choose their orders over others and sometimes in nefarious ways," Greening said.

But Instacart tells the WLS-TV I-Team that this is a rare occurrence. The company says they remove the "none" option in the customer tip settings, requiring customers to manually change their tip to $0 if desired and making it less likely that a customer will remove the shopper tip altogether.

In March, Instacart said customers either adjusted their tip upward or did not adjust their tip after delivery on 99.5 percent of orders.

Fitzpatrick says she can't speak to the companies data, but says she knows it's happening to her and other drivers.

While many of her customers have been gracious during these times, she says some others have been insulting.

"I would love to know how they sleep at night," Fitzpatrick said. "People out there that are doing this right now, they have kids, they have families, they're trying to keep up with their bills, too."

Instacart gives customers up to three days to change their tip. The company says since the COVID-19 outbreak in North America, their shoppers' earnings have nearly doubled. The shoppers ABC7 spoke with reiterated that tip baiting is happening and they want customers to do the right thing.
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