Instacart shoppers aren’t allowed to give customers the paper receipt from their trip the store when they deliver groceries and other goods for the service.
Dania Maxwell/LA Times via Getty Images
Instacart shoppers aren’t allowed to give customers the paper receipt from the store.But some do anyway. Those receipts can highlight how prices are marked up through Instacart. One TikTok user said she paid $513.77 for $435 worth of groceries, plus fees and tip.
Every time an Instacart shopper fills an order, the Instacart app flashes a reminder: “Don’t give the receipt to a customer or place it in a bag — they get a digital receipt from Instacart.” Shoppers, the term Instacart gives to the gig workers that fulfill orders, are then prompted to slide a button on-screen to acknowledge the requirement.
But sometimes, Instacart customers get ahold of the receipt from the store anyway. And they can come to a startling realization: Items bought through Instacart are often more expensive than they would be in-store. The markups often surprise customers, three Instacart shoppers told Insider. Customers can be particularly annoyed because they also pay various fees and often tip for delivery through Instacart.
The shoppers who spoke with Insider requested anonymity for fear of retaliation from Instacart, including deactivation.
The in-app reminder that Instacart shoppers receive to keep the paper receipt from the store.
One shopper in Oregon told Insider that the receipt policy prevents customers from seeing how much more they pay for items by ordering through Instacart. The markups can add up quickly on Instacart orders with numerous items, such as those orders customers often place at Costco, the shopper said.
“If I gave all my customers receipts, they would stop using Instacart,” the shopper said.
Instacart’s website says that some retailers charge higher prices for items ordered through the service. Customers can view a retailer’s pricing policy through the Instacart app. Instacart emails customers a receipt with a breakdown of Instacart’s prices once the order is delivered.
“While some retailers on the Instacart platform choose to include item markups, our goal is to offer full transparency to customers as they shop on the platform,” Instacart told Insider.
Instacart tells shoppers to keep the print receipt “in case of any necessary returns or if they need to submit a receipt photo.”
Instacart customers don’t always realize the markups exist unless they get a look at the receipt from the store
But some customers get ahold of the store receipt anyway.
TikTok user vane.ssota posted a video last month showing her paper receipt from an Instacart order from a Ralph’s grocery store in California. She did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the video from Insider.
In the video, the TikToker compares the costs of items on her print receipt with those on the receipt that Instacart emailed her. Every item in the order was marked up by between 50 cents and $2, according to the video.
On the receipt from Ralph’s she shows, the items in her order cost $435. Through Instacart, the total was $513.77, plus a service fee of almost $74, a tip of nearly $26, and smaller charges, including a $6 alcohol fee.
“So not only did I pay a $74, almost $75, service fee to Instacart, but I also just gave them away about $78 on markups,” vane.ssota says in the video. “I am mind-blown. I feel robbed, I feel disrespected, and I will never use Instacart again.”
Instacart shoppers don’t directly benefit from the markups on items that Instacart sells
Some markups are substantial. Another Instacart shopper in Virginia recalled a recent order where packs of soda were on sale at a grocery store. The sale price was four packs for $12. But on the same day, Instacart was charging customers $8.99 per pack, regardless of how many customers ordered, according to the shopper.
Not all stores charge more for items sold through Instacart, the shopper said. Some retailers advertise on Instacart that their prices on the app are the same as in-store. “But the rest of them, if it doesn’t say ‘in-store prices,’ you’re paying inflated prices,” the shopper told Insider.
In North Carolina, another Instacart shopper told Insider about a recent trip that involved buying an expensive bottle of wine. At the store, the wine cost $199, but on Instacart, it sold for $241. “Meat and alcohol is the worst markup,” the shopper said. “I think customers are starting to realize that.”
The markups are in addition to the service fees that Instacart charges and any tip that customers add. The shoppers Insider spoke with said they don’t get a cut of any service fees or item markups in their pay. Last month, Instacart cut base pay for shoppers to a minimum of $4 per order, down from $7.
“The customer is who’s paying us, not Instacart,” the shopper in North Carolina said. “We live off of customers’ tips.”
Are you an Instacart shopper or customer with a story to share? Reach out to this reporter at [email protected]m.