The Investigators: Instacart customer fights for refund after shopper goes rogue

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 11:38 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A Mid-South woman says her order was hijacked and her money funded a spree for an Instacart shopper.

For more than a year, Gloria Sanders has used Instacart to order her groceries every two weeks. She’d place her order in the app, an Instacart shopper would pick up the items at the store, and then drop them off for a fee.

“There are some great shoppers. There are some legitimate people that actually shop for you, but I just happened to get a bad one,” said Sanders.

Sanders placed her order and was assigned Instacart shopper Alyssa W. She got a notice when the shopper checked out.

“Normally, 15 or 20 minutes later, someone should be coming but they never showed up,” Sanders said.

Sanders called Instacart.

“They said ‘we can’t get in touch with the shopper,” she said.

That’s when she checked her digital receipt. Her items had been cancelled and replaced with a virtual party platter.

“She had went shopping for herself,” Sanders said.

The four-page receipt shows pasta, soda, brats, salmon, and shrimp.

“You know how people shop for the Fourth of July? That’s what it seems like she was shopping, to go grilling. She’s going to feed her family and then some,” said Sanders.

Sanders called Instacart to report the rogue shopper and demand a refund, but says she was only offered her original order. Similar tales involving the grocery delivery service surfaced when Sanders posted about her experience on Nextdoor.

“This happened to me last October,” one neighbor wrote. “I quit ordering online and had to cancel my credit card and get a new one.”

“This happened to me too, back in February, but on a much smaller scale,” wrote another person.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has received nearly 3,000 Instacart complaints nationwide, but because of Instacart’s quick response to those complaints, the company has an “A” rating with the BBB.

“They’re not accredited with us but they have answered their complaints and we’ve not taken any action, said Daniel Irwin with the Mid-South BBB.

Irwin says there haven’t been any reports that show Instacart actually scammed customers.

“If a person cancels out your order and buys for themselves, what would that be considered?” asked the Investigators.

“Well, that would be a thief. I don’t think Instacart would endorse that at all. That goes against everything they stand for,” Irwin said.

We reached out to Instacart and asked about Sanders’ refund and what happened to the shopper, but were instead offered a statement that says in part, “Instacart shoppers are given background checks and a shopper’s account can be deactivated for fraudulent activity.”

The company also said, “in the rare instance a customer does not receive their order, they contact Instacart Care to have their order fully refunded or rescheduled.”

Sanders says Instacart didn’t offer that refund but Kroger did.

“It was really frustrating because my money was taken in a few seconds and now I have to wait 7 to 10 business days to get my money back,” said Sanders.

That’s why the BBB suggests using a credit card or PayPal when shopping with online grocery delivery services so money isn’t drained from your checking account. The BBB also urges customers to double check orders and their receipts immediately.

“If you realize that something’s missing or something is not right, the sooner you say something the better,” Irwin said.

If there’s an issue with your order, reach out to Instacart Care. The BBB also says it’s possible there was a mix-up or honest mistake, so make your Instacart list as simple as possible and the instructions easy to follow.

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