I have used Instacart a LOT now. More than 30 times (evidently I am a glutton for punishment or actually crazy expecting the service to miraculously improve somehow). Save yourself. Just go to the damn store, you'll be happier in the long run.
When I first used Instacart, the shoppers were fairly good about communicating changes. My orders were pretty solid. To be fair, I have had one or two shoppers in my long history who were pretty awesome. Apparently they have left, because the shoppers that work now either can't or don't read. Almost every order I have placed as of late has had MAJOR problems (like replacing $8 almond butter with a $27 brand. And yes, I was clear about not wanting to spend more than $8). I order 1/2 pound of lunch meat and end up with 2 pounds, $20 later. Oh - and you want to actually RECEIVE the things you order? Pish-posh! Instacart will charge you for items that don't get delivered. Almost every order is missing something. Even though I am very, very specific about what I want (or don't want), shoppers somehow manage to mangle my orders. Although the shoppers are supposed to offer replacement options, they rarely do. THIS SERVICE IS TERRIBLE.
Review by Offgrid4 years ago
During the interview process and orientation they were always very vague about compensation. You use your own car and gas and not including expenses you'll make about $11.00 ish per hour.
With all the wear and tare on your car and using your own resources, they should pay no less then $25.
I complained about this and they told me to sign up for government assistance and to write off all car expenses so I wouldn't have to pay taxes. So many companies believe it's ok to dump the responsibility of employee compensation on tax payers. We need to boycott ALL companies who do this.
Review by Omna Timiras4 years ago
Managed by 20-something bar floozies which is 1/2 their problem (I saw a Twitter post of one). You'll wind up shopping/delivering not necessarily groceries but bulk cargo in your own vehicle for $5 and a tip if you get lucky.
The average customer in Chicago orders multiple 24 roll packs of toilet paper, beer for the year and 5 cases of Ice Mountain water to be delivered to a 35th floor with no parking area (bring lotsa quarters and budget for tickets and maybe even towing). I had to cancel a delivery order from Costco because I wasn't about to break the struts in my newer passenger vehicle (you get like $7 for Costco orders). Promised tips would be split between the actual shopper and driver for the Costco orders and never saw a nickel. The service is abused and the workers are exploited.
Review by Peerke Pastakia4 years ago
Lincoln Park Costco, blonde glasses wearing personal shopper... must be queen of England. Unfamiliar with InstaCart and TRIED to stop her to ask questions.. without a pause, "sorry, I have no time".... lol, really? Hurry up and go wait in Costco line... Nice way to familiarize people with brand! One less potential customer
Review by Baltzerr4 years ago
I don't dislike grocery shopping but am super busy and have 3 kids so I am thrilled about being able to cross it off my list! This review is for the SF bay area - there seem to be large regional differences in how things are run, but I'm a super-happy customer. Tips:
1- only shop where they say the prices are the same as in-store. I shop Whole Foods and Target and am very satisfied about how I can check out with everything I need without overspending. You can easily shop all the sales and avoid impulse buys. I completely avoid the stores with higher prices - there's just no reason to overspend and the difference can be significant.
2- be specific about what you want and your replacements. Leave notes if there's something specific you want or don't want.
3- Choose your communication method - I like to be texted re: replacements. They are generally very helpful shoppers.
4- I use it as my shopping list, dropping items in the cart over a few days so I won't forget.
5- I sometimes order ahead - on my lunch to get dinner groceries or on Saturday evening for Sunday morning breakfast. There are busy times so don't always count on the 2-hr window as time slots sometimes get booked.
6- look at the size of what you want in the description, don't rely on the picture. Occasionally the picture is of the wrong size item.
7- If you don't like something, you can easily shoot a message through their site and they are very good about issuing refunds or credits. Its been a while since I had any issue, but I do think as a company they have good customer service.
I've had a few mistakes (like ordering 1 mushroom or way too many carrots), but I've now learned the system to where I feel like I have my own personal assistant. Wish I could get this kind of help with my other chores!!
Review by Claymore4 years ago
I had been using Instacart for months and been moderately happy. Why I felt it was rather expensive, clearly the convenience of having someone do the shopping locally was a boon. Also, in the past, I found my shoppers to be excellent. Very aware of changes, very accommodating and following Instacart's promise of contacting the buyer and making sure any replacements were ok. That's what one is tipping 20% for, no? My penultimate order was already a little shaky. The shopper was trying to buy something completely different from what was on my list (ground pork) and which I knew they had at Fairway. There were replacements for "duh" items that I knew they had in the store. And then came yesterday. The shopper, Joy W., half did my order. She didn't do any of the listed replacements, claiming that a bag of popcorn couldn't be replaced (uh huh). She did the same with four other items on a ten item list. She then presented the changes as a fait accompli and when asked to actually replace items, she LIED- yes, lied- and said she was handling it and did not. After she hadn't gotten back to me, I inquired as to what was going on. She first ignored me, and then proceeded to inform me in all caps that she was done with my order. I finally blew and used profanity. Sorry- not good. But in the course of the discourse pretty understandable, and was at home sick and with a sick kid. The upshot- Jen W. in customer service suspended my account, ignored all of my questions, and had to be engaged via email to even deal with any of my concerns. While there is a 1800 number that you can call and the customer service people are lovely, apparently this Jen. W. can make arbitrary decisions, ignore customers, and lie on behalf of employees. The kicker? I can't review Joy for her bad service. Every time I try to click on submit nothing happens. Nice job controlling your ratings, Instacart. The basic line- NOT WORTH THE MONEY. USE FRESHDIRECT. Fresh direct has awesome customer service and amazing workers. Instacart blows.
Review by Cliodhna Smalridge4 years ago
I just never can find time to go to the store. Instacart isn't super cheap and I don't really trust them to pick out anything subjective but they are really great for getting the basics that I can't get delivered from Amazon.
Review by LuckyLoki4 years ago
Terrible first experience with this service. I wanted to order some things for a friend and gave his phone number in the order. I immediately sent a message with my phone number for the shopper to contact me. She didn't get the message until she was actually shopping late in the day and called to tell me that nothing I ordered was available. We finally settled on a few items and I thought my friend would at least get something. She called me back 15 minutes later to tell me Instacart canceled the order and she couldn't do anything about it. I was embarrassed because I had told my friend to expect a surprise delivery & very upset with this service. There is no phone support so they rely on !messages that obviously don't get read in a timely manner. I will not be using Instacart in the future and will be telling everyone I know about it.
Review by Hophead4 years ago
This company is full of deceptive business practices on the customer side as well as how they misrepresent how they pay their field staff
Review by LarryRyan Tolkacz4 years ago
Use google shopping express instead!
Instacart, without my permission created multiple accounts using google sign in. Then, they had the nerve to accuse me of creating multiple accounts against their policy. Honest mistake, right? Should be easily clarified. NOPE! Instead, they charged my bank account $35 dollars over the course of two days! When I asked for a refund, the "lovely" manager decided to open an investigation against me and refused to return my money. I have never been so insulted in my life before.
Review by MissyIndiana4 years ago
For the most part Insta car doesn't excellent job Thursday if it's courteous and in fact I've gotten 99% of my orders without incident however if you have items that are out of stock and you don't take substitutions getting your money back can be a bit of a chore in fact when my last order I had $22 and undelivered items customer Service told me I would have a credit to my credit card in three days since I use online banking I have been watching it's been five days and I've received nothing and in fact I just sent him another note I suspect most of you don't check that carefully I also suspect that unless you're aggressive about your tracking this represents another profit source for the company
Review by FabioDutra4 years ago
The Instacart idea is a great one. Too bad the company doesn't take the work seriously. The problem with Instacart is that you can never, ever rely on getting specific groceries so if you're planning on making anything in particular you're better off going to the store yourself. There is a section of the online form that contains the customer's phone number and there's the promise that employees will call you to discuss replacement items. This has happened once to me. Every other time I either didn't receive a call or was told that they had tried to contact me but couldn't get in touch. When I told them about this problem they told me they would get to the bottom of this "miscommunication". Today I placed an order and they couldn't come up with cucumbers, pears, red bell peppers or grape tomatoes. This order was supposed to come from Fairway and I'm sure if I went there now I'd be able to get those things. Instacart gives you the option of helping to pay their employees' salaries by letting you check off what percentage of your bill you would like to tip them and when you say you'll tip later there's a huge reminder on your receipt that you didn't tip.
Review by Msgoldenhair5 years ago
What seems to have started as a great service has become a nightmare. There shoppers here in Chicago have become increasingly lazy and, well, incompetent. They replace items with anything they think might be close (despite requests for specific replacements); ask for a pound of ham or cheese or anything from the deli and you will probably get some other weight--sometimes 2 pounds; sometimes a quarter of a pound.
When you complain about the service they make false promises of a "free delivery on your next order." SAVE THAT E-MAIL, because when you place your next order they will not only charge you the delivery fee, but then deny they ever told you you were entitled to a free order.
Review by SharpeurNes Lawent5 years ago
Given that I've had negative interactions with two employees of theirs now in the space of a week, I felt I needed to speak up. The most recent was yesterday afternoon at the Whole Foods in Potrero Hill. While grabbing bananas from the produce section, I ran into a woman blocking a narrow isle with her cart and talking on her phone. When I said "Excuse me" she glanced at me out of the corner of her eye, then proceeded to look away and ignore me as if she hadn't heard. A few minutes later I went to check out in the express lane with my bananas, and box from the salad bar and encountered the same woman again. She tried to push past me with about 20 different items in her cart, which I put a stop to, but rolled her eyes and ignored me when I pointed out the sign that said "8 Items or less". When she got to the next cashier, who politely scanned her goods despite the overloaded cart, I clearly overheard her tell them she was with Instacart.
While the Google Shopping employees I've encountered have always been upbeat and polite, Instacart's employees are as ignorant of proper etiquette when interacting with other shoppers, as Uber drivers are of the rules of the road!
Review by Bluesealady Derrow5 years ago
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Review by Vidarth5 years ago
So, I had my first Instacart experience here in Atlanta recently and I'm a bit ticked off.
Now, I know that they have got to make money off more than the delivery fee, so I expect that there is a margin built into the prices I see online. But when I agree to pay $6.99 for a pound of ground beef, and the beef comes marked with a "special price" of $4.99, I send Customer Service a note asking if they are really pocketing the difference, or are going to credit me.
Their rep comes back and says that they can't offer credits for sale prices, so they just made at least a 40% markup on that item. At the end of the day, I know I'm paying for convenience. But that seems a little rich. How many items, without a price marked on them, did I also just get jacked on?
Also, I'm guessing that Instacart pockets the loyalty rewards and discounts from my local Kroger, and that they are somehow getting some of the back-end from the store as well.
Will I use them again? Sparingly, and only in a pinch. Can I wait for Amazon to enter my market? Nope - the sooner the better.
Review by JeffBurl5 years ago
instacart is not cheap. they regularly mark-up prices. i have received boars head turkey slices with the store deli label on it for $9 and instacart charged me $13.49. thinking it was a mistake, their customer service confirmed it was business as usual. spice mark-ups are often even more.
Review by Siphesihle5 years ago
The reason for the "incompetent" service is that Instacart exploits it's workforce and as a former member of said workforce, I can tell you in all honesty that many of us have lost respect for this company. It's focus is on the bottom line for THEM and there is little to no culture of respect for either the workers or the customers. They are the epitome of our current narcissistic culture which puts personal and monetary gain above quality and human values.
Yes if you can afford it, it's convenient but know that there is little integrity in this organization.
Review by Prasoet Derrow6 years ago
Instacart is great. I love using their product a lot.
Review by Milosi Rumyantseva6 years ago
Instacart is the f'ing tits. I love using their service. It's awesome.
Review by Krumrey6 years ago
Update: I feel it's fair to add that they did eventually resolve my problem - refunded the charge and issued me a credit for a free delivery. Took about a week to resolve the issue. I've used them a few times since (I guess I don't know when to quit) and haven't had another issue. Still a little bit of an alarming experience.
I want to give Instacart a good review, because when it works it's a great service.
However, I wouldn't recommend giving them your business. I tried to place an order, there was an error with Instacart's site, and I got message telling me my payment had failed.
The charge still posted to my bank account. Never got groceries, never got as far as confirmation screen. Just gave Instacart $176.56 for nothing.
This was three days ago. There is no listed phone number to contact any kind of support for Instacart (go ahead, look for it), only an email address.
In three days, I have only gotten platitudes and put-offs from the customer service reps who answer that email address who seem unwilling or unable to understand the problem and assurances that "they understand my frustrations."
In the meantime, not only do I not have my groceries, I am also missing the money entirely until they get around to canceling the charge, so I can't use it to buy groceries elsewhere.
Great idea completely ruined by poorly tested software.
Review by Vaed6 years ago
Careful using Instacart: it seems like their products are the same price as in the store and then you just pay them for shipping, but it's not always true. I wanted to buy something at Trader Joe's, and I noticed the price seemed a bit high so I decided to call the local store. The local store was 20%+ less. I was planning on buy 10 items, so that would have been an extra $15 I would have had to pay on top of their shipping cost. Instacart is a good idea but I think they should be clearer about their pricing.
Review by Kimerli Meracle6 years ago
Instacart gives you awesome and cheap grocery delivery from major supermarkets. I don't have a car so picking up heavy things like olive oil and bags of potatoes can be a real pain. But with Instacart, if you spend over $35 it's only $3.99 for delivery in under two hours during regular store business hours. And you can get it even faster for more money (I've never done this though). I don't think it's available in every city yet, but if it's available in your city, I'd definitely give it a try.