Action 9

'We were 7,000th in line’: Instacart complaints mount as demand soars

Instacart is a third-party vendor delivering food for grocery stores like Publix, and a sudden large growth in demand has triggered a surge of complaints about what’s not delivered.

Customers fill out Instacart shopping lists online for at home delivery.

But Kittie Javitz in Umatilla claims her $270 order disappeared. She claims the delivery person reached her remote home then took off.

“She backed out of the driveway with her kids in the car and sped away with my groceries and we called the store immediately,” Javitz said.

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Online, it showed a delivery was made but Javitz said that person kept her groceries and said complaining to Instacart seemed impossible.

“This went on for hours. Went through two phone batteries trying to get through to them,” Javitz said.

Jeffrey Daniels said an Instacart shopper marked his order delivered but claims the groceries never reached the house.

“I'm not 100% certain what he did with them, but he didn't deliver them to anybody at our complex,” Daniels said.

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Five more consumers contacted Action 9 with Instacart complaints about late deliveries, missing items, surprise fees and they also claimed reaching Instacart customer service took hours, even days.

“When we tried to contact them via the chat room it told us we were seven-thousandth in line. Email was unresponsive,” Daniels said.

Instacart’s Twitter feed shows similar complaints and to the Better Busimess Bureau, where it’s rated A for responding to complaints.

The company's been swamped with orders since the pandemic caused Americans to shelter at home. Instacart announced plans to improve procedures.

BBB president Holly Salmons said consumers should keep track of receipts, responses and credit card charges.

“All of these sites and services are experience large volume, so a little bit of patience goes a long way,” Salmons said.

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Instacart said the company is reviewing all the complaints Action 9 sent the company.

Four days after first contacting Todd Ulrich, Javitz got a full refund.

“We were without food and we were afraid to go out,” Javitz said.

Instacart told Ulrich, it is committed to improving complaint responses, they more than doubled its care team and by next month it will have hired another 15,000 agents.

Document any problems now. Instacart is promising responses to your issues.

Read Instacart’s response below:

First, the health and safety of our entire community — shoppers, customers, and employees — is our first priority. Our goal is to continue to provide an essential service for millions of families, while also serving as an immediate, flexible earnings opportunity for hundreds of thousands of people across North America. In the last four weeks, Instacart has introduced more than 15 new product features, a new COVID-19 Resource Center, new safety supply kits, new health guidelines, new shopper bonuses, new sick leave policies, and pay for those shoppers affected (diagnosed or quarantined) by COVID-19. s as well as the states and regions most impacted by COVID-19.

As consumer demand continues to climb, our teams are working around the clock on a rapid response product roadmap to ensure that we can continue to safely and reliably serve those turning to Instacart as an essential service provider:

  • We most recently launched two new product features — “Fast & Flexible” and “Order Ahead” — designed to increase delivery availability for customers.
  • As we announced in March, we’re bringing on 300,000 new full-service shoppers over the next three months given the increased consumer demand we’ve seen for grocery delivery and pickup in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Since that announcement, our shopper community has grown from 200,000 to more than 350,000 active shoppers.
  • We’re also actively hiring and scaling up our Instacart Care team to meet the increased demand and growth we’re seeing.
  • In response to the demand we’re seeing, we’ve more than doubled our Care team from 1,200 to 3,000 agents over the last two weeks.
  • We’ve already hired and signed an additional 15,000 agents. By May, we will have an Instacart Care organization of 18,000 members actively supporting our customers, shoppers and partners.
  • In addition to our broad hiring efforts, we’re working alongside a number of companies — such as Hilton, Hertz, and others spanning industries including hospitality, travel, retail and more — to bring on experienced support agents whose previous positions have been impacted by the economic downturn.
  • We’re also implementing pre-opening and post-closing hours access for Instacart shoppers in partnership with retailers to promote effective social distancing and meet customer demand at some of the busiest stores.
Todd Ulrich

Todd Ulrich,

I am WFTV's Action 9 Reporter.