What Happens When You’re Deactivated from Instacart?
Since the new Instacart pay structure rolled out last year in most parts of the country (stay tuned for more) this information may no longer carry the same value for some Instacart shoppers, but it’s good to be aware and protect yourself if you’re still working the Instacart platform. The word Deactivation gets thrown around often and apparently it’s been happening to individuals for numerous reasons. It happened to a friend three months ago, so I decided to share his experience so that it my help others avoid the same, or if you find yourself in the same predicament perhaps some advice that may lend some help.
For purposes of this post, we’ll call my friend Paul. Paul has been a loyal full service Instacart shopper for over three years. He never had any issues besides too many Reliability Incidents (RI) for cancelled shifts last minute or ending the shift early. A week before the Deactivation, Paul noticed a customer claimed an entire order was “missing” and besides the lost five star bonus for the week (old pay system), it was just another annoyance that a full service Instacart shopper dealt with under the former system when customers tried to take advantage of free groceries. You can refer to the following post on how Instacart loses money on these types of customers:
Paul then receives an email stating “Don’t stress” but a customer claimed an order was “missing” and gave him the opportunity to dispute the claim. He disputed the claim because he had in fact delivered all orders that day. He thought this was taken care of, and besides losing his bonus for the week, the worst was probably behind him. Well, not so much. A week later another customer claimed an entire order was missing, and without any notice, Paul’s Instacart Shopper App Home screen looked strange and he wasn’t able to access the Instacart platform. After a long call to Shopper Happiness, the email about his Deactivation finally came through.
So after three years, without question Paul discovered that he was just in fact a NUMBER to Instacart. There were a few issues with Instacart using this “form” email in Paul’s situation:
- There weren’t “multiple customer orders reported as not delivered.” There was only one email sent prior about a missing order and Paul had disputed it.
- The missing order had just been reported the day prior. It’s impossible that Instacart had done this thorough “investigation” before deactivating him.
- Why did Instacart not reach out to Paul first before severing his income, to hear why after three loyal years of no complaints there are suddenly copious amounts of “missing items” being reported?
After the email was received, he called back to Shopper Happiness and their notorious ignorance of rules, policies, basic day to day operations of an Instacart shopper and poor customer service proved once again to be no help whatsoever. As suggested, he filed a dispute and waited. A week later, a response came back that Instacart tracked his GPS and they could not verify that these questionable batches were in fact delivered on this day, and asked if he had additional supporting information. Has anyone ever received the notice while on shift that Instacart “is unable to track your GPS location at this time?”
Calling in the Experts
Paul decided to reach out to other Instacart shoppers on private Facebook Groups to seek some advice from those that had been deactivated, but were reinstated. One reinstated Instacart Shopper in particular had some great advice and recommended Paul make them prove several things in writing:
- Did Instacart have him on GPS when leaving the store to deliver the items?
- Did the customer call Shopper Happiness to complain about the “missing order” or was it marked “missing in the app?”
- If the customer called to complain, ask them to share the recording with you.
- Was the entire order marked missing, or were there items in the original order that weren’t “marked as missing?”
- The customer hasn’t made any previous “missing order” claims.
- The customer hasn’t complained about previous orders being “damaged”
- That Paul didn’t hit “complete order” when miles away from the drop off address because he forgot to hit complete at the time.
- That Paul didn’t receive a “we cannot track your GPS location” that day.
- That Paul hasn’t previously complained numerous times about customers stealing from Instacart by claiming “items were missing.”
He also ended with the fact that he really enjoys providing exceptional customer service, helping customers who are too busy or not able to shop for themselves, the opportunity to feed their families, and that Instacart helped him to support his family. He added that he hoped to continue providing services once again on the Instacart platform and will be extra diligent when delivering orders.
About two weeks later, Paul received an email stating that there is “sufficient evidence to support reactivation of his account,” and that he could continue to pick up hours on the platform. It was a relief, but no apologies offered and they didn’t offer to help him get “Early Access” back after he lost it due to being off the platform for two weeks.
On the side of caution
We are in fact just a number to Instacart, so it’s better to protect ourselves from this same scenario. Even if you aren’t at fault, you are restricted to help only through email which is more like snail mail with Instacart. There is a barrier to speaking to supervisors or another human verbally about your situation and you can be made to feel alone. Instacart hopes people will be disheartened and just give up, but Paul pressed on, demanded Instacart answer his questions and I do believe this is why he was granted access back on the platform. To avoid customers making false claims about missing items:
- If the customer leaves a note on their account to leave items at front door, confirm this in a chat with customer.
- Always take a picture of the bags in front of a customer’s door, and if you can include address on door. Send the picture to customer in chat along with a message like, “per your request items are being left at the front door.”
- Never leave a delivery without a picture and not to the customer for documentation