Instacart

Instacart

 2.7/5 (400 ratings)
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About Instacart

Instacart is a grocery delivery service that allows customers to shop one app and get access to multiple stores. Users can submit a grocery order online or through the app and have groceries delivered straight to their door for a one-time or monthly fee.

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Pros

  • Order from many stores on one order
  • Direct contact with personal shopper
  • Flexible delivery options

Cons

  • Prices may be higher than in store

Bottom Line

Instacart has changed the way people go grocery shopping. It allows for customization and flexible scheduling options. The membership option helps reduce fees for regular users.

How does Instacart work?

Instacart hires background-checked and trained personal shoppers to handle your grocery shopping. All you have to do is put a list together, schedule your delivery, pay online and receive your order. Here’s how it works:

Put your list together
Creating a grocery list on Instacart is simple:
  1. Enter your ZIP code to find out which local grocery stores partner with Instacart.
  2. Browse the different grocery stores and pharmacies to find the items you need. You can browse by item name or department.
  3. Add items to your cart and review your final selections.
  4. Check out by entering your payment info and scheduling a drop-off window. If you are ordering from multiple stores, you need to designate a drop-off time for each location.
  5. You also have the option of sharing a cart with friends or family. This is a great way for families to add what they need to a single cart, but payments can’t be split up.
Replacements
If your shopper gets to the store and an item on your list is not available, they replace it with the product’s closest match, replace it with something different from a list of approved items or skip getting the item altogether. You can choose which option you prefer when creating your grocery list.

If the replacement item is a different price than your original item, you receive a refund or are charged for the difference in cost. The Instacart app lets you communicate with your shopper during the process so you can add things to your order and see replies and updates from the shopper.

Schedule the drop-off
Once you create your list and complete your order, it’s time to pay and schedule a delivery. You can schedule the delivery within a few hours or set a day and time that works with your schedule.

During checkout, you can include delivery instructions for the driver, including gate codes, apartment numbers, parking instructions or ways for the shopper to identify your home.

Track the order and receive your groceries
It’s easy to track your order status with the Instacart app. Tap the “Account” icon, click on “Your orders,” and then tap an order to view its status. You can see the progress of your order directly on the app and get real-time updates on what items the shopper has already picked up for you.

When the shopper leaves the store, you receive a notification about the estimated time of arrival and an option to click and follow the driver’s progress.

Instacart Express

It’s worth looking into Instacart Express if you use the company’s service regularly. This monthly membership gives you access to exclusive benefits such as:

  • No delivery fees on orders of $35 or more
  • Reduced service fees
  • No increased pricing fees during peak delivery hours
  • The ability to shop at a variety of stores with free delivery on the entire order

Instacart prices

While Instacart makes life a little easier for many consumers, this convenience comes with a cost. Instacart charges a few fees to every order, including:

  • A 5% service fee on every non-Instacart Express order.
  • A sliding scale fee for alcohol purchases that varies based on how much alcohol you buy. For example, there is a $2 fee for alcohol orders up to $35 and a $10 fee for alcohol orders of $110 or more. These fees are reduced for Express members.
  • A default tip of 5% is added to every order but can be adjusted to your preference. Tips are always optional, and 100% of your tip goes to the shopper.

You may notice that your service fee changes between the time you make your order and the time your groceries are purchased. This is because the service fee is based on the total cost of the order and replacements can change that total slightly.

An Instacart Express annual membership costs $99. You can also purchase monthly memberships for $9.99 each month.

Instacart FAQ

Do you have to be home for Instacart delivery?
No. Instacart just rolled out a “leave at my door” delivery option. When you choose this option at checkout, the shopper leaves your groceries at the door, takes a photo and uploads the photo to the app so you know your order has arrived.
Does Instacart bring your groceries inside?
No. For safety reasons, shoppers leave your groceries in a predetermined place outside of your home.
Do you tip Instacart?
Yes. Tipping for great service is customary, and 100% of the tip goes to the shopper.
What stores can I order from on Instacart?
Available stores vary based on where you live. Instacart partners with Publix, Costco, CVS, The Fresh Market, Aldi, Kroger and many other popular grocery retailers.

Is Instacart legit?

Instacart is a reputable business that provides a safe, convenient way to buy groceries without needing to visit stores. The service can be a game-changer for busy families — grocery shopping is a time-consuming errand, and having the ability to assign it to someone else frees up hours in your day. Instacart is a great option for those who dislike grocery shopping or want to spend their time doing something else. The fees are minimal, and regular Instacart members can upgrade to Instacart Express and reduce these fees even more.

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Page 1 Reviews 0 - 10
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: June 20, 2022

As a disabled individual, this option would be awesome, but the company does not make corrections for shopper misuse of credit cards. We have had several instances where shoppers charged us for items we did not receive. We have also had instances when shoppers have purchased replacement items without our approval or authorization.

In my most recent experience, the shopper replaced items we specifically listed we wanted a refund for if they were out of stock. Instead, the shopper purchased a replacement item that was completely different than what we originally requested. We contacted Instacart and this is the second time they refused to give us a refund when their shopper spent our money without our authorization. We have pictures and videos of our order, requests for refunds on all items that were out of stock, and we will dispute it with our credit card company since IC is refusing to refund our money. In addition, I believe they hide the list of preferences on each order as when you place your order, you can not see your preferences for the items you request refunds on if they are out of stock. Instacart should know that unauthorized charges on someone's credit card is a criminal offense and stealing from a disabled person holds a higher criminal offense and penalty.

4 people found this review helpful
Rated with 3 stars
Verified Reviewer
Original review: June 18, 2022

I have usually had a good experience with Instacart until recently. I received someone else's order. Tip and delivery fee were not refunded. I placed the order again and received a really bad replacement. They did not refund the full value replacement, just the extra that I had to pay even though the replacement was useless to me. I am not planning on making much use of Instacart going forward.

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    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: June 16, 2022

    I decided to try Instacart because I was short on time. I regret this decision in every way. They were offering a free delivery promotion, but what they don't tell you is there is ALSO a service fee, a tax on the service fee, a checkout bag fee (which might be only NY), fuel surcharge, container fee (also might by NY only) and a tip (which I support because it's not the shopper's fault and they deserve that). Additionally, they charge you MORE per item than if you just go to the supermarket yourself. I'm talking $.50 to $1.00 more on every single item.

    If you call and complain about it, they tell you in the fine print it says "some items may cost more" or some nonsense like that. But it's not "some items". It's EVERY item. I compared the instacart receipt to the paper receipt my shopper showed me. They won't change it. So if you are able bodied, do yourself a favor, especially wtih the price of groceries. Go to the store. It will be cheaper. IF you are dependent on this service, then you're getting double screwed because if you are on a fixed income, you are paying tons of fees. Find a neighbor or family friend to get your food for you. Instacart is a scam and I'll never use them again.

    6 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: June 15, 2022

    So I used Instacart for Shoprite, placed my order, charged my card and said there was no charge but my bank says there is. I will never use that garbage site again. This is very poor site and should be taken down

    4 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: June 15, 2022

    Instacart is a company that scams you. As a meme we since Covid started they’ve done nothing but provide terrible service, food along with misplaced items. They take your money and they’re absolutely ridiculous

    3 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: June 12, 2022

    I’ve been an Instacart express member for a year. I continued using the service for quick and easy access to Costco and Wegmans, two great supermarkets outside of NYC, which makes it very convenient for me. That said, nearly every delivery something went wrong. Spoiled food or wrong item. Even walking the shoppers through their shopping on chat. I’d order bananas and get plantains. The fruit is receive 90% of the time was rotten. Cracked eggs. Order a steak and get a different cut. This is basic stuff you’d expect someone to follow directions.

    Instacart was good about making the corrective refunds here and there. Eventually they just ban you. There’s no option to upload images or send spoiled or wrong items back. After several customer support issues, they blacklist your account. They won’t respond. You get the runaround on the phone to contact order appeals. Order appeals doesn’t get back to you. This company is a bunch of thieves stealing people's money and exploiting both delivery people and the end customer. I’ve since cancelled and started using other services.

    4 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: June 10, 2022

    I've been a user of Instacart for the past two and half years and paid annually for their services. Today was the end of this service for good! While traveling out of state I decided to place an order for groceries since I'd be away for some time. Added a new address to my account and paid with a different credit card that I normally have on file. Lo and behold - they lock my account due to suspicious activity because I could not upload the 2nd form payment which was Apple Pay. How am I to take a screenshot of that! I received a support email from a QUINN (fake name presumably) saying my account was under review. It's now been under review for 2 days. How long does it take for someone to review and release my account?! 2nd email was sent asking for an update, crickets, nothing.

    Finally, I decided to call them and clicked on their Customer Support button that took me to another page reading these exact words: "You need to be logged in to view this page." NOW how in God's name is one to get support for a locked account?! Can Instacart answer this? Finally gave in and called their Senior Support number listed and selected option 2 for non-senior support. WTF! I mean come on now Instacart - not making it easy are you? Smh. Finally got ahold of an agent who provided no support whatsoever in making the matter better. Unfortunately, there is nothing much he can do but wait for the folks reviewing to finish reviewing my account to unlock it. Just WOW! That's great! I pay a yearly fee to use this crappy platform. I do not recommend anyone to waste their time with Instacart. This review doesn't even include all the mishaps that occurred with the shoppers and the app, just too many. Worthless customer service! A complete joke.

    2 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
    Original review: June 9, 2022

    I have been using Instacart for the past 2 years and while I understood I was probably paying a little up charge for items on top of the fees that are transparent, I was appalled when I asked the shopper to bring me a paper receipt with my last shopping experience. Every item is up charged some by $3 to $4 dollars. The one that absolutely amazed me was a charge of $8.59 for 1 cucumber that the grocery store had only charged them .79 cents for.

    After reaching out to their customer service via email and getting the same auto response that the retailer sets the price, I called and spoke to a representative that informed me after checking that was indeed their price for "a" cucumber from this store, but he would reimburse me if I was uncomfortable with that! Seriously?

    I have cancelled my account and will no longer use their service, but please buyer beware and check the premium this company is charging. I don't mind paying a fee for a service but it needs to be transparent. An article I read on the owner of Instacart detailed how he has become a billionaire over the past 2 years. With this kind of markup I don't doubt it.

    4 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: June 7, 2022

    My order placed for delivery of prepared food from Publix was unceremoniously cancelled without justification or even a phone call. This is third time they have cancelled my order in this way. The first two times were during the pandemic when I was trying to send care packages to family members in different states who had COVID. Their service is unreliable and disappointing.

    4 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: June 7, 2022

    I have been unable to place an order with Instacart to order my groceries from Publix. When I checkout it does not provide any delivery options. I am unable to select a delivery time. This happens when I attempt via ordering my groceries via Publix as well as on Instacart website and the Instacart app. This is only happening with ordering from Publix. It is not happening from other stores. I reported this to Instacart Help Center on 6/1. I spoke with Anita who created ticket **. I was told she would escalate the issue and someone would follow up with me in 24 hours. I did not feel confident that she was going to have this address. So I also spoke with the Help Center via Instacart app via a chat. That person had me send screenshots and also informed me someone would follow up with me in 24 hours.

    Today is 6/7. Have never heard back from anyone. So I called the Help Center today and spoke with Faith who informed me there were no notes on the issue on my account. When I provided her the ticket #** then she was able to listen to the conversation I had with Anita on 6/1. She then told me the problem is a system issue that had been resolved. I explain how was it resolved if nobody followed up with me to confirm that. Because the issue is still happening. I asked to speak with a manager but was told he was not available. She said someone would follow up with me in 24 hours. I am not confident I will receive a follow to this issue as I have been told 2 times previously they would do so and no follow up was provided. Poor customer service!!

    3 people found this review helpful
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    Instacart Company Information

    Company Name:
    Instacart
    Website:
    www.instacart.com