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Coronavirus: People baiting delivery workers with promises of huge tips, then modifying them to $0 after they’ve left

‘When you know that it’s somebody who’s just doing it to game the system and to get their order when they want it, it’s really frustrating’

James Crump@thejamescrump
Saturday 11 April 2020 00:37

People are baiting Instacart shoppers with big tips on their orders and then changing them to zero once they have their items.

Users of the app are offering to pay people huge tips to collect their shopping for them, so they don’t have to leave the house during the coronavirus pandemic, according to CNN.

Instacart has seen a surge in popularity in the last few weeks, as more people are staying inside, amid stay-at-home orders and social distancing advice.

Annaliisa Arambula told the outlet that she accepted an order in March, that was local and came with a $55 tip.

Ms Arambula picked up the order and dropped it off to the customer, but when she got home she saw a message that read: “Customer modified the tip post-delivery”.


The modified figure was $0 and she said: “I was flabbergasted. I couldn’t believe it,” and added that “it’s very demoralising”.

The outlet report that Ms Arambula’s husband has diabetes, so is classified as high risk for the virus.

He is also unemployed, so Ms Arambula is the sole provider of income, and she feels that she is being put at risk of contracting Covid-19 when she goes outside, only for people to modify her tip.

“I don’t pretend to be a hero, like a nurse in a hospital ... but I literally am exposing myself (to coronavirus) and when I return home, exposing my own family to the possibility of transmitting this disease,” she said.

“When you know that it’s somebody who’s just doing it to game the system and to get their order when they want it, it’s really frustrating.”

Carilyn, who only gave CNN her first name, had her tip modified to $0 recently, when a shopper felt it was unethical that she couldn’t find them toilet paper.

“I tried my best. A lot of people are detached from the situation going on,” she said. “They really don’t see what we see. We know things are a no-no, like soap, and toilet paper, you barely find eggs if you’re lucky.”

A spokesperson for Instacart told CNN that they recently changed their settings so that users have to manually put $0 in as the tip, in an attempt to deter people from the practice.

They also allow users to submit reviews of other shoppers, that can be viewed by people in the app.

According to a tracking project hosted by Johns Hopkins University, upwards of 491,358 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the US. The death toll has reached at least 18,316.

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