Instacart takes steps to discourage ‘tip baiting’

The actions come just days after a group of US senators asked the FTC to investigate whether Instacart and other delivery services are engaging in “unfair or deceptive” practices through policies that enable tip baiting. It’s not certain this will satisfy politicians, but Instacart is sending a signal that it’s at least aware of the issue.

Whether or not this helps isn’t clear. The requirement to leave feedback doesn’t include a requirement to tell the truth — Instacart will need to verify the feedback for patterns of behavior. And while deactivating customers might deter some abusers, it’ll only come after the damage has already been done. Still, this could prevent or limit some of the worst damage and ensure that customers leave generous tips out of a genuine desire to reward essential workers, not to trick them into delivering food for low pay.