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Customers complain of fraudulent charges on grocery deliveries

HOUSTON – As many families try to stay home and stay healthy, the grocery delivery business is booming. But before you place an order, you should know dozens of consumers all over the country said Instacart shoppers are stealing from them.

The problem

Instacart is one of the country’s largest grocery delivery companies. Personal shoppers pick your groceries and deliver them to your doorstep. Thousands of customers use the service, but Houstonian Kim Melchor didn’t even intend to.

She placed a grocery order for delivery to her elderly mom's house with Kroger. Kroger subcontracted Instacart to fill her order.

“However, when we got the products that evening, I went through a checklist with my mom to see what she had received and some of the items were missing,” Melchor explained.

When she checked the app, Melchor said she found about $60 worth of items she didn’t order that were added to her account, but not delivered.

“Two sets of twinkies, two sets of Oreos,” Melchor listed the items the Instacart shopper had added.“She had a real sweet tooth.”

When Melchor called Kroger to report the fraudulent charges, she said someone from the corporate office returned her call. She told her that she would get back in touch within the next few days, but she never did.

Instacart is so swamped, Melchor was never able to reach anyone by email or phone.

“I was on hold for about four hours,” Melchor said, recalling the first night she tried to call the company. “I eventually had to go to bed.”

It’s not a one-time occurrence. On Instacart’s Facebook page, there are dozens of complaints.

Vicki wrote “I was overcharged $40! I put in complaint six days ago and have gotten no help at all.”

Another customer posted, "Double check those receipts, folks. I was charged $73.43 for chicken breasts that I didn't even get."

Still, another complained, “What a scam!!!! I purchased things for over $200 this last Thursday and the delivery was never made!!! And no one is getting back to me from customer service.”

Resolution

When KPRC 2 reached out to Kroger, Melchor had a refund in her account in about four hours. Instacart sent Melchor an apology and offered her a $70 credit and a free delivery.

Kroger told KPRC 2 the Instacart shopper is being investigated for fraud and is no longer with Instacart, and they are looking into the processes to ensure the situation can’t be repeated. Kroger also gave Melchor a $100 gift card.

Protect yourself by doing these 3 things:

  • When Instacart delivers your groceries, check off your items with the person who delivers them before they leave.
  • Because you don't get a receipt from Instacart, check your app to see what items were placed in your order,
  • Make sure your charges match what you were expecting to pay when you placed your order.

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