Instacart shopper ratings won’t affect access to orders during COVID-19 pandemic

As a way to try to ease some of the pressure and low ratings gig workers may face from panicked customers, Instacart has made some changes to its app. The first is that shopper ratings won’t affect their access to orders during the pandemic. Instacart will also forgive all ratings under five stars.

Instacart, in a blog post, said it made this change based on feedback from shoppers.

Shoppers can also cancel batches leading up until they arrive at the store. And if a customer’s entire order is out of stock, Instacart will automatically cancel the order and notify the customer, so that the shopper does not have to contact the support team.

“We’re continuing to see a surge in demand across our platform as consumers increasingly rely on Instacart as an essential service to get the fresh groceries and household goods they need,” an Instacart spokesperson said in a statement. “As part of this growth, we’ve built new product features and increased flexibility for shoppers to help them continue delivering for customers during this busy time. We have more shoppers on the platform than ever before and we have the capacity for more people to join Instacart as a flexible earnings opportunity to pick, pack, and deliver groceries. As customer demand continues, our team is working around the clock to best serve shoppers so they can continue being household heroes for families across North America.”

Lastly, Instacart now allows shoppers to use Apple Pay or Google Pay to checkout, and is working with its retail partners to introduce item caps to prevent customers from ordering more than the in-store purchase limits.

These product changes come a few days after Instacart announced it would offer up to two weeks of pay for any shopper who is diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed in quarantine by a public health authority. In California, some gig workers would rather companies like Instacart, DoorDash and Uber make them W2 employees and offer them benefits like health care, paid sick leave, disability leave and more. Last week, Gig Workers Rising called on California legislators to enforce the new AB-5 law that would ensure companies classify workers as W2 employees instead of independent contractors. It’s worth noting that Instacart is one of the companies working to combat AB5 in a proposed ballot initiative.

“…The occupational accident insurance provisions included in the measure would cover drivers the same as workers compensation insurance covers W2 employees,” a spokesperson for the Protect App-Based Drivers & Services Act told TechCrunch in a statement. “It would cover medical expenses and disability payments for drivers who became ill on the job, either from Coronavirus or another illness. The flexibility, the minimum wage guarantee, the health insurance and the insurance coverage make the ballot measure more imperative now than ever.”