So, Instacart deactivated your account and you’re wondering what to do.
Because an Instacart deactivation can disable you from accepting orders and hurt your income, it’s critical to know what infractions lead to deactivation so you can avoid it in the first place.
And, if your Instacart Shopper account is deactivated, you need to know how to process an appeal so you can get back to delivering.
This guide is covering everything you need to know about Instacart’s deactivation policy and what to do if you’re deactivated.
Let’s get to it!
Looking for other ways to make money in the gig economy? Checkout:
- DoorDash: Make money delivering food for the leading food delivery service in North America!
- Steady: Find local gig jobs with the free Steady app!
What Does Instacart Deactivation Mean?
Instacart deactivation means you can no longer work as an independent contractor for Instacart and accept batches. Deactivation can occur for several reasons when you’re in violation of Instacart’s Shopper Agreement.
In other words, if Instacart deactivates your Shopper account, you can’t accept more batches and keep making money with the platform.
You can still cash out any outstanding funds you’re owed, but in short, Instacart Shopper deactivation means you can’t shop and make extra money anymore.
Why Instacart Deactivation Can Happen For Shoppers
Instacart deactivation can occur for dozens of different reasons. But all of the reasons are infractions of the Instacart Shopper agreement you agree to when you start working as a Shopper.
1. Low Shopper Ratings
Jobs like Instacart use a rating system which lets customers rate their overall experience and delivery person after an order is complete.
DoorDash uses a similar system, and on Instacart, customers rate you between 1 and 5 stars.
Now, Instacart doesn’t outline what Shopper rating can lead to deactivation. However, a very low Shopper rating is one of the most common reasons for Shopper deactivation.
Instacart does this to avoid poorly-rated Shoppers from damaging the company’s reputation and giving customers a poor experience.
As a general rule of thumb, you should try and maintain a 4.5 star rating or higher; ideally 5 stars is what you stay at.
You can follow various Instacart Shopper tips and tricks like working on your customer service and being responsive to try and maintain a high rating.
2. Giving Receipts To Customers
While it might surprise you, another reason for Instacart deactivation is giving customers the receipts from the store.
Instacart emails customers their receipts, but it doesn’t want you to give paper copies to customers.
This is because Instacart upcharges on groceries to make a profit, so it looks somewhat bad to give customers a receipt with a bunch of cheaper items.
If customers ever ask you for a receipt, explain that Instacart emails them a receipt and to look in their customer app and email.
3. Delivering Alcohol Incorrectly
One way to make more money each week with Instacart is to become certified to deliver alcohol to people.
However, Instacart deactivation can occur if you don’t follow the correct procedures and deliver alcohol incorrectly.
The two main ways to mess up an alcohol delivery are:
- Not properly checking and recording ID information
- Delivering alcohol to people who are intoxicated
Here’s what Instacart says in its Full Service Shopper Agreement:
“For Shoppers who choose to deliver alcohol through the platform (in areas where such delivery is legally permissible), any failure to comply with relevant alcohol laws and regulations (e.g., not checking ID, forging a customer’s signature, making an unattended delivery on an order containing alcohol, delivering alcohol to a minor or visibly intoxicated person, or making unauthorized alcohol replacements.)”
This is honestly a bit brutal since it’s hard for you to tell if someone has had too much to drink, so always err on the side of caution.
4. Having Too Many Cancellations
Jobs like DoorDash and Instacart thankfully let you decline as many order requests as you want. This is great news since it lets you cherry-pick orders that pay well.
However, once you accept an Instacart batch, you really have to try your best to complete the delivery.
This is because too many cancelled orders can result in Instacart deactivating your Shopper account.
Instacart doesn’t state what cancellation rate results in deactivation, but the bottom line is you should avoid cancelling active orders as much as possible.
5. Being Rude Or Unprofessional
This rule is a bit of a tough one because it’s subjective, but it’s also super important to be aware of.
Instacart deactivation can occur for things like:
- Offensive gestures
- Using slurs
- Conducting yourself in a way that’s discriminatory or could be seen as harassment
The bottom line is you have to be respectful, even if a customer is being unreasonable and causing you to lose your temper!
6. Trying To Defraud Instacart
This is an obvious reason for Instacart deactivation, so don’t try and game the system!
If you try to defraud Instacart in any way shape or form, there’s a strong chance you’ll get caught and lose your Shopper account.
Here are some common types of fraud that lead to Instacart deactivating you:
- Misuse of your payment card
- Trying to game the referral system or any ongoing Shopper promotions
- Encouraging others to defraud Instacart
- Providing inaccurate information during your sign-up process
In short, always be honest and don’t try to trick Instacart or you risk Shopper deactivation!
7. Lying About Completed Orders
This is a subcategory of fraud that can also lead to losing your Instacart account.
Basically, if you mark an order as being complete when it’s not actually complete, you’re risking deactivation if something goes wrong.
You need to make sure you’re following instructions, so if the customer told you to hand off groceries to them, you need to get in touch with them and do just that.
If they’re unreachable, you can follow in-app steps to deal with an unresponsive customer.
And, finally, don’t try and steal groceries by telling Instacart you completed a delivery while the food is still in your trunk!
8. Bringing Someone To Shop With You
A lot of people don’t know this, but you can get your Instacart Shopper account deactivated if someone helps you with shopping.
This is known as co-shopping, and it violates your Shopper Agreement. According to Instacart:
“Delegating responsibilities to someone who does not have an active and valid Instacart Shopper account and whose activities are not conducted through the Instacart platform. Additionally, for customer safety and privacy, the shopper who accepts the order must be present when delivering the order to their customer’s door.”
9. Jeopardizing Food Safety
This is a pretty obvious reason for Instacart deactivating you, and it’s probably one of the fairest and most logical rules.
Basically, if you do anything to mess with food or jeopardize food safety, you’re going to get deactivated.
This means you have to deliver frozen and cold foods in an insulated food bag, and of course, never open any package or tamper with food!
Additionally, you can’t “deliver products that smell like smoke,” which many Shoppers don’t know, so avoid smoking in your car while completing a batch!
10. Not Delivering Prescriptions Properly
Like alcohol deliveries, Instacart Shoppers can also qualify to deliver prescriptions to people and make more money by doing so.
However, messing up a prescription order is one of the fastest ways to get deactivated on Instacart.
The two main ways to mess up a prescription order are:
- Not confirming the customer’s identity
- Leaving a prescription order unattended
Here’s what Instacart says in its policy abou prescription delivery violations:
“For Shoppers who choose to engage in prescription delivery through the platform, any failure to comply with relevant privacy and information security laws and regulations, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and as reflected in Instacart’s Sanctions Policy. This includes failure to comply with applicable prescription delivery laws and regulations related to checking identification or leaving a prescription delivery order unattended.”
11. Having Duplicate Shopper Accounts
It might be tempting to create multiple Instacart Shopper accounts if you want to refer yourself or try to complete different Shopper promotions more than once.
However, multiple Shopper accounts is also a reason for Instacart to deactivate your Shopper accounts.
This falls under the “fraud” section of the Instacart Shopper Agreement, so make sure you only keep one account and don’t game the system!
12. Breaking Local Laws
This is another obvious one, but if you break local laws while you’re working for Instacart, you’re going to get deactivated.
Again, this also includes not delivering alcohol or prescriptions properly, so make sure you’re careful!
13. Not Having Adequate Insurance
You need to have valid auto insurance to deliver groceries as an Instacart Shopper.
Therefore, if Instacart finds out your insurance is void or not up to par, you’re going to get deactivated immediately.
14. Background Check Issues
You have to pass a criminal and driving record background check to become an Instacart Shopper.
But, according to Instacart: “In cases where Instacart discovers after a Shopper signs the Independent Contractor Agreement that the Shopper fails to meet minimum safety standards, in accordance with applicable law, the Shopper’s account may be subject to deactivation.”
In other words, if something changes with your criminal record or driving record, or if you somehow lied the first time you applied, you’re going to get deactivated.
15. Always Being Late
One final reason for Instacart deactivation is to always be late when completing batches.
This goes hand-in-hand with having a low Shopper rating. In short, if you’re always insanely late, you’re going to get deactivated either from a bad rating or Instacart flagging you for being unprofessional.
Extra Reading – DoorDash vs Instacart – Which Side Hustle Is Best?
16. Using Instacart Batch Grabbers
Instacart batch grabbers are applications that automatically claim Instacart batches for you to get an advantage over other shoppers.
Some shoppers use these apps to make more money. But doing so violates your Shoppers terms and conditions and is cause for deactivation.
It might be tempting to use these sorts of apps if Instacart is slow to try and cheat Instacart.
However, doing so is a risk and surefire way to get deactivated by Instacart.
Instacart Deactivation Appeal Process
If Instacart deactivated your account, you’re not completely out of luck!
There is an appeals process you can complete just like with DoorDash deactivation, so there’s a chance you can become an active Shopper again.
Here’s what Instacart says about their appeals process:
“If your account has been deactivated and you have new information or evidence to show it was in error, you may submit evidence to appeal the deactivation decision by responding to the email from our Trust & Safety team notifying you of the deactivation that was sent to the email address associated with your shopper profile.”
What Do Real Instacart Shoppers Say?
Instacart has an appeals process if you get deactivated, but what do other Shoppers say about the process and getting deactivated in the first place?
Well, in this Reddit thread, some Shoppers share a few tips for how they dealt with deactivation:
- Hamspamm says: “I will say I made an honest mistake. Got deactivated. Emailed them, and got reactivated. So I think there’s hope, be adamant!”
- santabarbaraguyy says: “I’ve heard of people asking them as to why they got deactivated on their Facebook or Twitter page and shortly after some private messaging they get reactivated. Good luck.”
- biancaevenc says: “There’s a Facebook group for deactivated IC shoppers. Someone there may be able to help you.”
There are also other threads where Shoppers express the importance of taking photos of groceries when you drop them off!
This is one of the best ways to protect yourself because it proves you completed a delivery in the event a customer tries to scam Instacart.
What To Do If Instacart Deactivates Your Shopper Account?
If Instacart deactivates your account, don’t stress: you have a few options.
The first is to try submitting an Instacart deactivation appeal as outlined above. You can also contact Instacart Shopper support if you don’t get a response.
Aside from that, there are numerous other driving gigs that pay that you can turn to as well.
For starters, you can always try making money with DoorDash, the leading food delivery service in North America.
Making money with Uber Eats is also viable, and you can also try Shipt if you prefer delivering groceries.
The bottom line is that there are lots of ways to make money delivering things, even if you can’t work for Instacart anymore!
Extra Reading – The Best Ways To Make $3,000 Fast.
I hope this guide on Instacart deactivation helps clarify why Shoppers get deactivated and what steps you can take to avoid this in the first place.
There is an appeal process for deactivation which is great news. And, as mentioned, there are lots of other gigs out there if that route fails.
In any case, best of luck with your delivery side hustles!
Want to try other ways to make extra money? Checkout:
Tom is a full-time blogger and freelance writer with a passion for side hustling, passive income, and the gig economy. His work has appeared on dozens of personal finance websites like Money Crashers, The College Investor, Investor Junkie, and more. This Online World is all about providing people with honest ways to make and save more money by using technology. To learn more about Tom, read his About Page!
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