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Reeling from algorithm glitch, Instacart institutes $3 minimum fee for drivers

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In the algorithm-driven gig economy, it’s sometimes hard for workers to know how much they’re actually getting paid. But it was especially shocking for driver Tom Arrigo of Washington State to learn that a 69-minute grocery-delivery run for Instacart paid him just 80 cents. The customer’s $10 tip, while appreciated by Arrigo, led to even more confusion–backing up claims from drivers and labor organizers that Instacart is lowering the money it pays out when customers tip more.

Instacart strongly denies these claims, but it admits that it goofed with Arrigo’s fee, known as a batch payment. “Despite the infrequency of these instances on the millions of orders that we fulfill, it’s one too many,” Instacart’s combo CFO & COO Ravi Gupta told Fast Company. “And so because of this, over the coming days, we’re going to roll out a batch minimum, which would be a minimum that will come from Instacart on every single batch of $3.”

Gupta calls Arrigo’s situation an “edge case” that occurs one out of 100,000 times; but once was enough to cause plenty of headache for the San Francisco-based company.........

© Fast Company