Instacart, other online shopping apps may include markups in grocery delivery

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Online grocery shopping can be a safe alternative to going into the stores with a mask right now, but many times you'll pay more for delivery at your doorstep.

You have to pay attention when using apps like Instacart because you could be paying more for each grocery item.

One woman turned to the I-Team when she discovered a markup, so we wanted to find out how people can save money on online groceries.

"We don't want to be out and about in this. It's important for us to stay home, so I feel like it is a really essential service for us at this point to be able to order my food online safely," said Near West Side resident Daniele Bernstein.

She said she understands that many times there are delivery or service fees. She even left a generous tip of almost $20 on her order in question.

However, she had an issue when she saw the Jewel receipt at the bottom of her bag and compared it to what she really paid on the online Instacart receipt.

"I was sort of shocked to discover, looking at my physical in-store receipt, versus my Instacart online receipt," Bernstein told the I-Team.

If you don't count the fees and tip, Bernstein's Instacart bill for the items and tax was $16.76 more compared to the Jewel receipt.

Instacart said many retailers offer everyday store prices on Instacart, but other retail partners may include markups, like Jewel.

"Orders placed through Instacart will reflect unique pricing for third-party services," Jewel Osco said in a statement.

Jewel also offers other options like its own in-house grocery delivery.

Instcart added that it discloses higher price policies and customers can see them by clicking "on the pricing policy link at the top of the retailer's storefront on both the website and in the Instacart app." However, the app does not say exactly what percentage the markup may be per store.

"I would like to know exactly how much I am paying per item, or the percentage, or to be quoted that amount at checkout," said Bernstein.

But there are ways you can save.

"There's no sign-up fee for any free trial that you see through websites like Instacart," said Lauren Greutman, who runs a consumer savings blog and is a debt free life coach.

Greutman said you can also avoid apps all together.

"Call the store directly and see what kind of online shopping program that they have, if they offer curbside pick-up, or if they offer delivery. I know a lot of local grocery stores in my area, specifically the smaller ones, are offering free delivery," she said.

Some other tips to consider:

-You might want to check in with a local mom and pop store.

-If you already pay for a Prime membership through Amazon , you may be able to get free delivery through Whole Foods

-Also, avoid over-clicking and overspending by making a list of what you need and make a menu for the week.

But remember, the convenience may come with a price for consumers.

"They are not doing this to save money they are doing it because they don't want to go in the store," said Greutman. "Somebody is going out there to risk their life so to say, by going shopping for you, so you are paying for that convenience."

When online grocery shopping, use the "notes" features so you can specify exactly what you're looking for when it comes to produce, like if you want green bananas. You can also be specific about what you want if replacement items are needed, all of it to avoid waste.
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