Many of us are having our groceries delivered these days. And you might be using the Instacart app to get them.
The service or delivery fee may seem like a small price to pay for the convenience, but Instacart might be costing you more than you realize.
This story starts with a steak.
A viewer emailed the I-Team after his recent Costco order through Instacart. The price on the packaged steak delivered to his door was $35, but the price on the Instacart receipt was $44.
It happened with the fish he bought, too. The price on the package was $25, but Instacart charged him $31. It's a 24% markup.
"The prices you see on Instacart are often not the same prices you see in the store," said consumer advocate Kevin Brasler.
Brasler, with Consumers Checkbook, said he first noticed product markups on Instacart two years ago. But the I-Team hadn't heard about it. So we did some shopping to see if it's happening with other stores too.
We ordered about a dozen items from Vons using Instacart. We then went shopping at Vons, in person, for those exact same items. And on every single product - from cereal to pasta to peanut butter - we paid a 15-17% markup on Instacart. When you add in the service, delivery fee and tip, we ended up paying 35% more.
"If it's 15-20% higher than what you'd pay yourself to go to the store, it seems like most people would want to know that," said Brasler.
If you click on the fine print on the Instacart app, it does disclose that prices may be higher than in-store prices. According to the app, prices for Albertsons can also be higher using Instacart. For Ralphs, it says prices match those in the store. But Brasler says Instacart's disclosure could be much better.
"Why not, when using Instacart, why don't they show you what the in-store price is versus the price you're paying," said Brasler. "Why not give you an idea as to what the markup is."
Instacart told the I-Team the stores set the prices for its platform. But why are products marked up, and who gets that money? The I-Team asked, but Instacart, Vons and Costco wouldn't say.
Brasler said you often won't pay a markup if you use the store's own delivery app. Sure enough, we checked the prices on Vons' app and there was no markup.