Tip baiting is an all-too-common experience for Spark delivery drivers. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, tip baiting is when a customer removes or lowers their tip after a delivery is complete.
Here’s a typical tip bait: You accept a delivery with a $30 payout. You finish the delivery thinking that you did a great job.
But later, you check your earnings and see that the final payout was only $11 because a customer removed a $19 tip. Ouch! That’s a tip bait.
Here’s why tip baiting is possible: Walmart customers have 24 hours to adjust their tip after the order is complete. That means they can increase, decrease, or completely remove your tip.
And tip baiting has become an epidemic on Spark. Customers can tip bait on Uber Eats and Instacart too, but Spark drivers seem to suffer from it the most.
“I’ve never seen an app with as much tip baiting as Spark”
Is there anything you can do about tip baiting? Currently, there’s no way to get compensated when a customer lowers your tip.
You can complain to Spark support, but they won’t take any action. For now, your only option is to remember customers who tip bait you and reject their orders in the future.
How tipping works for Spark orders
Walmart customers can leave a tip for their Spark delivery drivers during or after checkout. There is an option to tip a flat amount or a percentage of the order.
Customers then have 24 hours to adjust a tip. You can raise, lower, or remove the tip.
If you lower or remove the tip, you are tip baiting your driver!
Spark customers: Drivers can see your tip before and after an order
Spark drivers can see when a customer raises or lowers a tip: The earnings statement for each order displays the expected tip and the actual tip.
And Spark drivers can get a rough idea of how much a customer tips before they accept. The payout estimate for an order includes any tip you leave at checkout.
The estimate before an order doesn’t say exactly how much the tip is, but drivers can usually figure out how much a tip is because base pay from Spark is typically around $6.50–$8.50. Any amount more than the typical base pay means the customer left a tip.
Examples of tip bait on Spark
Let’s start with the worst of the worst. The driver below expected a total payout of $79.73, but only got $15.81 after the customer lowered the tip from $63.92 to $10.
Below is a more everyday bait: The tip was reduced by about $10, from $17.23 to $8.18. Still hurts!
This one hurts: From $20 to $0.
The bait below—from $16.44 to $2—might have been a customer realizing that they tipped a percentage of the order instead of a flat amount.
Why do customers tip bait?
There are many reasons why a customer chooses to lower their tip
- Upset about missing items, wrong items, or poor item quality
- Upset about the delivery: Placed in wrong location, came too late or too early etc
- Upset that other directions weren’t followed
- Tipped to get faster service, then removed it to save money
- The customer made the tip by mistake and corrected it
The frustrating thing about tip baiting is that many customer complaints are out of the delivery driver’s control.
Out-of-stock items, poor-quality items, or slow delivery times aren’t the driver’s fault, but many customers will take it out on their driver by reducing tips.
Is tip baiting ever justified?
Many customers feel justified in removing a tip if a serious mistake happens. Maybe your driver completely ignored your delivery instructions, left the order at the wrong address, or made a rude comment to you when they dropped off the order.
Lowering your tip can be justified if your original tip was a mistake. Sometimes customers accidentally tip a percentage of the order instead of a flat amount and only realize their mistake after receiving their final receipt.
What you can do about tip baiting
Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to prevent a customer from lowering or removing a tip, and there is no way to get compensated by Spark support.
Many drivers contact Spark support to complain about tip baiting, but Spark never pays drivers for reduced tips.
And you can report tip baiters to Spark, but currently, they don’t take any action against them.
One thing you can do is keep a record of customers who lower or remove your tip and reject their order if you see their address on a future order.
“I keep track of tip baiters. And I won’t deliver to them again”
Confronting a customer isn’t a good idea. There’s a good chance Spark will deactivate you if a customer complains.
How other delivery apps fight tip baiting
Spark isn’t the only app that has a tip baiting problem. Instacart and Uber Eats have well-known tip baiting problems, but both have taken steps to help with the problem.
Instacart has a tip protection feature that pays drivers up to $10 if a customer significantly reduces a tip.
On Uber Eats, customers only have 1 hour to change their tip. In the past, customers had a full 24 hours, giving people more time to change their mind about a tip.
DoorDash is one of the only delivery apps that doesn’t allow tip baiting. After a DoorDash order is complete, customers can only increase a tip. It’s not possible to lower or remove the tip.
Spark drivers sound off about tip baiting
“Tip baiting should be illegal”
“This is getting ridiculous, tip baited 7x in the last week and a half!”
“Walmart is the only delivery service I’ve dealt with that gives the customer a full 24 hours to change their tip”
“This is why I stopped doing spark…I want actual concrete numbers not what ifs”
“You get everything they want and deliver with care and they STILL drop it to $0”
More help for Spark drivers
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