Some DoorDash workers are demanding higher tips before delivery — and customers are freaking out
- Some DoorDash workers are asking customers for extra tips to deliver their food.
- The workers accept orders, then ask customers for a higher tip before dropping purchases off.
- DoorDash said that it doesn't allow "any form of harassment" toward customers.
Jade's deliveries from a local cafe followed a regular pattern: Order through DoorDash, then watch the meal show up just under an hour later.
But on Sunday, there was an odd message from the DoorDash worker picking up her food: Her order was delayed, so could she add an extra tip? When Jade didn't immediately respond, the DoorDash worker followed up with a series of question marks.
After the driver delivered her food, Jade sent him a message. "As someone who has worked delivery myself for 5+ years, I find asking for an extra tip in very poor taste, and I sincerely hope this is not a normal practice for you," she wrote.
"The fact that this guy actually asked for an extra tip and then blew up my phone with question marks is just wild," she wrote in a Reddit post recounting the experience.
Some DoorDash customers are getting similar requests for additional tips from workers, whom DoorDash calls Dashers, according to posts on social media and conversations that Insider had with a Dasher and two customers. The requests typically come after a Dasher has agreed to pick up an order before delivering the customer's food.
Jade, who lives in California, told Insider she will think twice before ordering food through DoorDash or other third-party delivery apps again. "It is the first time something like this has happened, and it makes me much less likely to order in the future," she told Insider. Insider verified Jade's purchase and is not using her real name for privacy reasons.
Most customers leave a tip, but "we understand the frustration that can come with either not receiving one or receiving a particularly low one," a DoorDash spokesperson told Insider.
"We strictly prohibit any form of harassment, and any Dasher who harasses a customer faces immediate deactivation from the DoorDash platform," the company said.
Other customers have posted on social media about requests for tips while the food was en route. One Reddit user posted screenshots over the weekend of a Dasher asking for a bigger tip. "I'm gonna go ahead and cancel this order if not," the Dasher wrote in a message to the customer.
"Go ahead hustler," the customer responded, according to the screenshot.
The customer told Insider that they eventually received their order. "I had to reach out to Doordash support, and they reassigned the order to a different driver," the customer told Insider.
Another customer, also posting to Reddit, said that their Dasher asked for a higher tip on a $162 order from the Cheesecake Factory.
"I agreed to give the Dasher more money because I do not know this person or how they will react if I say no and for the safety of my family," the customer wrote. "I am truly concerned about how much Dashers are paid that they are getting to the point of having to hustle for extra cash." The customer did not respond to Insider's questions about the interaction.
Workers say that tips for delivering orders through DoorDash, Instacart, Uber Eats, Grubhub, and other services have declined from the early years of their operation. Customers were also more generous with tips early in the pandemic when many wanted to acknowledge front-line workers' efforts.
Many workers say that they only take orders that already have a high tip. Even then, the gig workers say, they risk falling victim to "tip baiting" — when customers promise one tip amount but then lower it after their delivery arrives.
One DoorDash worker speaking to Insider said some Dashers ask for extra tips because the base pay is so low. The Dasher said they receive base pay as low as $2.75 per order. Total payouts can range from $4 to $10 per order, the Dasher said, including extra pay for working during peak order times as well as customer tips.
DoorDash said on average, across the country, Dashers make $25 per hour.
"I think when Dashers constantly get low-paying orders pop up on their screens, it can be extremely discouraging and demoralizing," the Dasher said. They added that they have never asked customers for additional tips but understand how other workers get frustrated with the system.
Jade, the customer in California, also pointed to low pay for Dashers as a likely cause of her driver's request on Sunday.
"Obviously, I think Dashers asking customers for an extra tip after accepting an order is not OK," she told Insider. "But I also think that DoorDash should compensate Dashers more so that they don't feel the need to do this sort of thing in the first place."
Are you a delivery worker for DoorDash or a similar service? Reach out to Alex Bitter at email@example.com or via text/encrypted messaging app Signal at 808-854-4501.