|Your delivery has arrived! (We just aren’t sure who’s dropping it off.)
That’s reportedly the problem at Walmart’s delivery platform, Spark. Employees and drivers told Insider’s Yeji Jesse Lee and Alex Bitter the service has issues with drivers posing under different names across multiple phones.
As a result, other Spark drivers feel they are getting boxed out from getting orders by the handful of drivers in an area working under multiple names.
The trend could also pose a safety issue, according to some drivers, who said those working under an account that doesn’t belong to them might not have undergone a criminal background check.
“We actively monitor and deactivate accounts whenever we become aware of fraud and are continuously rolling out new features and solutions to further prevent this activity,” a Walmart spokesperson told Insider.
The company is rolling out facial recognition and an identity scan system to verify identities and prevent fraud.
Walmart’s issues with Spark are the latest in the laundry list of problems plaguing the broader gig economy.
Competition among drivers remains a real hangup. Instacart shoppers sometimes camp out in parking lots to compete for orders. Things got so bad that Costco told them to knock it off.
Bots have also become a headache (or a leg up) for gig workers. The tech enables users to claim orders quickly. But their usage violates the terms and conditions of most delivery apps.
That’s in addition to gig workers seeing their take-home pay dwindle following the highs of the pandemic. Last month Instacart cut its minimum base pay nearly in half, dropping it from $7 to $4 per order. Now the highest-earning orders are more extreme, with demands like 72-mile drives.
With base pay dropping, drivers largely rely on customers tipping, which has become a hotly debated topic.
The gig economy’s evolution isn’t that different from what’s taking place across tech. After years of operating at a loss to attract customers and grow in size, startups (and their investors) are putting their foot down.
But there’s a lot more at stake when adjustments are made to the gig economy as opposed to the rest of the tech universe. Some rely on it for supplemental — or their entire — income, while older people and those in rural areas might need the services to get groceries.