MILWAUKEE — Getting your groceries delivered to your doorstep does come with an extra cost. But a Milwaukee woman who thought she was paying a small fee for the service, found out it was much more than that.
Sarah Randles never analyzed a grocery bill more than one from Oct. 2.
"It was just astronomical what they were charging me," said Randles.
Her extra scrutiny is a result of this discovery. She used the grocery delivery service called Shipt to buy food from Meijer. Her Shipt bill was about $107 -- $117 including the tip. But her Meijer bill, which is what the shopper paid for the food at the store, was about $89. Meaning she paid around $28 extra to get her groceries delivered.
"Has this ever happened to you before?" asked TMJ4 Consumer Investigator Kristin Byrne.
"I've never gotten a receipt," Randles answered.
Randles used the grocery delivery service for a while, but this is the first time she could compare prices because she says the Shipt shopper left the Meijer receipt in one of her grocery bags.
The Shipt website does mention an extra $5 on a $35 order, and it also says "when ordering from select retailers, a small service fee will be added at checkout."
Item substitutions can also increase the price.
Randles already pays about $14 a month for the Shipt service, which isn't unusual. Competitors like Amazon Fresh, Postmates, or Instacart have either monthly or annual fees.
The I-Team contacted Shipt. A spokesperson told us the company is focused on saving customers' time and being transparent while doing so. The spokesperson also informed us the price people see in the Shipt app is the price they pay.
Also, the company shares that Shipt prices may vary from retailer to retailer and also from in-store prices. The reason for that is because it covers the costs of picking, packing and processing, in addition to any retailer fees.
The spokesperson also told the I-Team that other companies in the grocery delivery industry take a similar approach and that is not unique to Shipt.
We also reached out to Meijer. A spokesperson provided the below statement:
"Shipt manages the pricing within the Shipt marketplace to cover their costs of providing the service to the customer. We can't speak to what arrangements or cost structures they have in place with other retailers. We also offer our Home Delivery service through Meijer.com, where customers have access to the same as in-store pricing and various promotions. When ordering from Meijer.com, customers can also earn and redeem their mPerks rewards for a flat fee of $7.95 per delivery."
Randles says she uses this service not just because it's convenient. She needs it.
"I'm disabled," Randles said.
"I have POTS, where my heart rate will shoot up or decline drastically and I will just collapse," she explained.
"I don't want to be coughing up all this extra money, but I can't get out of the house, so I don't have a choice," she said.
"Is there a fee that you would feel comfortable paying - like how much of a fee would you be okay with paying?" Byrne asked.
"Well, one if they would be upfront with it, that's I think the biggest part, because then I would be informed."