You are here

Amazon Flex didn’t deliver as promised

Share this page

Using your own vehicle to deliver packages for Amazon and earn extra money. Sounds good, right? But did Amazon often keep the tips its drivers made when delivering for its Amazon Flex program? According to the complaint the FTC issued today, the answer is yes. 

In its app and numerous marketing materials, Amazon advertises that drivers can earn $18 to $25 per hour — plus 100% of customer tips. According to the FTC, during a two-and-a-half year period from 2016 to 2019, Amazon Flex used about $61.7 million in tips to subsidize drivers’ base pay. Customers thought they were tipping drivers — not Amazon — and drivers were left shortchanged.

The FTC also says that Amazon, despite receiving hundreds of complaints from drivers who saw their pay decrease, continued diverting drivers’ tips until the FTC notified the company of its investigation.

The settlement announced today would require Amazon to pay back the full $61.7 million to drivers, provide only accurate information about tips and pay to both customers and drivers, and get drivers’ consent before changing how it handles tips in the future.   

Here are some things to consider before you become a gig worker.

  • Do your research. Search for information about the company online, like how it pays its workers and any other conditions of the job.
  • Talk to other gig workers. Reach out to your friends or family members who are gig workers and speak with them about their experiences, how they are paid, and how the company handles tips. 
  • Compare earnings. Will you be paid hourly? By gig? Will you get every dollar a customer tips you? And will the company reduce your pay based on the tips you receive? Once you’re on the job, ask the company for a breakdown of your earnings so you can be sure you’re getting what they promised.
  • Compare costs and coverage. If you’re considering becoming a driver using your own vehicle, estimate your gas and maintenance costs, and check your car insurance. Does your auto policy cover you while you’re driving for work?
  • Report your concerns. If a company doesn’t deliver on its promises, report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

This blog was updated on February 4, 2021.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money
Scam Tags:  Avoiding Scams

Comments

I use Amazon a lot. But, I don't know how to tip the drivers. I get a survey regarding the drivers job but nothing else.

For amazon fresh and prime (2hour delivery) or Wholefoods orders.

The tipping system only works when ordering amazon fresh (foods) or from Whole Foods.. Not from regular packages from prime..

There's no tipping for regular package drivers. This is for drivers who delivered Prime Now or Whole Foods orders, which are 2-hour deliveries.

That's unbelievable - like Amazon needs the money more than it's working people. If they'll rip off their own employees they'll rip off anyone - customers, FAMILY - geez
I'm done with anything Amazon now.

Thank you FTC!

UNFORGIVABLE.

I don’t understand why the FTC doesn’t also fine these companies at least an equal amount in addition to the pay back. Where is the deterrent factor when they only have to pay back what they illegally gained?

The comment posted by ljw | February 2, 2021, is a valid question. FTC, are you allowing Amazon to get off with a small slap on the back of a hand? What are the criteria for you to apply punitive measures?
I would hope that the Federal Trade Commission will treat that issue as a part of its investigation of Amazon's business practices.

I agree.

I do too. Where the deterrent effect of litigation when Amazon isn't at least fined a hefty amount?

I agree.

Thanks, FTC, GREAT Job

Ha! Hopefully I’ll get some good news soon on this one! Did Amazon Flex for 3 months in 2019 and quit for the same reason listed in the article.

This is so sad fueling the belief that everything is a scam. Trust is dying a death of a thousand cuts.

So true Carl!

I agree, this is why I always say now "I love all but trust none." I have had some bad experiences with the Amazona about charging me twice, etc. I do not buy anything from them anymore. I used to be a PRIME member. I think all the delivery driver should just get their tip when they deliver just like the way it uses to be. Very hard to trust anything anymore.

Great job FTC! We don't include a tip in the Amazon order. To bypass their thievery we greet our drivers with CASH.

FTC should impose its own fine on Amazon and also sue the company.

I am horrified! What? Amazon doesn't think they make enough money so they have to stiff their drivers!!! Disgusting.

I noticed a five dollar billing on a separate account of mine from Amazon, which when I looked it up was labeled as tip. I remember putting the tip on the bill which was charged on a card. I wondered why...

So frustrating to see a billion dollar corporation trying to squeeze out additional pennies on the backs of blue collar workers.

I'm not surprised; I work for a company that gives Amazon gift cards for payment for some of their jobs, but never heard of a gift card that you Had To Give A Credit Or Bank Card To Use Gift Card??

I am totally appalled! I struggle to try and leave a decent tip for the workers. They are doing a job no one else wants to do. They are risking their lives. That is just bad. I am seriously thinking of deleting my entire amazon accounts. I cannot believe this. They are already richer than rich and now they are stealing money from the workers !!!!!! Horrible company, Horrible people. Sorry for the rant but that is so wrong on so many levels and I want my tip money back !!!!

If we are able to tip Amazon Flex drivers, then Amazon doesn't let us know how. So, we can only tip drivers in cash.

My nephew is an Amazon Flex driver. He said drivers don't expect to get tips through the Amazon Flex app, but some customers tip in cash.

I have done hundreds of deliveries for Amazon flex how do you get money that is owed back to you that they have withheld?

Amazon drivers can sign up for email updates about the refund process.

How do you join the lawsuit. I was a driver during this period.

As an Amazon Flex driver, this is not a valid complaint! We don't and didn't sign on knowing we can get tips through the Amazon app. We sometimes get cash tips, especially at Christmas time.

Thats not right, the tips belong to the driver

Amazon should at least have been required to pay what was owed PLUS INTEREST. They held back that money for years.

The FTC should make sure that each individual is compensated based on Amazon’s records and not handle like a class action. Interest should also be included from Amazon.

This is not fair amazon makes a lot of money they should have to pay them back ten fold. For interest and theiving from them. Makes me wonder how much doordash does this to us. Seeing as nothing else comes of it but they get an interest free loan until the ftc investgates. This is whats wrong with america

Leave a Comment