The Washington DC attorney general has decided to sue Amazon, seeking civil penalties for allegedly deceiving consumers who thought they were tipping delivery people, but whose money was diverted to cover the couriers’ base salary.
It’s been more than a year since federal authorities ordered Amazon to repay nearly $62 million in driver tips it allegedly stole over the years. Today, a government prosecutor wants the e-commerce giant compensates customers who it believes were also cheated in the process.
In its complaint, District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine’s office alleges that the e-commerce giant misled customers by giving them the impression that tips would be paid to delivery people, whileAmazon would have used these tips to cover the remuneration of the delivery people.
Amazon stole tips from its delivery people
As a reminder, the business practice at issue involved Amazon’s public assertions that it would pay Amazon Flex delivery drivers at a rate of at least $18 per hour, plus 100% of any tips customers brought. . However, according to the FTC, Amazon changed its payment model in 2016 without informing drivers or customers. The new model would have used some of customers’ tips to subsidize Amazon’s own labor costs, which has tried to hide the change from drivers by reporting their tips and wages as a combined figure.
While Amazon has already settled similar complaints with the Federal Trade Association, Racine said the case still needs to be heard in court. The attorney general’s office said in a press release that Amazon was not obligated to pay civil penalties and thatno court had ordered him not to repeat this practice.
” This lawsuit aims to provide workers with the tips they are owed and to tell the truth to consumers Racine said in a statement. ” Amazon, one of the richest companies in the world, certainly doesn’t need to take the tips that belong to the workers. Amazon can and should do better “.
In its new complaint, the attorney general’s office seeks civil penalties for each violation of the District’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act, as well asa court order prohibiting Amazon from performing similar practices in the future.
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The delivery people were reimbursed by the FTC
Thanks to the amount paid by Amazon, the FTC began reimbursing affected drivers last year through 139,507 checks and 1,621 PayPay payments. Affected drivers received an average of $422 as part of the settlement, and nearly 20,000 drivers received payments of more than $600.
At the time, an Amazon spokesperson said they disagreed with claims suggesting the tipping system was unclear, but they were nonetheless ” happy to put this matter behind us “.
Amazon tries to make amends with its delivery people
While she was recently accused of embezzling tips from her delivery men, Amazon has just launched a new system allowing its couriers to earn a little more money. Indeed, the company has just launched a function “ thank my driver which allows Alexa users in the United States to share their appreciation of the courier who dropped off their latest package.
To put it simply, during a delivery, it will be possible for Amazon customers to ask their personal assistant Alexa to thank their driver orally. The assistant will then thank the driver, who will receive a bonus.
This new thank you function is part of a promotion organized by Amazon to celebrate the imminent achievement of the milestone of 15 billion parcels delivered. If a driver is in the first million people to receive a thank you, they will receive $5. Note that the five drivers who will receive the most thanks will receive a bonus of $10,000. In addition, $10,000 will be donated to the charity of their choice.
The amount of this operation is therefore slightly more than $5 million for Amazon, a far cry from what it stole from delivery people the year before. We are therefore not sure that this is enough to be forgiven by his couriers. ” For drivers, it’s not just about the packages they deliver. They build relationships with customers, support the community in difficult times, and sometimes play the role of unexpected hero wrote Beryl Tomay, vice president of Last Mile Delivery at Amazon, in a press release.