How Much To Tip Amazon Grocery Delivery – Amazon is no longer tipping its drivers when customers say, ‘Alexa, thank my driver’ shouts about the drivers earn tips throughout the year.
An Amazon worker pulls a cart of packages for delivery in New York City in July. A promotion that allowed shoppers to tip workers last week took less than 48 hours. Michael M. Santiago / Getty Images hide caption
How Much To Tip Amazon Grocery Delivery
An Amazon worker pulls a cart of packages for delivery in New York City in July. A promotion that allowed shoppers to tip workers last week took less than 48 hours.
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An Amazon promotion that allows customers to tip their delivery driver up to $5 in less than 48 hours due to high participation.
But not everyone was enthusiastic about the initiative, which was launched on the same day that Amazon was sued for stealing tips from its executives in previous years.
In a Dec. 7 statement announcing the promotion, the e-commerce giant said customers could command their Alexa-enabled devices to “thank my driver” and the company would pass on the gratitude.
The top five drivers who received the most “thank yous” would earn $10,000 to keep and $10,000 to give to charity.
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“And, in celebration of this new feature, with every thank you received from customers, drivers will also receive an additional $5, at no cost to the customer,” Amazon said. “We will do this for the first 1 million thank you received.”
Just a day later, Amazon updated an FAQ about the promotion to say that the tip portion was closed due to “enthusiastic response” that met the limit of 1 million drivers.
Customers can still tell Alexa to thank their drivers, and Amazon says it will share the feedback, but drivers won’t see a financial boost.
Skeptical social media users were quick to note that the promotion launched on the same day Washington, D.C., filed a lawsuit against the e-commerce giant, accusing Amazon of stealing tips from its drivers and defrauding customers along the way.
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The suit centers around the launch of Amazon Flex in 2015, which allowed independent contractors to deliver Amazon packages in their own vehicles for $18 to $25 an hour.
The lawsuit alleges that Amazon Flex drivers would receive tips first, adding the checkout process for customers as standard. But in 2016, the company quietly changed its rules to direct these tips into paying the drivers. In promotional materials, Amazon still assured customers and drivers that “100% of the tips” would go to drivers, although, technically, the money subsidized the company’s labor costs.
The Federal Trade Commission brought the same claims against Amazon, and in a 2021 settlement, the company agreed to reimburse drivers nearly $62 million. Amazon has also agreed to keep its original payment model – letting drivers keep 100% of the tips they make – unless management gets explicit permission from drivers to change the formula.
In filing the lawsuit, D.C. claims Attorney General Karl Racine that the company violated the district’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act. Although Amazon settled with the FTC, he says the company “has escaped appropriate accountability, including civil penalties, for harm to consumers.”
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“Nothing is more important to us than customer trust,” she said. “This lawsuit involves a practice we changed three years ago […]. All related customer tips have already been paid to drivers as part of a settlement last year with the FTC.”
Workers move carts full of packages at an Amazon delivery station on Nov. 28 in Alpharetta, Ga. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption
For millions of customers, it was the company’s annual subscription service, Prime, that paved the way to robust online shopping habits. For the current cost of $139 a year, US shoppers can get free two-day, sometimes even two-hour, shipping.
But maintaining Amazon’s delivery speed (and its customers’ expectations) involves a highly automated operating model, which, some workers say, is also inhumane.
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The company’s last-mile drivers are paid an estimated average of $44,000 per year to deliver about 200 packages or more per day.
They say they sometimes pee in empty water bottles to meet their daily quotas. They regularly work in extreme weather conditions, even on rough rural roads. And they suffer physically for it: More than 110 motor vehicle injury lawsuits were filed against the company in 2021 alone.
They are met by documented anti-union practices. Just a few weeks ago, the firing of an employee who tried to organize prompted a federal judge to issue a cease-and-desist order against the company.
Pro-union protesters gather for a rally near the home of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on September 5 in New York City. Michael M. Santiago / Getty Images hide caption
Amazon Fresh Delivery Driver
Pro-union protesters gather for a rally near the home of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on September 5 in New York City.
Amazon did not respond to a question about whether the popularity of the “thank my driver” initiative inspired the company to make it easier for customers to tip drivers.
When staff tried to ask Alexa through an Echo speaker to “tip my driver,” the system responded that “currently we can’t tip them.” The company allows in-app tipping for its grocery drop-off service Amazon Fresh.
Several startups are exploring ways to build tipping platforms for Amazon drivers, but testing so far has remained hyperlocal.
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And whether those apps would be widely adopted is another question. Overall tipping numbers appear to have declined in recent months, perhaps due to rising inflation or the end of pandemic lockdowns.
In the popular reddit forum r / Amazon / DSPDrivers, drivers regularly post photos of families who leave goodie carts during the holiday season, full of packaged snacks, soft drinks and their own handwritten thank you notes.
“I like people who care!” one person wrote in the comments of a particularly festive cart. “It makes my blisters on my blisters feel better.” An Oakland viewer contacted 7 On Your Side because of the tips he unknowingly gave to Amazon Fresh delivery people.
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Hugh MacDonald of Oakland speaks for many of us: “I’ve tipped all my life, and I’m for it. But not if they force it.”
MacDonald contacted 7 On Your Side because of the tips he unwittingly gave to Amazon Fresh delivery people.
“When I order grocery items from them, they automatically put in a tip and they force us, the customer – the customer, to either cancel a tip, or it just goes without us being aware to some degree,” he said. “I think that’s wrong.”
Here’s how Amazon Fresh ordering works. You go online, select the items you want delivered. Then just like on Amazon. a list of items and costs mount up … but on Amazon Fresh there is room at the bottom of that list for a tip.
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When adding items to your shopping list, the tip line remains empty, but when you’re ready to buy, a tip is automatically added. Here, it was $5.
MacDonald didn’t notice and didn’t like that. “Amazon automatically adds the tip without us as a customer saying, ‘I want to tip,'” he said.
When MacDonald complained directly to Amazon, his tip was refunded via a gift card. All the rules make it sound complicated, but he can actually use the online credit very easily.
Amazon told 7 On Your Side: “We worked directly with the customer to explain our options for the checkout process, which gives customers the opportunity to add, edit or remove tips for drivers as well as other food and grocery delivery services .”
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That’s a much more liberal policy than many food delivery services, but MacDonald just doesn’t like how it feels.
So you can change the tip amount or delete it completely before checkout… and if the delivery doesn’t go well, you have 24 hours to reduce or eliminate the tip.
The 7OYS Consumer Hotline is a free consumer mediation service for those in the San Francisco Bay Area. We help individuals with consumer-related problems; we cannot help on cases between companies, or cases involving family law, criminal cases, landlord/tenant disputes, labor cases, or medical problems. Please check our FAQ here. As part of our process to help you, it is necessary for us to contact the company/agency you are writing about. If you do not want us to contact them, please let us know immediately as it will affect our ability to work on your case. Due to the high volume of emails we receive, please allow 3-5 business days for a response.
Note that the address uses the letter “O”, not zeros. Be sure to include your full name, email, street address and phone number. Free grocery delivery has served to mask the human cost of labor, making consumers expect a free service that was never really free
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