NEW YORK — Amazon is spending nearly $62 million to settle charges it took tips from its shipping drivers.
The Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday that Amazon didn’t pass on tips to drivers for more than two years, though it promised shoppers and drivers it would do so. The FTC said Amazon did not stop taking the hints before 2019, when the company found out about the FTC’s investigation.
“This theft didn’t go undetected by Amazon’s drivers, a lot of whom expressed anger and confusion to the company,” said FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra in a statement. “However, instead of coming clean, Amazon took elaborate actions to mislead its drivers and conceal its own theft, sending them canned answers that repeated the company’s lies.”
The drivers were a part of Amazon’s Flex company, which was set up in 2015 and lets individuals to deliver Amazon bundles with their own cars. The motorists are independent employees, and therefore are not Amazon employees.
In addition, it told them they would get 100% of advice given to them by clients on the program.
However, in 2016, Amazon started paying drivers a lower hourly fee and used the recommendations to form the difference, according to the complaint. Amazon didn’t disclose the change to motorists, the FTC said, as well as the tips it required from drivers accounted for $61.7 million.
Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc. said in a statement the way it reported pay to workers was clear. But the firm said it”added additional clarity in 2019″ and is”pleased to put this thing behind us”
The FTC said the cash Amazon is paying for the settlement will return to delivery drivers whose tips were taken.