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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.

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45 Comments

Dpayne4802 (not verified)
February 02, 2021
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.
Harrys pereira (not verified)
February 05, 2021
Hola soy chófer de Amazon hace 3 años y trabajo en mi carro repartiendo de libre y trabajo con propinas y vi qué hay estafas y quiero reclamar mi dinero cómo puedo hacer
flex driver (not verified)
February 02, 2021

In reply to by Dpayne4802 (not verified)

For amazon fresh and prime (2hour delivery) or Wholefoods orders.
Artofdarkness (not verified)
February 03, 2021

In reply to by Dpayne4802 (not verified)

The tipping system only works when ordering amazon fresh (foods) or from Whole Foods.. Not from regular packages from prime..
sbee (not verified)
February 03, 2021

In reply to by Dpayne4802 (not verified)

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.
Harrys pereira (not verified)
February 05, 2021
Mi nombre es harrys pereira Pérez y estoy afectado con Amazon flex con las propinas, soy chofer de Amazon flex hace 3 años
MarieS (not verified)
February 02, 2021
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.
Harrys pereira… (not verified)
February 05, 2021
Soy chofer de Amazon flex hace tres años y e sido estafado con la propina , lo e visto en una publicación reciente de ustedes
Tiger21! (not verified)
February 02, 2021
Thank you FTC!
BadHombre (not verified)
February 02, 2021
UNFORGIVABLE.
ljw (not verified)
February 02, 2021
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?
jsmk3003 (not verified)
February 02, 2021

In reply to by ljw (not verified)

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.
azure (not verified)
February 02, 2021

In reply to by UncleWoody62 (not verified)

I do too. Where the deterrent effect of litigation when Amazon isn't at least fined a hefty amount?
Don't use your… (not verified)
February 02, 2021
Thanks, FTC, GREAT Job
I knew it (not verified)
February 02, 2021
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.
Carl Bowles (not verified)
February 02, 2021
This is so sad fueling the belief that everything is a scam. Trust is dying a death of a thousand cuts.
BB/CN (not verified)
February 04, 2021

In reply to by Carl Bowles (not verified)

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.
Uncle George (not verified)
February 02, 2021
Great job FTC! We don't include a tip in the Amazon order. To bypass their thievery we greet our drivers with CASH.
Omo Oba (not verified)
February 02, 2021
FTC should impose its own fine on Amazon and also sue the company.
Hooked on Amazon (not verified)
February 02, 2021
I am horrified! What? Amazon doesn't think they make enough money so they have to stiff their drivers!!! Disgusting.
Samie (not verified)
February 02, 2021
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...
Smoultron (not verified)
February 02, 2021
So frustrating to see a billion dollar corporation trying to squeeze out additional pennies on the backs of blue collar workers.
Ms. Gray (not verified)
February 02, 2021
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??
CRITA (not verified)
February 02, 2021
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 !!!!
Jax (not verified)
February 02, 2021
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.
Flex Driver Tips (not verified)
February 02, 2021
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.
Tt1 (not verified)
February 03, 2021
I have done hundreds of deliveries for Amazon flex how do you get money that is owed back to you that they have withheld?
cmevabeach (not verified)
February 03, 2021

In reply to by FTC Staff

How do you join the lawsuit. I was a driver during this period.
Jackson (not verified)
February 03, 2021
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.
Flex Driver (not verified)
February 03, 2021
Hello FTC Staff; thank you for your work and diligence. I’ve driven many hours for Amazon over the years as a means to support my family. I too am wondering how is Amazon only liable for monies already stolen, and not any punitive damages as a deterrent? A similar ruling was passed against the gig app Instacart for similarly stealing tips to pay drivers the promised payment amount; however they were also found liable for punitive damages. What is the process to levy this against Amazon, if you will? Thank you again.
rebeka4183 (not verified)
February 04, 2021
Thats not right, the tips belong to the driver
Abn (not verified)
February 05, 2021
Amazon should at least have been required to pay what was owed PLUS INTEREST. They held back that money for years.
Amazon Flex drivwr (not verified)
February 14, 2021
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.
Doughboy (not verified)
April 20, 2021
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
Anonymous 123 (not verified)
August 16, 2021
What's the expected timeline for this settlement?
Still a driver (not verified)
August 24, 2021

In reply to by Anonymous 123 (not verified)

I agree. I was a full time, full on, day after day driver from before this, during and after. I haven't sat down to figure out how much they stole from me but it's going to be a few thousand dollars. Every bit of the complaint is sadly true. We tried so hard to expose it and it looks like someone got it through. Thanks for the support!
Dustydodd (not verified)
August 17, 2021
I completely agree amazon should pay a fine because this went on for 3 years and now they just have to pay it back? If I took someone else's money and got caught I would be criminally charged and have to pay fines and everything.
Anonymous (not verified)
September 30, 2021
I am a flex driver in NM, and have never seen even close to $18 much less the $18-$36 its advertising mentions.. it is around $15 an hour here. Why isnt amazon required to pay the minimum they advertise on all the media outlets here in NM?
BlackGenie (not verified)
November 02, 2021
So, I go to jail if I rob a bank $61 million. However, I can run away with my stash if I am Amazon. And no one has to go to jail. Bank theives hide behind mask, Amazon hide behind tip stealing formula. Thats justice guys!! Embrace the new net age and change. Oh by the way, interest accrued need not be taken into consideration. After all its clean justice. Jeff Bezos and team deserve a salutation for teaching us new ways!!
JAABRAMS (not verified)
November 03, 2021
I WORKED DURING PEAK SEASON IN EDGEWOOD, MD. I RECIEVED TIPS THREE TIMES DURING THE HOLIDAY, DELIVERING UP TO 270 PACKAGES DAILY. THE ONLY REASON WHY I GOT MY TIP MONEY IS BECAUSE CUSTOMERS PLACED THE MONEY DIRECTLY INTO MY HAND AFTER THE DELIVERY. I WAS TIPPED ANYWHERE BETWEEN 50- 100 DOLLARS ON THREE OCASSIONS (ESPECIALLY FOR HEVY ORDERS TV'S, CAR PARTS, ECT) . I FIRMLY BELIEVE AMAZON FLEX DRIVERS HAVE BEEN TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF. HAD I GOT TIPPED FOR EACH HEAVY ITEM DELIVERED, THE JOB WOULD HAVE BEEN WELL WORTH IT. OTHER THAN THOSE THREE TIPS THAT WHERE PLACED DIRECTLY INTO MY HAND, I NEVER RECIEVED FULL COMPENSATION.
Nora Bunch (not verified)
May 16, 2022

WOW I AM BEGINNING TO THINK THAT UBER EATS AND NOW THAT I'M DRIVING FOR LYFT THERE IF THEY DO THE SAME THING THERE BECAUSE I DON'T GET NO TIPS AT ALL UNLESS THEY GIVE IT TO ME IN CASH THERE AND I DON'T MAKE LIKE THEY SAY WE WILL FROM THEM THERE EITHER ITS CRAZY WHAT THIS WORLD IS COMING TO NOW DAYS THERE WE CANT TRUST NOBODY THERE AND THAT IS VERY SAD TO ME HERE I DON'T WANT TO GO BACK OUT THERE AND DRIVE AFTER READING EVERYBODY MESSAGES THERE I HAVE BEEN READING HERE WOW