Amazon Promises to Stop Taking Delivery Drivers' Tips in DoorDash-Style Scheme [Updated]

Photo: Drew Angerer (Getty)

As we collectively await word from DoorDash that it’s finally made good on a promise to overhaul its tip-skimming operation, Amazon—which had a similar pay model in place for its Flex workers—has decided maybe that wasn’t such a great idea after all.

The Los Angeles Times first reported the news Thursday, citing an email circulated to the company’s couriers for its delivery services with Prime Now, Amazon Fresh, and Whole Foods Market. The paper reported in February that Amazon was using customer tips to help supplement guaranteed minimum wages.

A company spokesperson confirmed to Gizmodo that it will no longer use customer tips to pad out ensured wages. A copy of the email sent to workers and shared with Gizmodo stated that Amazon’s minimum hourly contribution will be at least $15-$19, depending on the area.

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“For deliveries that give customers the option to tip, you always receive 100% of the tips,” the company said in the email. “While earnings vary by region and block, with the change to Amazon’s minimum contribution, we expect nationwide average earnings for these blocks to increase to more than $27 per hour.”

The company also noted changes to its Amazon Flex app. According to the company, delivery workers will now be able to view a block’s estimated earnings as well as a breakdown of how much Amazon contributed and how much of their wage came from customer tips. According to the Times, prior to this change, “the language in Amazon emails to drivers and within the delivery app said base fares included tips.”

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In a statement, an Amazon spokesperson said it hasalways been clear with our delivery partners that the minimum earnings for a block included expected tips. With this change, we are no longer including tips as part of the minimum earnings per block.”

The Times did note, however, that there has been some confusion among workers in Facebook groups over whether the change will actually boost wages due to little information about how their earnings were being tallied in the first place. Sentiment about the change appears to be mixed on Reddit, where one commenter wrote: “They only did this to try and get ahead of the same problem that DoorDash is currently having with wage transparency. They’re not slick.”

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DoorDash has for months been dealing with the fallout over its own controversial pay model, which uses customer tips to subsidize worker wages and in some cases can see the company pay as little as $1 to its couriers per delivery. Last month, the company’s CEO Tony Xu announced that the company would introduce a new pay system that would “ensure that Dashers’ earnings will increase by the exact amount a customer tips on every order.” While Xu added that the company would have “specific details in the coming days,” we’ve heard exactly jack shit since then.

Hey DoorDash: We’re waiting.

Update 6:30 p.m.: Well, that didn’t take long. DoorDash on Thursday announced it has updated its pay model to compensate delivery drivers with “more money on average.”

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“Every dollar customers tip will be an extra dollar in their Dasher’s pocket, and customers will be able to tip at checkout or after the delivery,” the company wrote. It added: “The amount DoorDash pays in base pay and promotions will never vary based on the tip amount.”

Added additional comment from Amazon.

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