Amazon's Contract Delivery Drivers Are Also Getting Hit With Outages

Illustration for article titled Amazon's Contract Delivery Drivers Are Also Getting Hit With Outages
Photo: Ted S. Warren (AP)

Amazon, as you may know, is experiencing some technical issues during Prime Day. It appears similar snags have crippled the platforms Amazon uses to coordinate its last-mile contractor workforce, known as Amazon Flex.


A tipster who verified their position as a Flex contractor wrote in to Gizmodo claiming they were completely unable to sign into the Flex app, which acts as both a manifest of undelivered packages in their vehicle and a GPS to suggest a route to the locations those packages belong. “I also deliver for them full time driving those white vans that have 300-ish packages. And they can’t log in either,” the tipster wrote in a Twitter DM.

Gizmodo reached a second driver by email who confirmed being unable to log into the service. “Luckily I have one more [delivery] for my current block and the address is available to me. Otherwise I’d be stuck,” he wrote. The screenshot included the same message: “Error signing in. Please try again. Support code: 03-005.”

On a Reddit community for Flex drivers, a number of users are claiming to be experiencing similar technical issues. “Called support and one of them said it was a system outage,” one Redditor wrote. Some even claimed to be in the middle of their delivery routes when the Flex app became unusable. “I have a block in 30 minutes and have been trying to login for the past 2 hours,” another wrote, “I changed my password twice and reinstalled the app still nothing.”

It seems probable that Flex runs on Amazon Web Services, the highly profitable cloud computing portion of Bezos’s empire, and the presumed cause of the ongoing slowdown of its ecommerce site. It’s unclear what effect this will have on Prime Day’s sales, or more importantly, on the wages of its deeply underpaid delivery workforce.

In any case, inventing a shopping holiday and then failing to deliver on the basic elements of that concept—such as the ability to shop, and the ability to have those items sent to customers—is a big black eye that will likely please the various workers currently striking at Amazon’s warehouses in Europe.

We’ve reached out to Amazon for comment and will update when we hear back.

Update 7/16/18 6:06pm ET: Here are some replies from Amazon Flex workers we’ve been receiving:

Currently locked out of Flex app, receiving “Support Code: 03-005.” First week working for them and was worried I was already terminated for Bezos knows why.

The glitch is affecting me too, I was on my way to pick my block and I could not [log] in after several attempts, receiving an error message with some codes. I just came back home.

I’m a delivery partner in Birmingham in the UK. I haven’t been able to use the Amazon Flex delivery app since 5pm (approx 6 hours). Zero communication from Amazon and this will no mean I have no work and no income tomorrow.


Update 7/17/18 10:16am ET: One Flex driver provided Gizmodo with an email sent to some or all enrollees which stated:

You may have experienced issues using the Amazon Flex app today. Please be assured that this will not affect your reliability rating. You will be paid for any scheduled blocks, but payments for today’s blocks may be delayed until Friday.


Are you a Flex contractor or delivery company partnered with Amazon experiencing this outage? Email us what information you have—we’d love to hear from you.

Senior reporter. Tech + labor /// Keybase: Securedrop: http://gmg7jl25ony5g7ws.onion/