Amazon offers “thank you” to drivers through Alexa, just like it was sued for withheld tips | Science and technology news


Amazon is urging customers to use Alexa to “thank my driver” for deliveries during the busy holiday season, just as the company is being sued for allegedly withholding tips.

To mark the milestone of 15 billion US deliveries since launch in 1994, the tech giant invited its American customers to use their voice assistant to show their gratitude.

Anyone who says, “Alexa, thank you my driver” will see the person behind their latest package notified of their appreciation, and the first million will also receive a $5 tip at no cost to the customer.

The gesture to the company’s “everyday heroes” was announced the same day the tech giant was sued by Washington DC for allegedly withholding tips from drivers.

State Attorney General Karl Racine said the company “misled consumers into thinking they were raising drivers’ compensation when Amazon was actually diverting tips to reduce its labor costs and increase profits.”

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said last year that Seattle-based Amazon tipped drivers over a period of two to two-and-a-half years.

He stopped the practice after learning of the FTC’s investigation in 2019, the watchdog said.

An Amazon spokesman said the lawsuit was “meritless” as it “involved a practice we changed three years ago.”

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Washington’s lawsuit, filed in the District of Columbia, seeks civil penalties for each violation and a court order to prevent the company from re-engaging in the practice.

Amazon already paid $61.7 million to more than 140,000 drivers under an agreement with the FTC in 2021 and said it disagreed that how it reported pay to drivers was unclear .

“We added further clarity in 2019 and are pleased to put this matter behind us,” a spokesman said at the time.

But Mr Racine said he still “escaped proper accountability”.

“Theft from workers is theft,” the attorney general added, “and significant penalties are needed to strongly disincentivise this wrongful conduct.”

malek

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