FTC says Amazon took away $62 million in tips from drivers

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon is paying nearly $62 million to settle charges that it took tips from its delivery drivers.

The Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday that for more than two years, Amazon didn’t pass on tips to drivers, even though it promised shoppers and drivers it would do so. The FTC said Amazon didn’t stop taking the money until 2019, when the company found out about the FTC’s investigation.

Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc. did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

The drivers were part of Amazon’s Flex business, which started in 2015 and allows people to pick up and deliver Amazon packages with their own cars. The drivers are independent workers, and are not Amazon employees. The FTC said Amazon at first promised workers that they would be paid $18 to $25 per hour, and also said they would receive 100% of tips left to them by customers on the app.

But in 2016, the FTC said Amazon started paying drivers a lower hourly rate and used the tips to make up the difference. Amazon didn’t disclose the change to drivers, the FTC said, and the tips it took from drivers amounted to $61.7 billion.

The online shopping giant will pay that amount to settle the charges. The FTC said the money will go back to drivers.

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