Amazon Flex and Prime services deliver packages to Amazon customers homes. However, many times the customer is not home to receive the package and Amazon regulations state that the package must be delivered on time. This has led to a culture of leaving packages in "hidden" or "secure" places so that the customer will be able to find it and collect it when arriving home.
This procedure has also come under heavy attack due to customers complaining that the package was stolen or never left, and couriers are having to protect their name and reputation against false claims.
Now Amazon has decided to integrate its pilot of photographing the delivery location and where the package is. This new service is mandatory for couriers that leave packages unattended. The new service is called "Amazon Logistics Photo on Delivery," and while it is not going to cover those very few unscrupulous drivers that steal packages, it will cover 99.9% of all unattended deliveries.
The courier will take a photo of where the package is, send it to Amazon who will then send it to the customer. Kristen Kish, Amazon spokesperson, told the media that this new service is "one of many delivery innovations we're working on to improve convenience for customers."
The new service has been tested for 6 months, and a special add-on feature to the Amazon app called "rabbit by drivers" allows couriers to take a photo of the customer's package location and this is immediately sent to the customer's app. Currently, the pilot concentrated in San Francisco, Seattle, and the North Virginia metro area.
What originally was thought to be creepy was when a customer received a photo of their home, and customers can cancel this feature through their app.
While the service is an improvement in location issues, it does not stop thieves from stealing packages. There are occasions when customers arrive home to find that their package was not where it was left and was most probably stolen. Usually, these customers get a replacement.
If you are an Amazon customer but did not have your package delivered by the Amazon's Amazon Logistics delivery customer, then you might not get a photo, since this service is only available to DSP and Flex deliveries. If your package was sent by post, DHL, FedEx or any other service, then don't expect a photo.
Another thing to note is that Amazon DSP deliveries are in white vans, while Amazon Flex deliveries are made by private citizens using the Amazon Flex app as a gig economy source of income.
An Amazon DSP delivery. (Photo: Elizabeth Weise)
Amazon Flex is a gig economy where car owners can apply for a contractual job with Amazon. They work in 3-4 hour shifts and deliver packages in a specific location. Amazon Flex has become an increasingly popular and efficient way to deliver packages for Amazon, and their fleet of independent Amazon Flex (rabbit) drivers increases daily.
Sometimes mistakes will be made, and packages can be left at the wrong door or in unusual locations, but these account for only 1% of all deliveries. While there is any number of options available for packages to be left, such as being left in doorways, backdoors, under other items, so they are hidden, in sheds and under bushes. Weather is also a key element in how packages are left, especially when it is raining or snowing, which makes leaving packages outdoors an issue.
An Amazon package left on at a doorway in San Francisco. (Photo: Elizabeth Weise)