• Wed. Oct 21st, 2020

Amazon contract drivers hang cell phones in TREES to snag deliveries – Daily Mail

Amazon drivers have devised a plan to increases their chances of grabbing new delivery orders at a Whole Foods Store – hanging smartphones in trees.

Bloomberg spotted at least a dozen phones connected to branches outside a location in Chicago.

The devices belong to contractors of the Amazon Flex app, which chooses drivers to carry out deliveries based on proximity to the grocery store – giving those with a device in the tree first dibs at a new order.

There are a handful of drivers in on the scheme, as multiple devices will receive the same alert making it difficult for the tech giant to uncover the system, sources said.

Another person familiar with the matter said the setup is a work around for certain requirements, like having a drivers license – a Flex contractor will pay some one a small amount to take the route, while still taking a portion of the fee.

A driver who has observed the phones hanging in trees said Amazon knows about it, ‘but does nothing.’

Amazon drivers have devised a plan to increases their chances of grabbing new delivery orders at a Whole Foods Store – hanging smartphones in trees. Bloomberg spotted at least a dozen phones connected to branches outside a location in Chicago

Amazon drivers have devised a plan to increases their chances of grabbing new delivery orders at a Whole Foods Store – hanging smartphones in trees. Bloomberg spotted at least a dozen phones connected to branches outside a location in Chicago

DailyMail.com has reached out to Amazon for comment and has yet to receive a response.

Some may look at this setup as cheating, but many drivers have been laid off as the coronavirus has kept Americans home for months – Uber laid off 3,700 in June alone.

And many have turned to Amazon Flex to generate an income.

Amazon advertises the job as an opportunity to ‘be your own boss’ with drivers able to clock on and off whenever they please – and drives can make $18 to $25 an hour.

The devices belong to contractors of the Amazon Flex app, which chooses drivers to carry out deliveries based on proximity to the grocery store – giving those with a device in the tree first dibs at a new order

The devices belong to contractors of the Amazon Flex app, which chooses drivers to carry out deliveries based on proximity to the grocery store – giving those with a device in the tree first dibs at a new order

Another person familiar with the matter said the setup is a work around for certain requirements, like having a drivers license - a Flex contractor will pay some one a small amount to take the route, while still taking a portion of the fee

Another person familiar with the matter said the setup is a work around for certain requirements, like having a drivers license – a Flex contractor will pay some one a small amount to take the route, while still taking a portion of the fee

Contractors wait for a new delivery to go through the app, accept it and deliver it to the customer’s destination withing 14 to 45 minutes. 

This service, however requires them to accept the new order immediately or someone else may snatch it.

Drivers told Bloomberg that the phones in the trees coordinate as one device that dispatches delivery routes to multiple drivers in the surrounding location.

These Amazon Flex workers who have seen the setup in the past believe there is someone acting as an intermediary between Amazon and the drivers, which is charging them a fee to obtain more deliveries – a process that is against Amazon’s policies.

Chetan Sharma, a wireless industry consultant, told Bloomberg that the ‘perpetrators’ are using these phones in the tree to spread around work to a number of Amazon Flex apps, in a bid to slide under Amazon’s radar.

‘They’re gaming the system in a way that makes it harder for Amazon to figure it out,’ Sharma said. ‘They’re just a step ahead of Amazon’s algorithm and its developers.’

A driver who has observed the phones hanging in trees said Amazon knows about it, 'but does nothing'

A driver who has observed the phones hanging in trees said Amazon knows about it, ‘but does nothing’

Contractors wait for a new delivery to go through the app, accept it and deliver it to the customer's destination withing 14 to 45 minutes. This service, however requires them to accept the new order immediately or someone else may snatch it.

Contractors wait for a new delivery to go through the app, accept it and deliver it to the customer’s destination withing 14 to 45 minutes. This service, however requires them to accept the new order immediately or someone else may snatch it.

A person familiar with the matter said that the plan helps those without a license still make deliveries and get paid doing so.

Those working for Amazon Flex typically make $18 hour, so someone else can pay a third person $10 an hour to take the route and still make a small profit on the side.

However, a Flex driver who has been observing the smartphone in the tree trick said Amazon is well aware of the activity, ‘but does nothing.’