UPDATE (12/09/2022): Amazon's promotion offering a $5 tip to eligible delivery drivers ended on Dec. 8 after the company announced it had received more than one million "thank yous" from U.S. customers.
Although drivers will no longer get tipped, the company says customers can still share their appreciation by saying, "Alexa, thank my driver." The original story continues as written below:
Amazon ships billions of packages every year — and the holidays are one of its busiest seasons.
Recent online searches show that many people are wondering if this promotion is real or a scam. VERIFY viewer Susan also asked in a text if the feature really works.
Is Amazon Alexa's tip your driver feature real?
Yes, Amazon Alexa’s tip your driver feature is real. But Amazon says it will limit the program to one million "thank yous."
WHAT WE FOUND
Amazon launched a new feature for its smart speaker Alexa on Dec. 7 that lets customers thank their delivery drivers with a tip using a voice command. This feature is only available to U.S. customers with an Alexa-enabled device, such as an Echo or Echo Show, or the Alexa or Amazon Shopping mobile apps downloaded on their smartphones.
Starting Dec. 7, any time an Amazon customer says “Alexa, thank my driver” or “Alexa, tell my driver thank you,” the driver who delivered their most recent package in the last 14 days will be notified of the customer’s appreciation. For a limited time, drivers will also get a $5 tip at no cost to the customer, according to Amazon.
Not all delivery drivers will be eligible for the tip. The $5 is limited to Amazon Flex delivery partners, delivery associates employed by Amazon delivery service partners and “Hub DP” drivers who deliver Amazon packages in the U.S.
So if you receive an Amazon package from USPS, UPS or another carrier, those delivery drivers will not receive the $5 “thank you” tip, but Amazon says it will still share customers’ personal "thank yous" with them. The $5 promotion will end after one million "thank yous" are received.
“We’ll be doing this for the first one million thank-you’s received. And, the five drivers who receive the most customer ‘thank-you’s’ during the promotional period, will also be rewarded with $10,000 and an additional $10,000 to their charity of choice,” Amazon said in a press release about the promotion.
More from VERIFY: Yes, scammers can use QR codes to steal your personal information
Amazon says that if your "thank you" command to Alexa works, your device will respond with the following:
“Glad you enjoyed your most recent delivery. Since you shared your appreciation with your driver, as a special thanks this holiday season, your driver will receive an extra $5 at no cost to you. This promotion is for a limited time only.”
VERIFY tested the new feature with mixed results. On an Echo Show device, it worked. But additional tests on other Alexa-enabled devices showed that the feature doesn’t work every single time. For example, after saying “Alexa, thank my driver” on one device, Alexa’s response was: “I'm glad you enjoyed your most recent delivery. Sorry, I'm unable to thank your driver at this moment.”
On the same day Amazon announced the new feature, the company was sued by Washington, D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine for allegedly stealing their delivery drivers' tips. In a Dec. 7 press release, Racine said the company used "a deceptive, illegal scheme" to make customers believe they were increasing drivers' pay when Amazon was actually diverting tips to reduce its own labor costs and increase profits.
In 2021, Amazon agreed to pay more than $61.7 million to settle charges that it failed to pay Amazon Flex drivers the full amount of tips they received from Amazon customers over a two-and-a-half-year period, according to the Federal Trade Commission.