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World's Second-Richest Man Was Stealing Tips From Amazon Delivery Workers

In a settlement, FTC reports Amazon lowered the hourly rate for Flex drivers in 2016 and then used customer tips to make up the difference.

The Washington Post headline uses the term "shortchanged" instead of "stolen" while reporting these business practices of their owner, who happens to be one of the world's richest men, and was CEO of Amazon until yesterday. Via the Post:

SEATTLE — Amazon for years promised contract drivers who deliver orders it would give them 100 percent of the tips they earned by delivering goods and groceries.

On Tuesday, it settled claims with the Federal Trade Commission, which found that statement false. Amazon agreed to pay the regulator $61.7 million, the amount the FTC claims the company shorted its drivers in tips over a 2½ year period.

“Rather than passing along 100 percent of customers’ tips to drivers, as it had promised to do, Amazon used the money itself,” Daniel Kaufman, acting director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement.

[...] The agency alleged Amazon advertised that contract drivers in its Flex program, which delivers goods for its Prime Now and AmazonFresh services, would receive $18 to $25 an hour and keep 100 percent of the tips, which customers pay through the Amazon app.

The FTC reports Amazon lowered the hourly rate in 2016 and then used customer tips to make up the difference. Amazon told drivers they were receiving all of their tips, even after receiving hundreds of complaints, the agency said.

Slate properly refers to this practice as "stealing" in their headline: "Amazon Will Pay $61.7 Million for Stealing Flex Drivers’ Tips".

Amazon has some truly terrible, unethical practices, not just here but in other countries, and is long overdue for a closer look by regulators. But in the meantime, let's stop treating Jeff Bezos as some kind of hero on the basis of his wealth. (Looking at you, CNBC!)

After all, much of his company's greatest growth can from crushing smaller businesses and building a monopoly.

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