This was not innocent and not in the open. Amazon then "deliberately failed to notify drivers of the changes to its payroll, and even took steps to obscure the changes for drivers."
Such wage theft and devious changes in payment practices are common among gig economy companies. DoorDash similarly took tips from drivers and used them to cover drivers' base pay and was forced by an outcry to change its practices. Other companies have repeatedly changed their wage algorithms and insisted it wasn't a wage cut – inevitably a lie.
Drivers who have been stiff should eventually get the money Amazon owes them, but it may take time. “An FTC spokesman said Amazon Flex drivers who believe they may be affected should do so Sign up here for email updates, ”reports Vox. "The deal also prohibits Amazon from misrepresenting driver profits and tips, and requires the company to notify drivers before making any future changes to how tips are handled. "
"Rather than giving 100% of customer tips to drivers as promised, Amazon used the money itself," said Daniel Kaufman, acting director of the FTC's consumer protection bureau, in a statement. "Today's action is giving drivers back tens of millions of dollars of misused tips to drivers and requires Amazon to obtain driver permission before changing tip treatment in the future."
"The @FTC has long been sloppy when it comes to gig economy abuse and anti-competitive behavior against workers," tweeted Rohit Chopra, the FTC commissioner who is President Biden's candidate to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "The agency's order against @Amazon will provide compensation to the tech giant's driver victims. I hope it turns the page of the FTC's inaction too. "