With the increased Amazon customers as well as the addition of delivery stations in Australia, the company certainly needs more delivery partners to work for the Flex program. This opens up opportunities for gig drivers in the country as a way to get alternative income apart from rideshare and food delivery platforms. Up to now the company still accepting new drivers to join their platform.
Since opening in early 2020, the Flex program has lured the attention of most gig drivers across the country. Many existing gig drivers or independent contractors are trying this new delivery platform because of the pay rate. They offer a minimum of $108 for 4 hours work shift which is $27 per hour. However, drivers also have the opportunity to get higher pay for the same working time.
Currently, many gig drivers are working for the Flex program, this is realized by some drivers who from time to time don’t get block offers because they have to compete with other drivers. This situation is quite different from when the program was first launched, at that time drivers had enough time to choose and even filter block offers.
However, Amazon has strict rules in the Flex program which is intended to maintain the quality of their services and customer trust in the company. When customer orders arrive late, customers may lose their confidence in the company that fails to deliver their deliveries on time. As the biggest e-commerce company in the world, they certainly don’t want that to happen, including in Australia.
Maybe that’s why some drivers sometimes get an email warning about their Flex performance. One of the emails received by the driver was about undelivered packages. The email also explains that if a report like this is received by the driver repeatedly, it may affect their eligibility to participate in their program, in other words, there is a possibility that the driver will be suspended or deactivated from the Amazon Flex program.
Why Driver Get Deactivated?
As an Amazon Flex independent contractor, a driver must work under the program’s terms and conditions that they agreed to when they first joined the program. Violation of any of the points may lead to permanent account termination or deactivation. The following are some of the things that are often become the cause of deactivation.
- Missed block
These are the most likely circumstances to make a driver terminated from the platform. When the Flex driver does not arrive at the delivery station at the specified time in the confirmed block for various reasons, every parcel in the block will be delayed in delivery to the recipient.
If a lot of drivers do this it will certainly become bad for Amazon’s reputation for on-time delivery. In addition, this behaviour also has the potential to negatively impact fellow delivery drivers, as they do not forfeit the block in a predetermined time so that it can be taken by other drivers.
Amazon might categorize a missed block as a serious breach, only a few violations can lead to permanent account termination. Not only that, any attempts to appeals due to this concern are likely to be rejected. However, you can still make an effort to send out appeals by providing evidence as to the reason you missed the blocks.
- Customer not receiving parcels
This happens when the driver marked a package as delivered in the Flex driver app but the recipient thinks it has not received it, so they report it to Amazon. The email says “Several customers recently reported not receiving a package you marked as delivered“. This problem often occurs in customers who do not provide any notes on where to leave a parcel and isn’t responding to calls and texts.
This is the most frequently warning email received by delivery partners based on our observations at several driver forums. At least someone will get an email like this while working with the Flex program. The company may categorize it as a moderate violation because some drivers who get emails like this are still able to work as usual. You don’t have to be afraid, especially if you are sure you did not make the mistakes described in the email.
However, repeated occurrences of this type of may violation might affect driver eligibility to participate in the program, in other words, the driver might be deactivated when several customers report the same problem over and over again.
- Multiple undelivered parcels
As a delivery partner, you are expected to be able to deliver all the parcels that have been allocated to you. However, sometimes drivers are unable to deliver all of the parcels and are forced to return them to the delivery station. This usually happens for several reasons such as the lack of a drop off instruction, the recipient not responding to texts and calls, or the 4 hours shift has ended before all parcels have been delivered.
If you have returned enough parcels in the last few blocks, you will likely get an email notification about this, it will say “Our records indicate that you have had multiple undelivered packages in recent blocks”.
Inside the email, Amazon also mentions that if the driver continues to return parcels in the future, the driver’s eligibility to participate in the platform will be affected.
- Did not return undelivered parcels
In the Flex program terms and conditions, it has been mentioned that the driver must return every undelivered parcel to the station at the end of the block. Returns must be made on the same day to the return area of the original pick-up location or delivery station no later than 10:00 PM.
Drivers facing this problem will get an email with the following information, “Our records indicate that, on multiple occasions, you didn’t return undelivered packages to the station at the end of your block“.
Amazon may categorize this issue as a serious offence because it dishonours the independent contractor terms and service (the “Agreement”). As per the agreement, the driver account will be deactivated effective immediately and will no longer be able to sign in to the Flex app.
Avoid Account Deactivation
The Amazon Flex program may not be the only source of income for independent contractors in Australia. Because most of the gig drivers have worked on more than one platform, let alone those who only do it as a side hustle. Being terminated from one platform may not have much impact on their lives.
But joining as many platforms as possible is still the best option for gig-workers. Because you still have other income alternatives when your favourite gig jobs are not as busy as usual. After all, the Flex program is one of the gig jobs with a better pay rate, $27 per hour minimum ($108 for 4 hours block), guaranteed.
For that reason, it is important to maintain your driver account as much as possible so that it can be free from termination. The following are some things that can help you avoid Flex account deactivation.
- To avoid missed blocks, make sure you arrive early to avoid traffic jams at the delivery station, certainly during busy hours. If you’re sure you won’t be able to reach the station in less than an hour, think about forfeit the confirmed block at least 45 minutes before the block start time.
- When you can’t find a drop-off note from a customer, try to knock on the door, ring the bell, call or text them. If you still don’t get a response from the customer, leave the parcel in a safe place, out of view of the street and protected from the weather. But if you can’t find it, you need to return the parcel to the return area at the original delivery station.
- Some drivers recommend taking photos of parcels that have been placed on the customer’s property. Just in case you receive a “customer not receiving package” report. Whenever possible, make sure you also take a photo of the parcel along with the house number. The use of the Time Stamp camera app can also be considered because it also records GPS location and street numbers.
- To minimize undelivered packages, drivers can contact Amazon Flex support through the app during a block to get directions when they struggle to deliver a parcel to the customer.
- If you have to return parcels to the station, be sure to do so no later than 10.00 PM on the same day. Also, take into account the time you need to get to the location so that you can arrive on time. Some advise the driver to take a picture once you unload the parcels to the trolley. Considering that sometimes they have to leave returned parcels unattended in the station.
Account Deactivation Appeals
When Amazon provides a warning or termination email, they still give its Flex drivers a chance to appeals the decision. To appeal, drivers must have acceptable evidence to prove that they are not what the company thinks.
Drivers can appeal directly by replying to the email they receive. But sometimes they also include a specified email address that can be used for this purpose, such as firstname.lastname@example.org.
Drivers can write down the actual situation when writing emails, drivers can also include evidence in the form of pictures or screenshots that might help the appeals team to change their decision.
As you already know, Amazon as an e-commerce company launched its full service in Australia from the end of 2017, after several years only offering e-books and cloud web services. Even though they are new players, their experience as the leader in the e-commerce industry makes this company can’t be underestimated.
This can be seen from the net sales of $1.12 for the 2020 calendar year, that’s 99.4% higher than 2019. Amazon’s growth is inseparable from the number of fulfilment networks spread across all major capital cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Newcastle. Currently, they have 11 delivery stations across these cities and the number is likely to continue to grow as they continue to expand their delivery service across the regional cities of Australia.
It’s not too difficult to get approved by Amazon Flex, if drivers are registered with one of the on-demand delivery platforms like Uber, then they won’t have any significant problems since almost all of the requirements are the same. The difference may be that they must have a 5 door vehicle and take additional Bluecard training (for NSW based drivers).