Amazon delivery people have started taking pictures of customers’ front doors as part of a new delivery service.
The service is designed to help people locate packages left by Amazon employees on their front porch, according to the U.K. Daily Mail.
The picture is included in a shopper’s notice of delivery, so they know exactly when the package arrived and where it was placed.
“It also has the advantage of forcing drivers to prove that they’ve indeed brought the package to a customer’s address,” USA Today reported.
Amazon spokesperson Kristen Kish said, “Amazon Logistics Photo On Delivery provides visual delivery confirmation.”
“It shows customers that their package was safely delivered and where, and it’s one of many delivery innovations we’re working on to improve convenience for customers,” she added.
The new delivery service is quietly being rolled out in both the U.K. and the U.S. and has raised some privacy concerns because the pictures are stored on Amazon’s servers without the knowledge of many customers.
Although the program has existed for at least six months, Amazon has recently updated the delivery device used by personnel in the Amazon Logistics delivery system so all Logistics drivers can take a picture of a customer’s front door.
Not all Amazon customers receive a delivery photo at this point.
“The service is only active with packages delivered via Amazon’s Amazon Logistics delivery system, which include Amazon Delivery Service Providers and Amazon Flex drivers,” according to USA Today. “You can tell them apart because Amazon DSP deliveries usually come in white vans while Flex drivers use their personal vehicles.”
Packages delivered by the U.S. Postal Service, UPS, FedEx or OnTrak are tracked by the individual carrier’s delivery routing and notification software.
There is reportedly an option for customers to opt out of delivery photos on the customer service page of Amazon’s website.
USA Today reported that the pictures still do not “thwart thieves,” which has become an increasing problem as more people shop online.
One shopper in San Francisco, Annette Hurst, received a picture confirmation for delivery of her Amazon package, but the box was missing when she got home.
The delivery photo, according to Hurst, seemed to help her when she described the theft to customer service.
CEO of Spend Management Experts John Haber told USA Today that the new service is similar to other kinds of proof of delivery for packages used in transportation management systems for years, but could be a game-changer in package delivery systems because Amazon does not charge for the service.
“For UPS and FedEx, getting a delivery confirmation signature costs about $5, it’s a huge revenue generator,” he said, and then asked, “If Amazon’s just offering it as standard proof of delivery, will the other parcel carriers have to match it?”
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