SALT LAKE CITY — A new program along the Wasatch Front is changing the way residents receive package deliveries at home.
Amazon Flex allows private, independent contract drivers to deliver packages to customers. It just started up operations in Salt Lake City in the past month, drivers told Fox 13.
But some independent contractors are saying it’s led to unsettling experiences between drivers and customers.
On Monday afternoon, Kelline Jones delivered more than 20 packages to various homes around Bountiful.
“I was just sitting there when this route came available, so I thought I’d take it,” she said.
When drivers pick up routes, Jones said they’ll show up to the warehouse in West Valley City, grab a bunch of packages to put in their car, then take off on a delivery route pre-determined by Amazon.
Flex works much like ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft, where drivers wear normal clothing and drive their own vehicles.
During deliveries, Jones usually walks up to a home with the package, takes a picture required by Amazon to show the package was delivered, then takes off.
Most of the time no one answered the door on Monday, but sometimes people were home.
Customers looked surprised to see Jones with their package.
“People aren’t sure what we’re doing, why we’re there,” she said.
Jones explained to a woman that she delivers for Amazon Flex.
“A lot of people don’t know that we’re delivering,” she said, to the customer.
“Oh okay-- real people,” the woman replied.
“Real people,” Jones said, with a laugh.
While that interaction was positive, some Amazon Flex drivers say customers can be a lot more suspicious and concerned.
“I think that’s the biggest thing is, people think we might be stealing them,” Jones said, of the packages.
Amber Rigby said last week after dropping off packages in Sandy and taking the required pictures, she noticed a car was following her.
“I looked in my rearview mirror, and there was a lady taking pictures of my car, my license plate, following really close behind me,” Rigby recounted.
Rigby said eventually she didn’t see the woman anymore, but after dropping off a package at a different house in another neighborhood, she spotted the woman parked right next to her car.
“She said, ‘What are you doing taking pictures of my house?’” Rigby said.
Rigby said she explained the situation to the woman, and how she worked for Amazon Flex.
“She was really frustrated, you could tell,” Rigby said, of the woman’s response. “She rolled down her window, just staring at me.”
With each suspicious stare, Rigby and other drivers want people to know that they are following Amazon Flex protocol, and that they are not the package thieves people often worry about.
“We are not stealing your packages,” Rigby said. “It’s legitly being delivered.”
Rigby and Jones said many Amazon Flex drivers wear lanyards with a card identifying them as delivery drivers. Jones said she keeps the Amazon Flex app open on her phone so she can show anyone who might have questions.
Amazon sent Fox 13 this statement:
"Amazon Flex is an innovative program that enables individuals to be their own boss and earn up to $25 per hour, freeing up time to pursue their goals and dreams, such as finishing school, building a business or spending time with their family."