Amazon’s newest delivery method is raising multiple concerns. If given permission, Amazon’s couriers will now unlock the front door of a home and drop the packages inside when no one is home. The lock and camera system, Amazon Key, will allow users to control remotely to let couriers into their homes.
For many online shoppers, packages can be left outside to get stolen or damaged by the weather. But the opportunities for mischief in letting a stranger into an empty home have people worried. Afterall, homes without security systems can be up to 300% more likely to get broken into. And now Amazon wants people to willingly let strangers into their unoccupied homes.
Amazon is asking customers to trust it, and they’re not the only companies that are looking into this method of delivery.
Latch, a start-up company that makes locks, got a deal with Jet.com over the summer to jointly pay for the installation of its locks on 1,000 apartment buildings in NYC in order to make deliveries easier.
E-commerce companies have been in the process of experimenting with new delivery methods for years. Amazon already installs self-service lockers in office buildings to allow customers to pick up their orders, and other businesses have tested delivering packages to customers’ car trunks.
This development has been in the works for more than a year. It will require Amazon Prime members to pay $249.99 and up for a cloud-controlled camera and lock, which the company offers to install. If no one greets the delivery associate when they’re dropping off a package, they press “unlock” in a mobile app. Amazon then checks the system to make sure the correct courier and package are present. It also allows the customer to view the delivery remotely.
“Customers told us they really want to understand and see what’s happening when deliveries are happening,” said Charlie Tritschler, vice president for Amazon devices. “It gives them assurance.”
The company says it will guarantee protection if a driver damages or steals something inside a home, although it is unclear if such protections will be enough to satisfy security concerns.
Amazon Key will be available in 37 U.S. cities starting November 8 for Prime members.