Is Amazon Key a Good Idea?

A man delivering parcels to a house

Thinking about online delivery door access? Before you focus strictly on convenience, ask yourself, “Should I trust my house keys with Amazon?” Online delivery has expanded over the years. Companies like Amazon are trying new ways to improve customer experiences. In this case, it’s door delivery access where you give the company access to your home so they can leave your packages inside. This is to cut down on “porch pirates” who steal packages. When you provide access, your delivery person won’t come inside, pet the cat or grab a cup of coffee. They literally place packages directly inside the door vestibule and then leave. So, let’s look at an example.

The Amazon Key Program

Amazon’s program is called Amazon Key. Prime users get a four-hour window for deliveries. Drivers knock once and then use a mobile program to “unlock” the smart key for your door. They leave packages just inside the door and aren’t permitted to step inside the home.

Amazon’s Key Happiness Guarantee states, “We want you to have peace of mind when you use Amazon Key to receive in-home deliveries. If any Amazon Key in-home delivery was not completed to your satisfaction, or your product or property was damaged as a direct result of the delivery, we’ll work with you to correct the problem.”

But what could possibly go wrong? Actually, quite a bit.

The Great Pet Escape

Often, a clever cat or anxious dog might try to escape if a stranger opens the door. Will the delivery service look for your pet? They might. But, the real question is will your pet come to them and is it worth the risk? Hence, now you have a delivery person in your front yard trying to get FeeFee out of the tree. But, your packages are safe.

“Alexa, does my pet insurance cover this?”

Amazon suggests that if you have pets you might not want to use their service. Then again, they also have a dog walking and pet sitting service. Segue to an email you receive about your lost cat or dog and someone is on their way to help for a small fee. They also have access to your smart lock.

And What About Your Guard Dog?

There’s also the concern about dogs that are “guarding” the premises. Be it a chihuahua or a Rottweiler, what if they bite the driver? Look at it from the dog’s perspective. Someone they don’t know reaches their arm into the house with a package. Maybe chihuahuas weren’t really saying “Yipe, yipe, yipe!” all along, but “Bite, bite, bite!” Now you have a liability issue on your hands.

“Alexa, call my insurance broker to ensure this is covered.”

The Hacking Risk

At one point, security researchers discovered how to freeze cloud-controlled Amazon security cameras. Even if only briefly, a savvy thief could get in and smash and grab. Oh, and feed your fish, of course. Additionally, there was a cloud issue with the locks that caused a smart lock software update delay. The locks became inoperable and this took about a week to rectify. But, what if you need your delivery right away because it was your medication?

What if the Driver Quits or Loses Your Key/Key Code?

Amazon’s program is designed to safeguard packages and reduce thefts. Amazon suggests purchasing an additional security camera to monitor your home, which of course, you can buy from Amazon!

The Risk of Robberies

Some homeowners might have concerns about delivery personnel. You are letting strangers into your home. Amazon states that they thoroughly vet their drivers and perform background checks.

Another concern is the delivery drivers themselves. What if they see something they like? Or decide the company’s not paying enough and they want to make off with your prized artwork. Hey, they already have a delivery truck to cart it off with, right?

Peter Larsen, VP of Delivery Technology with Amazon stated if something happens, “You can call customer service, file a claim and Amazon will work with you to make sure it’s right.” And, they’ll reimburse customers in some cases.

Unlocked Doors and Alarms

An additional concern is what if the driver forgets to relock the door? It could happen.

Then there’s the security system concern. If you use a service like Amazon, they suggest you turn the alarm off on delivery days, you will have to decide if convenience, or peace of mind is the bigger priority for you.

The good news is, that even if the delivery person forgets to lock your door behind them, or if you turn off your alarm, your home insurance policy will generally remain active.

Other Options for Delivery Access

If you’re interested in online delivery door access, here are a few suggestions:

  • Install a close-to-lock box near your front porch, that way only you have access to the box with your own key or key code – you only have to remember to leave the lid open on delivery days.
  • Have packages held at the post office or sent to your place of employment. Or, leave them with a trusted neighbor. Just make sure the neighbor will be home and not travelling so you can retrieve your packages.
  • Other delivery options include leaving packages at a specific pickup terminal close to your job. But, if you’re like some people, you have packages sent to your place of employment. That is until the holidays arrive and you realize lugging that huge load home (presents, toys, personal items) might not be such a good idea.

Ultimately, online delivery door access sounds like a great concept. You can have packages delivered while you’re out. Just ensure you read the fine print and know who has access to your home even if the site states “they can’t step inside.”

Then ensure you update your home insurance to cover any mishaps. You never know.

Related Topics

Home Insurance 101

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