back to article Happy having Amazon tiptoe into your house? Why not the car, then? In-trunk delivery – what could go wrong?

Amid worries about social network and ad-related privacy invasions, Amazon is asking for invitations into people's homes and cars. Expanding its Amazon Key service – by which delivery people can be granted access to the smart-locked homes of Amazon Prime members to drop off packages – the e-commerce behemoth has introduced …

  1. Christoph Silver badge

    Where do you find an insurer that will allow this, and how much will it add to the premium?

    1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

      @Christoph Interesting question...

      Where do you find an insurer that will allow this, and how much will it add to the premium?

      You don't, what will happen is that after a period of time, the underwriters will have enough data to properly assess the risk and when you renew your policy they will ask you if you partake in this service and they will then add it to your rate.

      Or they could inform you that you are not covered since you did xxx and you're in for a fight. (Not really that likely, but YMMV based on your insurance carrier. )

      Keep in mind... Amazon continually attempts to expand and grow the biz thru innovation and improvements.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: @Christoph Interesting question...

        Keep in mind... Amazon continually attempts to expand and grow the biz thru innovation and improvements.

        You mean it roles out some marvelous disruptive idea thought up by millennials sitting on beanbags at scale and leaves everyone else to pick up the pieces?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It will already be in the terms that if the car is unlocked the insurance is invalid. Therefore by using this service your car was for a time unlocked.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Where do you find an insurer that will allow this"

        You don't need to allow it, you just need to ensure they don't disallow it. Insurers have exceptions rather than allowable actions.

        "It will already be in the terms that if the car is unlocked the insurance is invalid. Therefore by using this service your car was for a time unlocked."

        Rubbish. No car insurance document says that.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          https://www.admiral.com/policyDocs/AD-003-005%20-%20Your%20Cover%20with%20Admiral-v2.pdf

          General conditions of cover.

          3. Care of your car

          You or any person covered by the policy must:

          always take the keys out of the ignition and remove them completely when your car is

          left unattended. You must lock all doors and close all windows and sun-roofs

          Was the car locked on the day of the theft? Yes but I had a delivery. Were you present when it was unlocked? No.

          Sorry sir, your claim is invalid.

          Now you might think to yourself I won't tell them about the delivery, good luck with that because you will have to tell the police or you have less chance of getting you car back and they will tell the insurer.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            That is specifically related to leaving your car unlocked when you leave it.

            The original poster said that your insurance doesn't cover you if your car is unlocked. That is not true, it is often unlocked when driving or getting out of the car.

            The clause doesn't mention unlocking the car by someone else either.

            There seems to be constant myths about insurance companies that they can just not pay out whenever they feel like it.

            I would say to the person who said "sorry sir, your claim is invalid" to show me where it says I can't allow a third party access to my vehicle. I took the keys out when I left and locked all the doors and windows.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "There seems to be constant myths about insurance companies that they can just not pay out whenever they feel like it."

              I'm guessing you haven't made many insurance claims. It's not a myth at all, if they can get out of it they will. We live in a corporate world where money is king. There was a storm a couple of years ago that blew out my fence and caused a leak in the roof, they sent someone to fix it and made it worse, then sent them back again to fix it. They didn't pay out because it apparently wasn't on the Beaufort Scale payout limit, something I was not aware when taking out the policy as I had never made a claim of that type before.

              Is the car unattended? Yes

              Then the following applies "You must lock all doors and close all windows and sun-roofs"

              Was the car locked at all times while unattended? No.

              Therefore your claim is invalid.

              We can argue this point as much as we want but it boils down to the simple fact that the car was unattended and unlocked. I don't make the rules but that is my interpretation and I'm pretty certain it would be the insurers if they could invalidate having to pay money out.

              1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                But how far are they willing to go to defend their claim, given the rash of "we fight for you" contingency lawyers on the TV?

  2. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    They simply don't get it (or IT)

    See title!

  3. VinceH Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Optional

    The stupid - it's getting worse!

  4. Charlie van Becelaere
    Facepalm

    One can only hope

    they encounter the trunk monkey.

    https://youtu.be/XW8iAVwt_Yc

  5. Jemma Silver badge

    Would love to see the look...

    On Millennial von Nerks face if he/she/it/ze/whatever tried to do that with my car..

    Its a '71 Wolseley landcrab so it'd probably take them 20 minutes to figure out which end is which - let alone how to get into the boot. For those unfamiliar with the ADO17 - imagine what you'd get if a chrome bumper MGB mated with a chronically obese Dalek - let Pininfarina loose on it for a while and you have the 1800 and 18/85. That said its not unattractive and it's surprisingly modern in some respects.

    That's if they didn't confuse it with a Type 40 with a dicky chameleon circuit. It's certainly bigger inside than out. Same size on the outside as a mid 2000s Focus, bigger on the inside than a modern Mundano. Quite worrying from a progress point of view that it's the same size as my Hyundai Accent (2005) to within inches - but can carry 6 comfortably - has almost the same top speed in 4th and does 35-37mpg with all the aerodynamic finesse of a garage door. All in a vehicle that started design in `58. And not a blind spot in sight. But I do wince alot more for the poor thing over our awful roads - the interlinked hydrolastic gives fantastic ride but even with that it's dodge the potholes.

    But I digress - this cannot happen in the UK - it would invalidate car insurance on the spot and might also invalidate (or at least cause a rejected claim) on house insurance if you tried to claim on that for the en-nicked item. It's beyond stupid. But I'm sure someone will get caught out - they always do.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Would love to see the look...

      Don't worry, they won't do it with your car. You have to have a 2015 or newer Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, or Volvo and an OnStar or On Call account (that's how they locate your car and open your trunk). Oh, and you also have to ask them to.

    2. Roger Greenwood

      Re: Would love to see the look...

      Lovely description, really took me back - thank you. I learned to double de-clutch in an Austin Maxi because the gearbox was shagged. Happy days.

      You didn't need a fancy electronic key in those days, my mate's Ford takeaway key could open my Morris Ital every time.

      1. Jemma Silver badge

        Re: Would love to see the look...

        The sad thing is the Maxi you drove might well have been in fine form, the gearboxes were "all like that sir". They had a remote cable change (which is still pretty dismal in my Accent) but in those it could have been classified as cruel and unusual punishment. I can double decluch but the trick I use on the 1/2 gate is to flick into neutral - which makes it smoother (ie it'll find 2nd) - and my cars fitted with the later rod change box.

        But if you want terrifying you can still get a supercharger kit for the Landcrab 1800 engine (it's basically the MGB motor) that'll give you at least 120hp.. 50% over stock..

        Apparently there's only 8 '71 18/85 cars on the road.

        If you haven't found it already, have a look at www.aronline.co.uk. I think they've a new article on the Special Products Maxi - kinda what you'd get if the BMW M-series engineers got let loose on a Maxi..

        1. Jemma Silver badge

          Re: Would love to see the look...

          https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/december-1969/45/tuning-testbritish-leyland-special-tuning-maxi

          A Maxi GTe -whodathunkit.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Would love to see the look...

      "But I digress - this cannot happen in the UK - it would invalidate car insurance on the spot and might also invalidate (or at least cause a rejected claim) on house insurance if you tried to claim on that for the en-nicked item."

      Really, why would it invalidate your insurance, that makes no sense?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Would love to see the look...

        One Example.

        Admirals terms and conditions:

        "always take the keys out of the ignition and remove them completely when your car is

        left unattended. You must lock all doors and close all windows and sun-roofs."

        Note the YOU must lock the doors (it's actually emphasised in the policy document).

        https://www.admiral.com/policyDocs/AD-003-005%20-%20Your%20Cover%20with%20Admiral-v2.pdf

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Would love to see the look...

          That does not say it will 'invalidate' your insurance.secondly you have locked your car. That clause is specifically about leaving your car unlocked.

          There is nothing that says if your car is unlocked by someone after you have locked it you can't claim.

          1. Ledswinger Silver badge

            Re: Would love to see the look...

            There is nothing that says if your car is unlocked by someone after you have locked it you can't claim.

            Wouldn't matter, there's a range of established precedents in UK law that require the policy holder to exercise due care, absent which their claim can be dismissed, regardless of what the detail of the policy covers or does not. And likewise the policy holder must declare all potentially salient facts and risk factors, even if the insurer doesn't ask specifically. Not to mention things like the Insurance Act 2015 and other relevant legislation, plus insurers' "General conditions" documents, and the probability that signing up to a service that enables remote unlocking would potentially qualify as a "modification" to the vehicle.

            Because of those two duties of care and disclosure, if you plan to either remotely unlock your car for a third party, or allow them to unlock it themselves, then unless you have told your insurer that you plan to do this AND they have agreed to cover all potential risks, then you will not be covered for theft of vehicle, contents, damage to either, or injury or loss to third parties.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Would love to see the look...

              That is not true, point to the cases that have made case law in this scenario. This is a contract after all.

              Also you do not have to declare risks that they don't ask about - where does it say that?

              There is nothing in the general conditions or policy documents, or schedule that forbids this. There is no modification it is the car's built in service that allows access.

        2. J__M__M

          Re: Would love to see the look...

          Note the YOU must lock the doors (it's actually emphasised in the policy document)...

          So claim denied if your mechanic locks the door? Or the valet? Or the car wash attendant?

          Stupid.

    4. J__M__M

      Re: Would love to see the look...

      "For those unfamiliar with the ADO17 - imagine what you'd get if a chrome bumper MGB mated with a chronically obese Dalek - let Pininfarina loose on it for a while and you have the 1800 and 18/85"

      While I appreciate your trying, it really didn't help so I'll just take your word for it.

  6. jake Silver badge

    First house keys, now car keys, what's next?

    Safety deposit box keys?

    Forget it, Amazon. I wouldn't trust you with my skate key.

  7. Halcin

    Why do companies belligerently insist on trying to deliver at a time they know damn well you will not be at home?

    I can get my food shopping (cost £40) delivered at 10pm for as little as 50p, so don't bother telling me it's more expensive for Amazon (other online companies are available) to deliver after the evening rush-hour.

    Evening deliveries would mean saving money on fuel - less traffic congestion. And an almost guaranteed first time delivery because someone is at home.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Unlike many items from Amazon which can be popped through a letterbox ( books, memory cards, cables etc) food needs to be put away in a fridge - the recipient needs to be present. This means that the supermarket delivery service is set up for delivering outside of business hours, dropping off to multiple recipients on a route.

      1. Baldrickk Silver badge

        And Amazon couldn't set themselves up for delivering at the same times?

        Do you also think that their delivery vans don't deliver to multiple people?

        If it can be put through the door, it still can be at the later time if that is desired.

        Sincerely

        "Fed up of deliveries not arriving in delivery period and drivers filling in a "we missed you" slip instead of actually attempting a delivery of the item" of Tumbridge Wells

        1. Ledswinger Silver badge

          And Amazon couldn't set themselves up for delivering at the same times?

          They could, but their business model is set up to make margin from (promised) faster delivery, and they are completely blind to the idea that some (many?) customers don't mind having to wait a day or five, but would really like to be able to specify the time of delivery rather than the date.

          Obviously some customers would really like control over both, but Amazon haven't twigged that either (nor have most delivery companies).

      2. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        When I was a wee lad our dog knew the milkman and would let him come inside and put the milk in the fridge if nobody was home but would stop him at the stairs if someone was home. Maybe we just need good dogs.

        As for the Amazon delivery to the trunk of my car. I commute by car so if my car is there then there is an excellent chance that I'm also there so why not just hand it to me? I'd also hate to order eggs from Amazon's Whole Foods only to find them in the boot of my sedan a week later.

  8. CaptSmegHead

    Coal Bunker

    For people with enough space, I was thinking that a secure box outside our home would be a good idea to receive deliveries. Something like the coal bunker of days gone by. With some sort of standard on the e-lock that can be opened by a variety of retailers who you specifically grant access. Yes, there are obvious implementation problems, but i'd rather have my shopping left here than give someone access to my house or car.

    The box could even be insulated or refrigerated for receiving deliveries of groceries.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Coal Bunker

      Back in the year 2000 this problem was put to product and industrial design students across several UK universities.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Coal Bunker

      Well you can do it quite easily just by fitting a coded padlock to a box and changing the code from time to time.

      You just put the code on your delivery address when you buy something, they open the box put the goods back in and re-lock it. Have a small CCTV overlooking it for extra security.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Coal Bunker

      "For people with enough space, I was thinking that a secure box outside our home would be a good idea to receive deliveries."

      I thought Amazon themselves did something like this (was it Amazon box?) but can't find this - however, they do sell a number of "delivery boxes" that you can install. Anyway, must go now - got a 5 minute walk down to my local Amazon locker to pickup a delivery from there!

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Coal Bunker

        Possibly thinking like bank depositors that are designed to ONLY allow ingress. The delivery man opens the door, puts the delivery in, then closes the door again which opens the trap door or other mechanism that takes the delivery out of reach even if the door is opened again. Thing is, these tend to be small. Much larger and you pretty much need a guard.

  9. Milton Silver badge

    "disruptive idea [from] millennials sitting on beanbags"

    Heh. My Starter for Two is the eDodger, which uses an Internet-of-Clothing app to unzip your hip pocket on command, so that the delivery system can even help itself to a tip. (Or, I suppose, give change.)

    If it uses the Wolowitz Hand Interface, it could even be upgraded to work on the front zip ...

    </coatfetch>

    Yes, the IoC will include an absolute mountain of dribblingly stupid, superfluous wheezes for ways that internet connectivity can be used to provide solutions to clothing-related problems that do not exist. For only $500 you can buy a garment with an iHood that will rise to cover your head depending upon "AI" interpretation of weather forecasts. A hacked upgrade operates iHoodie whenever you're in the vicinity of a known CCTV system ...

  10. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge
    Trollface

    Now I've got an idea.

    Put a dummy in the trunk of the target vehicle, and make it look like it died from multiple stab wounds (or whatever, just that it has blood all over).

    Train several hi-res cameras on the car (plus one inside the boot) - order a parcel from Bezos Inc and wait for the fun to start as the poor sod will get the shock of his life :)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I expect plenty of stories where this has been used to rob stuff, logic being that the delivery drivers are paid a pittance and will be tempted to add this as a side line to make more money. It would be very difficult to prove who stole the car when you don't have the car.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They would be able to track it from the fact that the driver opened the car and then the car disappeared. I really don't think many amazon drivers are car thieves. They go to houses all day long and with a big van and notice when the owners aren't in. They could spend their days just stealing stuff quite easily already.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Who says they are going to steal it? Who would think to correlate deliveries with burglaries or car theft?

        They wouldn't know when the car was stolen, the person is out. It could have happened at any point during the time they were out. Anyway, we can wait and see if anyone gets caught and the stories that follow.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          You forget about the OnStar/On Call requirement. That would fix a timestamp on the event.

      2. Ledswinger Silver badge

        They would be able to track it from the fact that the driver opened the car and then the car disappeared.

        Very unlikely that the crims would be that obvious - and because unlocking the car doesn't necessarily disable the immobiliser. A more probable scenario is that car thieves use permitted access to the car to add some form of "theft enabler" to be used at a later date. Sooner or later the pattern emerges, but with a little bit of care it could take some weeks.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Easy enough.

          Put a remotely operated relay between the OnStar radio and its power supply (plenty of room to hide the relay in the OnStar box ... and only 6 T10 screws to remove in most cases). When the time comes to make the theft, kill the radio. Enable it again later, if you see reason to do so. I'd bet a plugged nickle that the additional relay/receiver would never be noticed by folks processing the crime scene ... and even if they did, so what? It's not like relays and handmade radio receivers are traceable.

  12. Roj Blake Silver badge

    Limited Usefulness

    If Amazon can't deliver to my house because I'm out, then there's a high probability that my car won't be there either.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Limited Usefulness

      But your car will be somewhere else - that's the point. You car may be at work, in a hotel car park or at your mistresses house, but they would deliver where you car is, not where your house is.

  13. rmason Silver badge

    Wait, What?

    ""I can't wait to check my car's trunk to see what's delivered next!" he gushes."

    Whatever you order next from amazon, you absolute fucking sponge.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Wait, What?

      Perhaps you can send gifts to someone else's car boot. Think of the fun you could have with that.

      1. LucreLout Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Wait, What?

        Perhaps you can send gifts to someone else's car boot. Think of the fun you could have with that.

        18 kilos of plain packaged flour and an anonymous tip off to the cops? Such fun.

  14. Jimmy2Cows

    ensure vehicles get locked before delivery people can move away

    Ok I'll bite...

    Is the delivery bod forced to wear a big-ass electro magnet, sticking them to the car until OnStar (or equivalent) confirms the boot is closed and the car locked?

  15. J J Carter Silver badge
    Stop

    Only in America

    America is much more open to new innovations and forward thinking than stuffy, reactionary Britain. Just because it wasn't invented by Victorians doesn't mean it's bad!

    Anyways if old skool insurers huff and buff, who says Bezos won't simply move into vehicular insurance for Prime subscribers? No doubt Amazon's CRM system could risk profile peeps in ways the car insurers can only dream of.

  16. erikborgo

    ...it'd be a lot easier for the Mafia to dispose of bodies.

  17. david 12 Bronze badge

    I had no idea officer!

    ... I didn't but that delivery box in the boot of my car. Someone else must have done it :(

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