In Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, you can now let an Amazon delivery driver slip into your home — when you’re not there — to drop off a package.
Through the new Amazon Key program, you can sign up for in-home delivery if you’re an Amazon Prime member and live in one of more than three dozen U.S. cities, including four in Texas.
“Amazon Key gives customers peace of mind knowing their orders have been safely delivered to their homes and are waiting for them when they walk through their doors,” Peter Larsen, vice president of delivery technology at Amazon, says in a release.
To take advantage of Amazon Key, you’ve got to buy an in-home kit priced at $250. The kit comes with an indoor security camera and a “smart” lock. The lock lets you give electronic access to your home to Amazon delivery drivers, relatives, friends, dog walkers, house cleaners, and others.
Amazon says it’ll alert you about an in-home delivery the morning of the drop-off, just before the drop-off and right after the drop-off. The technology even enables you to watch the delivery happen live or on a recorded video clip.
Critics complain that Amazon Key is a creepy invasion of privacy, and most Amazon Prime members aren’t thrilled with the idea of a delivery driver coming into their homes when nobody else is there.
A recent poll by tech website Recode found that nearly 60 percent of Amazon Prime members would not buy Amazon Key. Just 5 percent of Amazon Prime members indicated they would definitely get Amazon Key.
Amazon counters this criticism, explaining that delivery drivers aren’t supposed to go beyond the entryway of a home. “Each time a delivery driver requests access to a customer’s home, Amazon verifies that the correct driver is at the right address, at the intended time, through an encrypted authentication process,” the company says.
The company also notes that delivery drivers never receive keys or access codes for your home.
To find out whether you’re eligible for Amazon Key in your ZIP code, visit the Amazon Key webpage. There’s no extra charge for an Amazon Key delivery.
Letting strangers venture into your unoccupied home might not stop at Amazon Key deliveries, according to tech website CNET. “In the coming months, Amazon said it will let customers schedule in-home visits from tens of thousands of local businesses through Amazon Home Services, so you can schedule a cleaning service or plumber while you’re out,” CNET says.