Last week, this newspaper published an article about the ‘bots’ that certain intermediaries use to capture delivery times on Glovo and Amazon. The system is as follows: the dealer contacts the intermediary via WhatsApp, which gives him access to a website. There you enter your credentials and preferences, such as what time you want to start working, how many hours per shift and what days. The tool will automatically capture the hours before they appear in the ‘app’, stealing them from the dealers who collect them manually. The invention costs, at least, 25 euros per week that are paid by Bizum or bank transfer.
It is not a new fraud: in both companies they have known it for a long time, but its use has become popular during the pandemic, in the heat of the thousands of people who have signed up to distribute. Companies try to block it (because the ‘bot’ accesses the guts of the application) or expel whoever they catch using it.
As a result of the article about these ‘bots’, we received several messages from delivery people warning of another type of fraud that concerns Glovo: that of workers in their offices who are charged for assigning hours. They get to ask for 40 and 50 euros a week for it. Internal company sources confirm that there have been cases, which have been dismissed when detected, and that the matter extends to support subcontractors, which are more difficult to control. Glovo has not officially answered questions from elDiario.es on this topic.
“People who work in the Glovo office in a city have access to the application. They can set and remove hours. At least in Madrid, they assign many hours manually,” explains Fernando, a Madrid delivery man. “Last year, I worked in the early morning fleet, which was created when they put Madrid Central. There they assigned hours manually. There are delivery people who are friends of those in the office and they put hours on them. Until recently, they put them on you if they you liked. The next step is corruption. ”
Theoretically, the Glovo system is automatic, with perfect supply, demand and competition: you sign up and access the available hours, with more possibilities of taking them based on your score. To have a high score, it is necessary to make hours of high demand (nights and weekends). This will guarantee you a certain “freedom” to take more and better hours later.
The problem is that there are more dealers than hours available, so accessing them has become a jungle in which opportunists try to get a slice of already vulnerable workers. The first step was to rent accounts to people without papers, who pay access in the form of a commission. Now, it is increasingly difficult to distribute without going through the box. “This work has become a tangle of abusers,” sums up Sergio (not his real name), another delivery man.
Low-paid jobs and subcontractors in Latin America
Which workers get corrupted and ask the courier for money in exchange for hours? According to several dealers, there were cases in Madrid. And now the problem is in the Latin American call centers.
“This issue has always been very delicate,” says a former worker at the delivery service office in Madrid, a local in Tetuán. “The deal with the delivery people stopped taking care of ourselves. We tried not to be so close so that they did not talk about favor deals. If there are, it is higher. We have access to the platform, but we are not authorized to assign hours.”
This former employee tells that a position like his, of a local office, is remunerated with between 17,000 and 18,000 euros per year (about 1,200 euros per month in twelve payments). These positions need access to the time control, because, among other things, they must be removed if the dealer requests it. Their movements are recorded, so the company does not have a difficult time catching them if someone gives them away. Usually, it is the delivery men themselves who write denouncing these practices.
“The word spread, although it seems that it has already stopped. The new modality is that support people do it. The subcontractors are in Latin America,” continues Fernando. “These people have your phone, so you get a WhatsApp that says ‘hello, I work at Glovo …’. It comes to cost around 50 euros for forty hours a week.” Word of mouth does the rest.
Respondents suspect that corruption between workers and subcontractors and ‘bots’ are related. “Now there is this problem of ‘bots’, but it has not been possible to verify that it is someone from within,” says the former worker from Madrid. Fernando is convinced that, at least the contacts are provided by those who have access to them. “Who has developed it and who has access to the ‘riders’ market to sell the hours? You get a WhatsApp, you get the number to do the Bizum … They will be workers.”