ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – The Federal Trade Commission said it’s sending nearly $60 million to 140,000 Amazon drivers who allegedly had their tips illegally taken by Amazon.

Earlier this year, the FTC sued Amazon, alleging that the online retailer failed to fully pay tips that drivers in its Amazon Flex program had earned.

Amazon Flex drivers are independent contractors who deliver goods and groceries ordered through such programs as Prime Now and Amazon Fresh. 

The complaint alleged that Amazon secretly pocketed the tips between 2016 and 2019 despite saying “100% of the tips would go directly to the drivers.”

Amazon agreed to settle the case and surrender all the money it was accused of withholding.

“While we disagree that the historical way we reported pay to drivers was unclear, we added additional clarity in 2019 and are pleased to put this matter behind us. Amazon Flex delivery partners play an important role in serving customers every day, which is why they earn among the best in the industry at over $25 per hour on average across the country,” wrote an Amazon spokesperson.

Drivers who had more than $5 withheld will receive a reimbursement from the FTC in the form of a check or PayPal payment. The highest amount going to a single Amazon Flex driver is more than $28,000, while the average amount is $422.