500 random checks done, facial recognition to be taken into use, collaboration with authorities – how Wolt tackles the misuse of courier accounts

It is unequivocally wrong for even one person to perform courier work under unfair conditions. We are addressing the problem raised in the HS article through both increasing our immediate actions and speeding up technical product development.

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The recent HS article on courier account misuse is important journalism. It is unambiguously wrong if a person ends up working as a courier on unfair terms or is sharing their courier account without permission. It is good that quality news media has taken up the topic.

Every one of us at Wolt is concerned about matters covered in the story. Thousands of people make deliveries on our platform every week. Some of them are in a vulnerable position. We are worried about possible exploitation, or that someone is working on unfair terms, or that someone is working unhealthily long hours.

Wolt does not benefit from someone deciding to break the contract they have made with us. On the contrary: Unauthorized account sharing can lead not only to the exploitation of people, but also, for example, to the distortion of courier compensation levels. At worst, these can lead to the society questioning our entire operating model. We thus have both a deep human and business desire to prevent this kind of misuse.

The central background of the issue is that over 5,000 people work as couriers through us weekly across Finland, but there are more than ten thousand people waiting in line to become couriers. This imbalance creates demand for unauthorized account sharing. For example, in the early stages of the coronavirus, Wolt orders grew exceptionally fast, and people who had waited for a long time finally had the opportunity to start as Wolt couriers. We observed fewer problems then. Now, the queues are long, and contract violations have increased.

In the Spring, we’ll be testing facial recognition when logging into a courier account.

In recent months, we have become aware of a few misuse cases per month. In all these cases, we have ended the collaboration with the person who violated the contract. We have also contacted about 500 couriers in recent days through random checks to determine the extent of misuse. The misuse clearly ranges from unintentional to intentional, and it currently seems to be related to a few percentage of accounts. We will continue the work to make the percent zero. It’s also important to note that the overwhelming majority of couriers do their work perfectly honestly and abide by all agreements.

We have also been working on technical product development for some time to reduce unauthorized account sharing. Last year, we tested, among other things, a software (used also by Interpol) that recognizes forged identity documents. We made a decision some months ago to speed up product development even more after noticing the increase in problems. For example, this Spring in some of our operating countries, we are testing facial recognition at Wolt courier app login. Another technical solution through which we can hope to reduce unauthorized account sharing is a system that takes into account if the same courier account is used in succession on an unusually large number of different phones.

We are also openly cooperating with the police and authorities. In addition, we have separately contacted, for example, Riku (Rikosuhripäivys, helpline for crime victims) in recent days.

We hope that everyone who knows about unauthorized account sharing will report it to us. That way, we can help best and fastest. If you are a person who does Wolt deliveries on unfair terms, we ask you to tell us immediately – for example, through the courier app or through the channels below. If you know of other misuse, we hope to hear about it as well. We read messages at support@wolt.com, and we can be approached anonymously here: https://explore.wolt.com/en/fin/speakup.