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Amazon Key in-home delivery shouldn't freak you out. Here's why

I'm not saying you shouldn't be cautious. But in-home delivery is less creepy than it seems.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

I get it. Your home, is, well, your home. It's where you relax after a long day and catch up on Queer Eye... or whatever you do in your spare time. (Fair warning: Have at least one full box of tissues on hand for Queer Eye's latest season). 

So the idea of a total stranger being in your house -- even if it's just to drop off your latest Amazon Prime delivery -- can be unnerving. I felt that way too, until I tested the Amazon Key Home Kit. The kit includes an Amazon-approved smart lock and an Amazon Cloud Cam indoor security camera. You set the lock and camera up yourself or pay a third-party Amazon dealer $140 to do it for you. 

Then, when you place an order through Amazon Prime (you have to be a Prime subscriber to use this service), your packages are delivered inside your house.

Absolutely weigh the pros and cons for yourself -- check out this article detailing my three months using Amazon Key for my full impressions -- but here are five reasons the in-home delivery service isn't as creepy as you might initially think.

Amazon tells you who delivered your package

After an in-home delivery, the Amazon Key app gives you information about your delivery, including the first name of the person who delivered your package. The screenshots below represent two different Amazon Key in-home deliveries. 

The first one says "1 item delivered by Stewart with Amazon." The door was unlocked at 12:10:42 PM and relocked at 12:11:00 PM. 

The second one says "1 item delivered by Jamie with Amazon to doorstep because and extra lock prevented entry of Front Door." That was the day I accidentally locked our storm door, so the package was left outside instead. 

Not only does Amazon keep track of who's delivering your Key packages, they also tell you (so you have it as a reference if anything's amiss). 

amazon-key-1

Two different Amazon Key in-home deliveries.

Screenshots by Megan Wollerton/CNET

You can review the delivery later

If the above details about who delivered your package aren't enough, you can always watch a saved video clip of the delivery after it happens. Every in-home delivery I received had an accompanying clip captured by the Amazon Cloud Cam -- from before the door was unlocked to after it was relocked post-delivery.  

You can view and download these clips from the exact same app screen that tells you who delivered your package.

An Amazon Key in-home delivery.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

You can watch the delivery live

In addition to having access to the saved clips, you can also watch the delivery as it's happening. The Amazon Key app makes that possible by sending push alerts to your phone letting you know the expected time frame of your delivery. You'll get another alert right before the delivery takes place so you can watch it live. 

You can refuse access any time before a delivery

Select "Block Access" in the Amazon Key app to prevent a scheduled Key in-home delivery from happening any time before it takes place. You can also disable all Amazon Key deliveries in the app and then re-enable them later on, whenever you want. 

The delivery person is supposed to follow specific guidelines

In addition to being able to watch and review Amazon Key in-home deliveries -- and get specifics on when exactly your package was delivered --  the delivery person is supposed to follow explicit instructions. Below is an excerpt copied directly from this Amazon Key FAQ support page detailing the in-home delivery process:

The driver will knock first and then request to unlock your door with their Amazon handheld scanner. Amazon verifies that the package belongs to the address and the driver is near the door, turns on Amazon Cloud Cam and unlocks your door. No special codes or keys are given to the driver. The driver will then place the package just inside your door and request to relock the door. Once the delivery is complete and your door is relocked, you'll get a final notification and can watch a video clip of the delivery.

The takeaway

All of this doesn't necessarily mean you should run out right now and buy an Amazon Key Home Kit. It's good, but it isn't worth it if you don't buy stuff regularly via Amazon Prime. It also isn't worth it if you aren't concerned about folks stealing stuff from your front porch. 

If you do get Amazon Key, you could get unlucky and have a delivery person ignore protocol and somehow abuse the in-home delivery process. It didn't happen to me, though, and there are a lot of security measures in place to keep it from happening in general. 

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