The Great Amazon Heist (2023) Movie Script

Come here. Look at this!
That's a bottle of piss.
That's a bottle of piss. Piss!
That's the Amazon fulfilment centre.
We've been here for, what,
two or three minutes?
And we've got seven bottles of piss.
That's definitely p... This one,
I'm not so sure about.
Like, this... This looks like
it could just be apple...
Yeah, it's apple juice. Look.
Yeah, it's piss.
Amazon. They're the world's biggest
online retailer.
Their founder is one of
the richest men on the planet,
and they're such a big part of
our day-to-day lives now.
I mean, I used to use Amazon
all the time.
I kept on hearing these stories
about Amazon
not being a great place to work.
Amazon patented cages for staff
to work in in 2016.
I've even heard stories about
people being disciplined
for having heart attacks at work.
It seems like people think Amazon
are getting away with quite a lot,
and I'm an expert in that field.
See, my name's Oobah Butler,
and I've made a career out of
getting away with stuff.
I made my garden shed into
the number-one rated restaurant
on TripAdvisor in London.
I faked my way to the top
of Paris Fashion Week.
And for my next heist,
I'm setting my sights on Amazon.
Amazon have been taking the piss
for too long now,
and it's about time
someone did something.
So to do this, I needed a team.
Yeah... Take on Amazon? Yeah.
Take on Amazon and try and...
...change them, basically. Right.
You are a lawyer?
I am. OK.
I think I might be...
I might be in trouble.
What did you do, then?
I don't know.
I don't know the law.
Yeah, I don't know.
Maybe I should just start...
Start telling you.
For a while now, a struggle has been
brewing between Amazon and sections
of its workforce, and it was
all coming to a head here -
Something historic
was about to go down.
Amazon warehouse.
Today is, like, the first ever,
like, walk-out
in UK history of Amazon staff.
So we're heading, but we're going...
We're going incognito.
Does that cover my hair up?
It's a bit Jamiroquai-y.
The workers at Amazon Coventry
are trying to organise
for better working conditions.
Only one Amazon warehouse
on the planet has ever succeeded
in forming a union,
so I wanted to find out
what makes going up against Amazon
such a challenge
and what was really going on
behind closed doors.
Does anyone want to talk to the...
You'd like to?
No. No?
And you don't want to either?
Yeah, appreciate that.
I kind of got the sense
that Amazon's workers were worried
what would happen to them if they
spoke out about what was going on.
Amazon have reacted pretty badly
to workers trying to form unions
in the past.
They were even issued a cease
and desist for retaliating
against the only currently
established Amazon union in America,
so that is what Coventry's workers
are up against.
They might not want to
recognise unions.
Hi! We're here
and we're staying here.
People feel scared to speak up?
That's abundantly clear.
Yeah, they are scared.
They don't want to lose their job.
They've seen people come and go.
So if Amazon's workers
can't talk to me
about what's actually
going on inside,
then I need to find another way
to see if Amazon's workers
are being mistreated.
I'm going to get inside Amazon.
Coventry Fulfilment Centre, BHX4.
My own personal Fort Knox -
and I want in.
It's hard to even get close
to this place.
You can't just walk up
and have a look.
The whole place is surrounded
by this perimeter fence,
constantly patrolled by guards
at all hours.
Get past them and you'll get
to a set of gates that can only
be accessed by employees
with a very special type of card...
...or maybe the subtle art
of persuasion.
Er, I was just really wanting to
come and have a look in the centre.
You know, I've got an offer
that... should be nice.
Just weren't interested.
Right, so if you can't get through,
then what about going over?
Attach yourself to a drone,
zip right over the gate.
Yeah, it didn't... OK.
But there's a back door.
Get in a box,
post yourself in as a return,
jump out wearing an Amazon uniform
and you could bypass the whole lot.
Just one snag.
But then I had an even more
ingenious way
of getting into Amazon.
I applied for a job.
I think I got it.
So I've got the job,
I've found a way in,
but now I need
some special equipment.
That's... an undercover camera.
I've not really used this
in any meaningful way.
And... I know you've done a lot
of undercover.
I was thinking, if they catch me,
I'm going to say I'm recording
an Undercover Boss.
No, cos that's a lie.
You can't lie. If you're caught,
you can't lie.
You're a... You are there
in the public interest.
So the problem is with that
is that... Look, your brand...'s a lie. Your brand
is jokester, prankster.
This is the one part of this film
where you cannot be either
of those things. Mm-hm.
Did no-one recognise you?
I sprayed my hair brown...
Right, OK... and I swept it back
and I had glasses.
And I went under the name Paul.
"Hello, I'm Paul
and I work for Amazon."
So, on the first day, I went in
and had my induction.
Er, Paul. So I was supposed
to be here at 12. Sorry.
Is everything OK with all that?
Oh, God! Sorry.
So I was late to
my safety induction.
I'm not sure if I'd missed anything
important with regards to, like,
safety or anything,
but Norm pulled me up,
so I just joined the other
new recruits and tried to catch up.
Amazon say they always reschedule
any missed inductions.
It was really rammed home to us
that whenever we left
the warehouse floor,
we'd have to go through multiple
airport-style security scanners.
It felt pretty intimidating,
like they didn't trust
their own staff at all.
I obviously knew I was going to
go off like a Christmas tree
every time. Why would you be
going off like a Christmas tree?
Cos I had a camera strapped
between my legs. Oh, I see.
Did you have a contract
of employment issued by them?
Yeah. Yeah, and what did
the contract of employment say
about filming and speaking
to people?
I didn't really read it.
Right, OK.
Fuck it. Doesn't matter, does it?
All right, yes, I agree to that
and I agree to that.
So I was all trained up,
which meant the next day,
I would be on the warehouse floor -
and that means I'd have to
go through the scanners.
Got literally a camera strapped
right here by my testicles.
So it's like...
If the scanners don't get me,
then there is a god.
Amazon's employees have to go
through this every day.
I mean, it felt more like I was
walking into some sort of nightmare.
True or false?
Right. Is that bad?
Well, what happens next?
I was in, but I was really rattled
from almost being rumbled...
...50 I went out to the smoking area
to calm my nerves,
sat down next to my new colleagues
and introduced myself as...
Which was... Mm-hm... not good.
No. Because I was in disguise
and under a different name.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
So I was a bit panicky then.
So with their advice in mind,
I got my head in the game
and focused on my mission.
I needed to gather evidence of how
Amazon workers are being treated,
so I got to work. And as soon
as I got on to the warehouse floor,
I got this distinct feeling
that I was being watched.
We felt like we were being
surveilled at every second.
There was clearly
a mistrust of staff.
I guess it was just shocking to me
how quickly I started...
Things started aching.
My back started hurting.
You know, I started having people
who were also on their Day 1
saying about their feet hurting.
Have you ever had foot pain before?
One of my co-workers was saying that
she had worked there
for eight months and that
she was in tears
because of how much pain she was in.
So on the second day,
I was working on this lorry.
The fan didn't work.
It's really hot.
I was told that we needed
to take turns on shifts
on this boiling hot lorry...
...but I was never rotated out of
the van, as my supervisor said,
and instead worked there
for four hours.
On Day 1, I'm boiling hot!
I'm in pain. Like...
I mean, am I just bad at my job,
or is this...?
Well, that sounds more like
a health and safety issue.
Right. They're not providing
a safe work environment.
Is that a law?
Could be an issue, yeah.
It hadn't taken me long to collect
evidence of workers in pain
and potentially unsafe practices
at Amazon Coventry,
but I was about to discover
something even bigger.
I was one of about 100 new employees
on that day.
This was a pivotal moment
for Coventry's union hopes.
They needed the support of
at least 50% of the workforce
to establish Amazon's first union
in Europe.
I mean, they were so, so close.
But if Amazon took on
hundreds of workers,
that could change everything.
This was wild.
I was shattered,
but with this evidence in my hands
I knew I had to just keep on going.
I mean, what else
was I going to find?
I mean, it seemed like Amazon
were hotter on surveillance
than health and safety,
as I was about to find out.
So I'm working undercover
at an Amazon fulfilment centre,
but I've just been pulled aside
for a chat -
and it didn't sound good.
Right, OK.
Similar looks, similar resemblance?
Right, OK.
That is... Yeah, that's me.
It's not a wig!
In what seemed like no time at all,
Amazon had monitored
and identified me.
They'd clearly done their research
and were quick to ask me...
I needed to get out of there
before they found my camera
and all of the intel
that I'd gathered.
I should leave now, basically.
Because I'm...
Because it's...
Yeah, I need to go now.
Thank you.
I've got screws in my pelvis.
I know - you said that.
I've got screws in my pel...
I've already had a doctor's note...
Sorry? Oh, no, I'm leaving
anyway now.
Sorry, I'm going to be getting
my stuff now. Sorry.
I won't be returning tomorrow.
That's my last shift.
But thanks.
I appreciate it.
Let's get the fuck out of here.
Not long after I was rumbled,
a story broke that Coventry's
unionising bid had been halted.
Organisers claimed
that Amazon's hiring spree
had skewed the balance of staff
so much,
they'd have to postpone the vote.
I mean, if this was true,
I'd inadvertently been at the heart
of Amazon's union busting.
I'd been used as a patsy.
Now I had to make things right.
They said...
So I just started thinking
and thinking,
"How do I get people to care about
Amazon's... sort of workers?" Yeah.
And I started kind of...
I was hanging around
their fulfilment centres a lot,
and I noticed how,
outside a lot of them,
there are bottles of urine.
Outside... Of urine?
Bottles of urine, yeah. Yeah.
If you ever go to
an Amazon fulfilment centre
and you look at the side
of the road,
there's often, like,
bottles of urine.
Just for the record, it definitely
was urine cos I sniffed it.
Yeah, and then I thought, "well,
where on earth is this coming from?"
So I went to speak with Alex Press,
a labour journalist
who hosts a podcast about Amazon,
to confirm my suspicions.
People are...
People are pissing in the bottles.
It's a pervasive problem, one that
all the delivery service partners
and the company itself
are very aware of.
There's no time for bathroom breaks
cos you don't want to get written up
for being off the clock.
It's called "time off task"
at Amazon.
There's evidence that
people are pissing in bottles
or holding it in to the point
where women at Amazon often complain
about developing
urinary tract infections.
It's really bad and well-documented
most among the delivery workforce.
But an Amazon spokesperson said that
they don't do that.
Yeah, well... Well...
Excuse me, excuse me!
We're making a film where we're
talking to Amazon delivery drivers.
When was the last time
that you pissed in a bottle?
Oh, today.
Yeah, today. I mean,
it's just like a...
It's like a thing, you know,
every day.
It's just... It's unfortunate,
but we have to do it.
You see in the backseat,
back there?
This is...
How does it make you feel?
It's honestly degrading, you know?
It's kind of like, in a way,
you feel like you have no option.
So I've spoken to drivers
all over the world,
and it seems to be
the same everywhere.
And the reason that
they piss in bottles
is just cos they're under
such crazy pressure to meet targets.
So they're being monitored
by a dispatcher at all times.
I am, like, the dispatcher lead.
You get a direct monitor of how many
packages everyone has done... Mm-hm. long they've been working...
Yeah. many packages they've done,
the percentages of them.
They don't give you enough time
to schedule a break.
And if you do, you'll probably
end up going overtime.
You know, people who are going slow
usually end up getting fired.
If I'm looking for a McDonald's
or for, I don't know, for a toilet,
for a public toilet...
You lose time. Exactly.
Now, I've found out that
every bottle of urine
that is found in their car at the
end of the day counts against them.
We go off, like, a point system.
So it's like, if you pee in a bottle
and you leave it...
Like, you're going to get a point
for that.
How many points until
they might have trouble?
Well, everybody has, like,
their own system.
So our point is
a ten-point system. Yeah.
So there's fleets of Amazon vans
all over the world
chucking bottles of urine
out their window.
Amazon are flooding the world
with piss!
It just seems like such a waste.
Of piss?
You want it?
I'm collecting all of the bottles
of urine that I can find
from Amazon's disgruntled
and overworked drivers.
The people at the top of Amazon
have tried to brush this issue
under the carpet, so I'm going to
make their drivers' urine
something they can't ignore.
See, the number one product
in any Amazon category
gets a special promotional badge
saying it's a best seller.
And if I can get one
for Amazon drivers' piss,
then they will proudly display it
front and centre
of their own platform.
We want to make a drink
out of the drivers' urine.
We just need to come up with,
like, a name, a label,
a design for a logo.
Has it got to do with energy?
Yeah, energy...
Energy's good.
Has it got to do with piss?
Piss Energy?
What about Drive?
Drive's not bad.
Shall I look if it's been taken?
Fuck! Taken.
That actually looks pretty good.
Yeah, it looks good.
What do drivers want
when they're on a shift for Amazon?
They want to piss. Yeah!
They want to be released
from their shift...
Release Energy Drink.
And they want to... release!
Release Energy.
Rel... Yeah, that's not bad.
Release Energy. There's nothing!
Release - you can see it!
It sounds like it would be good
for you.
And it... It IS a release.
Basically, taking a wee...
Energy drinks have a look to them,
don't they?
It needs to be "Release and maybe -
in little letters - "Energy".
The Amazon orange... Nice.
.. kind of looks...
Yeah, it does look energy drink-y.
It looks like how I imagine
your vat of piss looks.
We need more a healthy, piss colour.
A little more yellow -
bright yellow!
That's too...
That's almost been too hydrated.
That looks like Wes Anderson's
designed it. Yeah.
That's it.
I would totally drink that.
You'd drink that?
Yeah, definitely!
Would you drink that?
Look what's just arrived.
Very nice!
7.5 inches.
This is all being listed. And that's
where it says all the ingredients,
which are all the ingredients
to... urine.
Saved and finished!
I can't... Just part of me
just thinks, "Surely not."
It's available to buy.
Does anyone want to do
a test purchase?
I originally listed the drink
as a refillable pump dispenser,
but Amazon's algorithm and their
internal team moved the product
into a drink category.
The drink was live,
but I had no idea what to do next,
so I spoke to someone who's spent
the last four years researching
Amazon's platform for tips on
how to make this wee number one.
I don't want to be a killjoy,
but I really hope you can't do it.
So you would say it was difficult
to have a top spot product?
Oh, of course, yeah.
I mean, I think, you know,
if it wasn't difficult,
everyone would do it.
If you can make yourself
one of the top few results
that 60% of people doing
online shopping see,
that's very valuable.
The risks involved are that it can
also be very expensive to get there.
OK. Then there are all sorts of
possible unforeseen events
and contingencies
and sometimes even, like,
algorithmically unexplainable things
that can happen
because it's an enormously complex
platform to navigate.
How to get the top spot on Amazon
in any given product category is,
you know, a secret.
I'd say it's probably a secret
even from Amazon themselves.
I was flying blind.
There was no sure-fire method
of making this thing a bestseller.
I just needed to shift as much
product as possible
and hope for the best.
So I enlisted the help of
a core team.
So the plan for today is... we've
got to try and make this product
that we've made out of
Amazon drivers' urine,
got to try and make it
a number one product on Amazon.
So it's real Amazon drivers' piss?
Yeah. We relisted the drink
in the Bitter Lemon category
to give ourselves the best chance
of a number one.
But this was going to be tough.
I mean, we were going up
against Schweppes!
The best hope of us getting a number
one product on the Amazon platform
was to game the algorithm -
by selling it to
as many people as possible
in the shortest amount of time
as possible.
And it wasn't long before sales
just started rolling in.
And we're going to what?
Are you actually going to
send me this bottle of piss?
One order's through so far.
I've got three people
who said yes already.
I've got 11 yeses and counting.
I've had one yes.
We just got a 12th yes!
27... No, 28.
39. 41. 46. 65. 100!
We had been selling all day
and we were nowhere to be seen
on the best seller list.
But surely it must take a little bit
of time to update, right?
Yeah, but we're not even
on any list.
It was a lot harder to get
Amazon drivers' piss
to climb their rankings
than I thought it would be.
I'm a bit like, "What have I done?
What haven't I done?
"Why isn't that appearing
on those lists?"
If we wanted to get this piss
to stick to Amazon,
we were going to have to dig deeper.
Hello. Am I going to get, like, sued
or imprisoned or anything?
Joe said it's...
...asked him to confirm
his payment method.
Please, guys! Anyone interested?
If you're up for doing it...
I can send you the details.
I look forward to my... my delicious bottle of piss.
Come on!
But no matter how many times
we refreshed the best seller list...
Oh, God!
...we weren't on it.
It's not updated.
It's not moved.
It's still the same.
After 12 long hours,
we got an update.
"Amazon has noticed unusual
reviewing activity on this product.
"Due to this activity,
we have limited this product
"to verified purchase reviews."
The fuck's that mean?
Amazon were on to us.
My ploy to outsmart their algorithm
had completely failed.
We were about to call it a night...
...and then we noticed
something weird on the listing.
OK, so... Fucking did it!
I've got the number one product
at Amazon...
.. made out of
Amazon drivers' piss!
I was like, "It's been flagged.
We're over.
"We're done. We are done."
No, we're not, baby!
We're number one!
So this product that I'd made
out of Amazon drivers' piss
had become a number-one
product on Amazon.
So what next? What would Jeff do?
Take it global.
Now I was a successful
I had the platform to spread
my story far and wide.
Success comes down to four
Patience, invention,
synergy, and succeeding.
There is so much potential in Piss.
The whole idea behind Release
is it's the first
fully reusable energy drink.
And then I got invited on the news.
Oobah Butler joins me now.
Hi, Oobah. Thanks for being here.
I created a product made
out of Amazon drivers' urine
and I listed it as a drink
on Amazon.
Why did you do it?
In order to bring attention
to the bad treatment of workers
on Amazon, but I used
the power of number one.
Oobah, thank you
for sharing your story.
To Amazon, I would like to say
thank you.
Thank you for creating working
conditions that allows my product
to be so abundant and plentiful.
Thank you to every member
of the general public who bought
Amazon drivers' urine sold
as an energy drink.
Isn't that good?
I don't think so, no. Why?
I thought... I was quite pleased
with that. No.
What's the problem with that?
Because you've got no idea.
These consumers don't know
that they're buying people's urine
that's been left on the side of the
road, repackaged and rebranded
by you as an energy drink.
It went live as a product
on their platform.
Yeah. They allowed it.
Isn't that crazy? Yes.
Any concerns? Yeah, several.
What would be your concerns?
It's not even fit for public
...I would have thought.
You're selling, in effect,
an illegal product.
So is it illegal to sell Amazon
drivers' urine online?
Is that actually a genuine question?
And it would be an issue
if a member of the public
got their hands on it? Yeah. What
could...? What would be the worst
thing that could happen if that
Well, you don't know what's
in the urine.
What if you've got a drug addict?
Well, it would be...
Or there's a disease.
But that's not... That's classic
entrepreneurship, isn't it? No.
I saw at the side of the road, I saw
there was an issue and I took
it and I made it into a number
one product.
Potentially endangering people's
lives, I think.
That's over-pitching it.
Maybe I should take it down.
It's still live now?!
Yeah. There's something
you need to know.
At no stage did any member of
the public get anywhere
near receiving a bottle
of urine as a drink.
I had a close syndicate of friends
buying the drink and controlled
every purchase.
So no-one unwittingly bought any?
There were one or two purchases
I didn't recognise the name on,
but we just... I just cancelled them
because I just thought,
"Well, I don't want to disappoint
More importantly, you didn't
want anyone to drink the urine.
Yeah, that, too.
This was a closed experiment to get
everyone talking about Amazon
drivers having to urinate
in bottles, and it had worked.
The media noticed.
Thanks for telling us about this.
Eventually, they removed
the listing.
I mean, this was here, though.
I'd managed to make a number one
drink on Amazon made out of their
drivers' urine.
This is the biggest online retailer
on Earth, and now people
were talking about the huge
issues drivers face.
Amazon sent through a right of
reply, saying...
It got me thinking, how easy
is it for much more dangerous
products to end up in the wrong
For my next mission, I recruited two
of the most twisted individuals
you're likely to meet.
Come here. I'll wait in there for
you to come back.
I blew the camera on fire.
These are my nieces.
So my nieces are growing up
in a world that's filled
with voice assistants.
This here is Alexa.
Say, "Hello, Alexa".
Hello, Alexa.
Hello, Alexa.
With 71.6 million users already,
Amazon's goal is supposedly to get
one of these into every
room of every home.
I mean, they say they want
to make shopping easier.
I've never used one.
...add, er, lemonade to the shopping
Schweppes lemonade added
to your shopping list.
It's got its own safety protocols.
For example, when you try to buy
a bottle of vodka, it doesn't let
you because you might be underage.
But are all products so tightly
Alexa, add stainless steel
carpenter knife to my basket.
A top result is stainless
steel carpenter knife.
It's 13.21, including
VAT, with delivery by tomorrow.
I added it to your Amazon basket,
where you can review product
and seller details before checkout.
To purchase now, say "buy it now".
Buy it now.
Processing your order...
Look at this!
That is really, really... OK,
it's wrapped up still.
No, no, no. This one's mine.
Oh, God.
Can we open them?
I don't...
You don't like blades, do you? No.
A sword! When we ordered a knife
that we were sure needed age
verification, we found
that there was no such thing.
So I went to report them
to Trading Standards,
who take businesses to court
if they catch them committing
illegal business activities.
How old are your nieces?
Four and six years old.
Yeah, that is bad.
This one's mine!
In 2016, Amazon, with a number
of other retailers, signed
a voluntary agreement with
the government to do their part
to stop kids accessing knives.
With all we hear about knife crime,
you know, gangs, children dying,
it's extremely worrying
how easy it is for anyone
to buy knives online.
Unsurprisingly, it's illegal to sell
any bladed item that isn't
a small pocket knife to a minor.
It's also illegal to put
these items through the letterbox
without any age verification.
I wanted to know
what the consequences
would be for businesses
who sold stuff
like this without age verification.
Turns out if a case gets to court,
a business can face a fine of
5,000. 5,000? Yeah.
A 5,000 fine for a company
the size of Amazon is nothing.
So me and my nieces did
a little bit more shopping.
Not from third-party sellers,
but directly from Amazon themselves.
Whenever you want to add new
items, try saying something like,
"Add apples to my basket."
Add Basics folding...
...pruning saw to my basket.
A top result is Amazon Basics steel
folding pruning and garden saw
with 20.3cm blade.
Buy it now!
Your order for Amazon Basics pruning
and garden saw was placed.
It will be delivered here tomorrow.
That's the Amazon logo.
Look at all this.
Whoa! That's like a monster
which has sharp teeth.
Here's the rat poison.
Add the Big Cheese rat and mouse
Into my basket.
Rat and mouse poison to your
Amazon basket.
Can we open the rat poison?
No. I don't know if you should open
the rat poison.
One. Two. Three. Four.
Five. Six. Seven.
How many knives did you guys order?
50, maybe.
Alexa... add knife.
Knife. Knife. Knife. Knife.
Knife. Knife. Knife. Knife.
Knife to my basket.
So it's a knife party!
What did you say?
Knife party.
What's your reaction to that?
Well, I'm surprised.
I'm surprised there's no appropriate
checks and balances in place.
I'm surprised the algorithm allows
the purchase without some kind
of age verification.
One... two.
We purchase 67 items that we believe
should have been age-verified.
For each of these items, three
offences were potentially committed,
as none had age verification
at the point of purchase, none
were packaged to indicate age
verification, and there was no age
verification at the point
of delivery.
I ordered all of them.
In fact, most went into Amazon
lockers, making
age verification impossible.
That could be 201 offences
all together.
So 201 times 5,000
suggests that... and my accomplices
hit Amazon for around 1 million.
Sure, it could potentially
be that much for 200 separate
offences, but there's also...
There's a much higher cost as well.
If a company has to change
its processes to stop the sale
of all age-restricted products
to children, that is going to hit
the bottom line every year, forever.
Paul said to leave the evidence
with him and he would see
what he could do.
I felt like Amazon were getting
away with it.
Amazon said the majority of the
products we bought didn't need
age verification, but admitted
that four of them
did and that they've now
been reclassified.
They said...
Don't open it.
But I wasn't done with Amazon yet.
I did a little bit of research
and it turns out Amazon
don't actually pay much tax.
But like, don't you legally
have to pay tax?
Like, how do they get away with it?
What large companies will do
for the most part is tax avoidance
and profit shifting.
You only pay corporation
tax on profits.
Instead of declaring that
they're making a profit
in this country, they will bill you,
say, through a third-party
country such as Luxembourg.
Yeah. It says on the Amazon
receipts, it always says EU,
Sarle? Sarle, yes.
So Sarle is something that commonly
appears on Luxembourg companies.
We buy something from Amazon.
We think we're buying it from
the UK, but really we're buying
it from Luxembourg.
The Luxembourg company then gets
a UK Amazon company to deliver
it to our houses, but the revenues
and profits are almost certainly
declared in Luxembourg.
And it's not because it's a centre
of finance, it's not
the City of London.
It is for secrecy and tax purposes -
for the most part.
So is it easy to have an offshore
If you've got enough money
and legal expertise,
very easy.
Do you think there's enough,
like, resources there to actually go
after these companies?
Definitely not.
When you're seeing hundreds
of millions of profits declared
offshore every year,
then we should be doing
something about that.
What do taxes actually pay for?
Everything. Everything that people
care about could be funded through
money that is currently lost,
because it's not so much wealth
trickling down, but more sort
of gushing offshore.
That wealth could be taxed
and could be paying for the NHS,
for social care, for schools,
for roads and transport and,
you know, even things like potholes
and... Potholes?
How long would it take
for an Amazon Prime delivery
without using the roads
that are paid for with our taxes?
We get angry about things
we can see, right?
And with a pothole, that's...
Like, you can literally see
infrastructure crumbling. Right.
And that makes people angry.
And if Amazon paid more in taxes,
there would be less potholes.
To put it bluntly, yeah.
So my plan is to help Amazon
do the right thing.
I'm going to trick Amazon
into paying tax.
The first thing I did was I went
on the internet and I found a load
of pothole fillers. Afternoon.
Oh, God.
So the plan was to fill
in the potholes with the pothole
filler from Amazon.
So I needed the builder.
I also needed the getaway driver.
For the sake of convenience,
that was also Craig.
Next up was finding some
of Britain's most menacing
potholes. That is a fucking pothole.
Right. OK. And how did you find the
Local viral potholes.
If you go on your local news website
right now, I guarantee you one
of the top read stories is someone
angrily pointing at a pothole.
There was one in Coventry
that was called the Grand Canyon.
I managed to get the Coventry
Telegraph to do a survey.
Did you see it? Yeah.
Christine has been at war
with that thing for a long time.
This lady's granddaughter
had broken her car in it.
No-one would fill it in, so I went
and filled it in for her.
It's got to be an in-out operation.
Yeah. You stop the traffic. I'll do
the job. Straight in and out.
Two minutes. A bucket in.
All right.
I think if we just do it and we do
it with enough authority, no-one's
going to question us. Come pass.
Oh, mate, you've absolutely
smashed it.
We just filled the canyon.
Is the potential
problems that might arise
the fact that I've basically
been a pothole vigilante?
Potentially. Health and safety.
It's not done to an appropriate
There's a car crash.
Someone trips, slips.
You may now be the one that's
How much money is that likely
to cost me?
How many potholes did you do again?
A handful. Yeah.
Next pothole? Yeah.
In there. This one.
Let's go.
I don't know if we've got enough
left. I think we've run out.
I think that's it.
People were beeping their horns.
They were so happy.
They were saying, "Who's doing
this?" And I was saying, "Amazon."
Don't thank us. Thank Amazon.
They're paying for it.
You know who's
paying for this? Amazon.
What's this got to do with Amazon
paying taxes?
Remember earlier how I ordered
all the pothole filler from Amazon?
Apparently, Amazon use robots to
process their refunds, but they do
it by weight. They don't even open
the packages.
So to test this, I emptied
all of the pothole filler
I'd be using and took the empty
packages down to the beach, filled
them up with sand until they
weighed exactly the same.
And I went on Amazon
and I filed for a refund
and said that the product was...
I just didn't want it any more.
Right. Hmm.
I was just... Because I'm working
by the beach.
I got my money back.
Communities had their pothole
problem resolved, and Amazon...
Amazon get to have done the right
Without knowing it.
Without knowing it. Yeah.
How serious could that be?
Well, how much money are we talking?
Well, the refund?
Hundreds of pounds.
Hundreds of pounds.
All right.
Well, it's pre-planned.
Quite a sophisticated process.
You're exploiting a flaw
that you know about in their system.
Hypothetically, if that is
what happened,
that could be quite serious.
Would the owner of the beach be
angry with me for taking the sand?
I doubt the owner of the beach
is going to be your biggest problem
here. Right. OK.
It's probably Amazon or the police.
I haven't considered the fact
the police could even...
Why would they be interested
in this? Why is...?
Because it's a criminal offence,
Oobah. Right. OK.
You've got money you're not
entitled to from Amazon
by lying on your returns.
On your refunds.
Right. OK.
That's fraud. That's textbook fraud
by false representation.
What's the maximum sentence
you could get for fraud?
It can carry years.
The judge at sentencing may take
into account why you did something,
but it's not relevant
to whether or not an offence
has taken place.
The offence is the offence.
So your good intentions, your Robin
Hood quest to make them pay taxes,
is not really going to feature.
He was right.
I saw a story online that confirmed
basically everything he was saying.
I just read a story about two kids
in Spain who did the exact
same Amazon scam.
I think this could land me in...
...serious trouble.
But I had something else
up my sleeve.
...six weeks ago, before I did any
of this...
I saw that news story and thought...
this could land me in serious
Unless I do something about it.
Well, how do I protect myself?
What would Jeff do?
What tax havens are used
commonly by big corporations?
So, Luxembourg, often thought
of as a tax haven, is what's
used by Amazon. Other common ones?
Ireland. I'd probably use
Bermuda or the Cayman Islands,
potentially Belize.
I'd use one of those companies
because there's very little
jurisdiction over them.
We're going to somewhere very,
very secretive.
I now proudly own a company
in Belize.
Yes. Right.
I created an Amazon business account
for that business
and purchased the pothole filler
through Amazon.
Afternoon, parcel?
So, another company out of the UK...
A shell company.
.. has bought the items?
My name is not in any way
attached to the business.
Yeah. Or the business account.
I used a gift card
instead of my credit card.
So, not attached to me, either.
I think that's me.
That's my hands clean.
Morals and ethics aside,
...this is an offshore issue.
And... you want to know the name
of the company?
Hole Maintenance and Repair Corp.
Or, as an acronym...
So, I could have used
the same structure
that Amazon uses to avoid paying tax
to avoid getting in trouble.
See, now you seem impressed!
Have you've actually done this?
Yeah, I don't think
Amazon will be pursuing you
for fraud
through Belize.
I think they'll struggle to do that.
Amazon will struggle
to get their hands on me?
I think you will probably get away
with committing fraud, there.
I don't know.
Don't quote me in court!
So after working undercover
at Amazon,
creating a number one product
made out of Amazon drivers' urine,
to learning how dangerous
their platform can be,
to turning the tables
on Amazon's alleged tax avoidance,
I've become very familiar
with Amazon's use of loopholes.
But their favourite loophole?
It's you.
It is impossible to imagine
a customer coming to me
ten years from now and saying,
"Jeff, I love Amazon.
"I just wish you delivered
a little more slowly."
It sounds like they're blaming
the way they operate on you.
I take it as an article of faith
that customers notice
when you do the right thing.
And that's a lot of power
that they're claiming
that you have over them.
So what are you going to do with it?
And just one more thing.
Remember earlier on
when I had to sign that kind of
confidentiality agreement
just to work at Amazon?
I agree to that.
And I agree to that.
Well, Colin, the lawyer
had a look over it.
Yeah, as I thought.
Protected disclosures.
What do you mean?
They can't stop you revealing,
in the appropriate forum,
in the correct way,
criminal wrongdoing,
breach of health and safety
breach of safe environment for work.
How much would you have charged
to have looked through this contract
as you just had,
If I was just...
If I'd walked in off the street?
I would have said it'd be about
300 an hour to
look through the agreement.
300 an hour?
I'd have thought, for an average
employment lawyer, yeah.
So, then, basically,
what you're doing right now
is providing legal advice
to every single Amazon employee
out there
on the NDA that they've signed.
Fuck you for screwing me over!
So, if you're an Amazon employee
who's dealing with
health and safety breaches,
dangerous working conditions,
or just mistreatment at work,
to receive Colin's full,
free, advice.
My advice has been
based on academic commentary.
It's not legal advice.
Hopefully, there'll be a disclaimer,
saying it's nonbinding.
My true advice?
Don't publish this film.