I am a longtime Amazon customer, back from the days when they were partnered with Borders. We even have a Prime account with them, allowing us access to their instant video library and giving free 2-day shipping for $80 a year. I will certainly continue to use them, but I had an experience with them awhile ago that I found pretty amusing, and a little puzzling.
In early December, I discovered just how much effort Amazon puts in to building “Earth’s most customer-centric company.” I ordered some DVDs for my husband’s birthday on a Wednesday evening, hoping that with the 2-day shipping they would arrive by Saturday. Unfortunately, I missed the cutoff by a few hours, and the arrival estimate said Monday; I bought them anyway, with the free 2-day Prime shipping. I also needed to buy a few other Christmas presents, which I had shipped in a separate order via “No-rush shipping,” because it was still weeks until Christmas, and you get a credit for choosing that instead of the 2-day.
The birthday package ended up being delivered Tuesday, and the Christmas shipment arrived that day as well. I wanted to let Amazon know–apparently I got no advantage in 2-day shipping in this case, and my stuff was delivered a day after they had estimated. Annoying, but not a big deal, I just wanted to give feedback. I did not want them to “do” anything about it. I sent them this message on Tues:
I ordered these 4 items last Wednesday with the 2-day shipping through Amazon Prime. They were scheduled to be delivered yesterday, and were not actually delivered until today (Tues). At the same time, I placed another order with no-rush shipping (5-7 days), and it also arrived today. It just seems to me that 2-day shipping should arrive faster than no-rush shipping. Otherwise, what am I paying for Prime for? I have always been pleased with Amazon shipping speed before, so I was surprised that my "2 day shipping" took 6 days to get here. I am not really upset, it was a minor issue, but I just wanted to let you know.
Apparently, I submitted this under the “Where’s my stuff” heading on the customer service menu, which was wrong. I received this reply at 5:18 am Wed (edited for space):
I'm sorry to hear you weren't able to locate your package, even though tracking says it's been delivered; it sounds like your order may be lost. I've requested a refund of $28.49 for items to your Credit Card. This refund will appear as a credit on your statement in the next 2-3. I've requested a replacement order for seller items. There's no charge for this replacement order, and we'll ship it to the same address as soon as possible. I've also upgraded the shipping method to One-Day Shipping at no additional charge. If the order does show up, please use our Online Returns Center (http://www.amazon.com/returns) to return it, or let us know if you'd rather keep the item and pay us back.
Did they even read my comments?? Not only did they not acknowledge my actual complaint, they sent me a “replacement” for the items they could, and gave me a refund for the others, neither of which I needed or wanted. Gahhh!
So I went back to the customer service website and sent this message:
I'm sorry, there was a misunderstanding. I received this order on Tuesday. I don't need a refund or a replacement for ANY of the items. It seems some "replacements" have already shipped, so I will return them. If you can cancel the refund, then please do, or charge my card again accordingly for the amount that you refunded. My initial complaint was simply that I had chosen "2-day" shipping and the order did not get to me any sooner than if I had chosen "no-rush" shipping. I only wanted to comment that I did not feel that my Prime membership gave me any benefit in the circumstance. Thank you so much for your zeal, though.
To which they replied:
Thanks for letting us know that you have received your order. I'd like to have your permission to charge your Credit Card in the amount of $--.-- for order # ----. Please write back to tell us if we have your permission to do this. If you'd rather return the "---" and "------", visit our Online Returns Center for a shipping label and packing instructions. Unfortunately, I can't cancel your replacement order because it's already been shipped. When the replacement order arrives, please refuse the shipment. If it's not possible to refuse the shipment, you can return it by following the instructions found in our Online Returns Center (www.amazon.com/returns). I'm sorry for the trouble this duplicate shipment has caused. We hope to see you again soon.
Refuse the shipment? Please. I can’t remember the last time I was actually at home when a box was delivered. And still no acknowledgement of my actual initial complaint.
So in summary, my giving them a simple comment resulted in my having to return a box to them via UPS, which would have been a big hassle for me if my work didn’t have a UPS dropbox. Had I know I was going to make more trouble for myself, I wouldn’t have bothered.
My suggestion: better, clearer topics for customers service complaints. I saw nothing relating to shipping, or Amazon Prime, which is why I chose “Where’s my stuff?” And if the customer service reps had read my comments instead of just the heading it was under, or checked even with me first, they would not have sent me a “replacement” that I then had to return. I thought I made it clear that I did not want them to “do” anything, just take note of my comments, but apparently Amazon is incapable of inaction! Next time, Amazon, less help please.