Amazon Finally Pissed Me Off!

Johnny Angell

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I've been a prime customer for many years and have always found the customer service to be excellent. There has been an incident or two when they asked me more questions than I liked about a return. I seldom return items and when I do it's for a defective item. I don't return items because I discover I don't like the item.

My wife's Kindle Paperwhite 3, which we bought late June of this year, has stopped holding a charge. Fully charged today and dead as a doornail tomorrow. Called Amazon and they said I had to return the item before they'd ship a replacement. I pissed and moaned but that's all the csr would do. I called again and that csr confirmed that is their policy. Not only would they wait to get the defective kindle, they would attempt to repair it before sending me the replacement. I continued to piss and moan and the csr was able to make an exception and they are sending out the replacement today. I notice in my Orders that's it's a refurbished kindle.

This is so far from what they used to do. "It doesn't work? We'll send out the replacement today and we'll overnight it."

I guess those days are gone.
 

Josh Steinberg

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You could try writing to [email protected] to expedite the customer service - there's a "secret" layer of executive customer service dedicated to responding to calls/emails that are addressed directly to Jeff Bezos. Every major company has a secret branch of customer service like this, and in general, they seem to be empowered to be a little more helpful.

That said, I think Amazon's service is on the decline because their policies are becoming less user friendly. My concern is that they've figured out that the amount of business they'll lose from unsatisfied customers is outweighed by the amount of money saved in not providing the same quality of customer service they used to, and so they no longer care if you're upset.

I know on my end, this year, I've had at least half a dozen packages miss their "guaranteed delivery date" - in the past, that would basically never happen. I think it happened all of once in the previous five years. I've received an alarming number of damaged packages this year due to improper packing on their end, probably more this year than in the past five years combined. They don't seem at all concerned, and would clearly prefer to extend my prime membership for another month than to investigate why this is continuing to happen.
 

PMF

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Improper packing? You, too, Josh? This month alone, two of my parcels were poorly packed. 13 BD's came in an over-sized box with everything loose; no bubble wrap, no paper, no nothing. And then they did it again, by placing a few BD's in an envelope with tiny bubble-wrap. If they keep slipping, they will begin to loose their following.
THE best packaging for BD's has been - hands down - from Screen Archives and TT.
 
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Josh Steinberg

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I don't know how true this is, but I have a friend who is a "fulfilled by Amazon" third party seller. He's told me that Amazon gets a flat rate of only 50 cents for two day shipping for any of those bubble mailers sent out (because as a flexible envelope, it can be classified differently and into a cheaper rate category by USPS than if it was a rigid box), so I'm suspecting that the company is doing this like a balance sheet. They're making a decision that the cost of replacing the occasional damaged item is less money than what it would cost to send everything properly protected so that nothing is ever damaged in the first place.

Screen Archives and TT do a great job, but their product is very different - they're shipping potentially irreplaceable limited editions, so their business plan really needs to factor that in, since it's entirely possible that there might be no stock left to replace any copies damaged in transit.

I understand financially why Amazon makes these decisions, but I don't think it's right. At the least, when a customer has complained multiple times about the same issue (whether it's the use of an unreliable, no-name carrier when there are multiple other options with better histories and reputations, or poorly packaged items arriving damaged), Amazon should take steps to make sure those same things don't continue to happen for the same customer. When Amazon uses USPS, FedEx and UPS, I get my deliveries on time. When Amazon uses Lasership, my deliveries are either late, or never arrive at all -- they have a perfect record of having made mistakes on 100% of the packages they've been entrusted to deliver to me. When that's gone on for years, Amazon should have the ability to intervene and say, "OK, maybe it'll cost us ten cents more to send it via UPS, but he always gets his UPS packages on time, and we've given away over $100 in cash credits and over six months of prime extensions solely on issues with this shipper, it's not worth doubling down on our policy that the customer has no say in the shipping carrier." Or, when nearly every new release on Tuesday comes damaged in bubble wrap, I'd like them to say, "OK, the bubble wrap is more economical for us, but he's initiated returns on 10 of his last 12 packages and that's not an experience we want him to have." Sadly, that doesn't seem to be what they're doing.

I've written to Amazon's executive customer service several times, emphasizing that the reason I have Prime in the first place is to get new release movies on the Tuesday street date. I end up using Amazon for tons of other things because I'm already a Prime member, from office and kitchen supplies to household goods and clothing. But it's all about the movies for me. If Amazon is going to continue to deliver items late, in damaged condition, or not at all; if every other order is going to have a customer service issue; and if they're not going to take steps to correct the issue, I'll eventually make a decision that it's not worth keeping around. And it's kind of incredible to think that Amazon is more willing to throw away what amounts to thousands of dollars of purchases per year rather than spending an extra few cents on shipping.
 
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Dave B Ferris

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On the positive side, almost every item carried at Whole Foods has either already had a price reduction, or will have a price reduction in the next few days. (An article in the L.A. Times yesterday noted that the derisive nickname "Whole Paycheck" may become passe). Plus, Amazon Prime is now the de facto rewards program at Whole Foods.
 

Malcolm R

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I really wasn't happy with the shipping speed for their Prime Day items. I'm a paid Prime subscriber, but I think less than half of the items I ordered actually arrived in that 2-day window. I'll have to do some cost analysis of my own to see if it's still worth it to carry Prime.
 

PMF

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On the positive side, almost every item carried at Whole Foods has either already had a price reduction, or will have a price reduction in the next few days. (An article in the L.A. Times yesterday noted that the derisive nickname "Whole Paycheck" may become passe). Plus, Amazon Prime is now the de facto rewards program at Whole Foods.
Whole Foods, indeed. But no longer whole Amazon.
 

PMF

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And their return policy sucks, as my last two shipments were not inclusive of a receipt or shipping invoice; which is what they require in order to gain the refund or replacement. I wouldn't order an egg from them, that's for sure.
 

David Norman

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Maybe useful for the 30% of the country within driving distance of a Whole Foods.

Now -- over/under on how it takes for Amazon to destroy teh entire thing that made Whole Foods unique.

I remember Walmart being "We stock US Made products and not just the same cheapest products we could source" -- right up until they hit a certain blocking point and now of course 98% of their merchandise is Lowest Common Denominator b/c a lot of the stuff can't be found made here anymore in large part b/c Walmart went with the not US merchandise
 

Dave B Ferris

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And their return policy sucks, as my last two shipments were not inclusive of a receipt or shipping invoice; which is what they require in order to gain the refund or replacement. I wouldn't order an egg from them, that's for sure.
But you *could* buy eggs at Whole Foods, at which point you would in fact be buying eggs from Amazon.
 
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Dave B Ferris

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Maybe useful for the 30% of the country within driving distance of a Whole Foods.

Now -- over/under on how it takes for Amazon to destroy teh entire thing that made Whole Foods unique.

I remember Walmart being "We stock US Made products and not just the same cheapest products we could source" -- right up until they hit a certain blocking point and now of course 98% of their merchandise is Lowest Common Denominator b/c a lot of the stuff can't be found made here anymore in large part b/c Walmart went with the not US merchandise
You can decide whether to believe this -

In the U.S. “this adds 440 refrigerated warehouses within 10 miles of probably 80% of the population,” said Michael Pachter, an analyst for Wedbush Securities. “More importantly, it puts refrigerated distribution within 10 miles of probably 95% of Prime members. That means we can rely upon Whole Foods’ consistently high quality meat and produce, and can rely upon prompt delivery from the store as a distribution point.”

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-amazon-logistics-delivery-20170616-story.html
 

TravisR

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I don't know how true this is, but I have a friend who is a "fulfilled by Amazon" third party seller. He's told me that Amazon gets a flat rate of only 50 cents for two day shipping for any of those bubble mailers sent out...
That would explain why Amazon has started using padded envelopes to ship a series of $50 MSRP hardcover comic books to me. I'm not super precious about condition but sending any hardback book in a padded envelope can be a quick way to really screwing up the book.
 
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David Norman

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You can decide whether to believe this -
Let's see -- not believe until it turns into reality

Mostly irrelevant since the chance my wife would shop for groceries online would be close to zero. She's not going to buy Bread, fruit/Veg/meat, eggs, cheese, potatoes, Milk, etc is just not going to be left to a factory drone (literal or figurative).

Maybe good be under 30 with minimal/no family, but for most Mom types in their 30-40 and I predict even far less tolerance going higher age groups. I say that realizing the sexist nature, but noting that 85+% of the non-senior grocery shoppers I see are still female
 
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Josh Steinberg

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I think there are a good number of households where both spouses work full time, and where caring for kids is a factor, that could benefit from having food ingredients or other household goods dropped off at home. There are plenty of people who might have time to go grocery shopping after work, or have time to prepare a meal for the family, but doing both together is pushing it for time.

I don't have kids, and I know that my after work time is almost non-existent. If quality fresh ingredients were waiting for me at home, I might make dinner on a couple nights where right now I don't have time.

I think Amazon is also looking at the Blue Apron market - that's a company that had a cool idea but so far hasn't figured out how to make a profit with it. Amazon might.
 
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Blimpoy06

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I ordered a heavy hard bound book from Amazon a year ago. They placed it in a box with no packing. The book moved around so much it ripped a side open. I received a box and no book.
 

EricSchulz

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I remember Walmart being "We stock US Made products and not just the same cheapest products we could source" -- right up until they hit a certain blocking point and now of course 98% of their merchandise is Lowest Common Denominator b/c a lot of the stuff can't be found made here anymore in large part b/c Walmart went with the not US merchandise
A lot of this practice started after the original founder, Sam Walton, passed away.
 

Clinton McClure

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I guess I'm in the minority. I have no complaints and haven't had any problems with their packing and shipping. Newegg, on the other hand, really needs to stop using FedEx SmartPost. That shipping method is terrible.

*Edited to correct spelling errors.
 
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