I’ve been a long time user of Amazon so a lot of the rating they receive is from all the orders on time and in perfect condition, including GTA: San Andreas and Halo 2 arriving on their release day. However I am, as anyone invariably would, going to write about the recent bad experience. It’s not just that it’s bad at any time of the year, but bad at Christmas.
I ordered eleven books and DVD’s and a DVD player, all for Christmas presents. Amazon split the order between the DVD Player and everything else, as this was going to take slightly longer. The order was placed on 9th December and the confirmation of delivery of the first batch consisting of books and DVD’s was received on 11th December.
On that day we arrived home to find a large Amazon box outside the front door in the communal hallway. It had been left there all day, £127 worth of goods. It was lucky no one was in, especially since we are living on a building site and the workmen have keys to enter the communal areas should they need to.
By the 17th of December I was concerned, the delivery estimate had stated 14th to the 16th. Perhaps the DVD Player had been left outside and was in stolen, so I sent an online support email to Amazon, this being the only way you can contact them.
NAME: Richard Brunton
ORDER NUMBER: XXX
COMMENTS:Delivery estimate: 14 Dec 2004 – 16 Dec 2004 1 of:
Starlogic Multi-region 2.1 DVD Player
I realise that you would prefer me to wait another five days but I am particularly concerned about this item as the previous box of 10 items (including a 3 DVD Box Set) was left outside my door in an open hallway and was by luck I was at home to take it in. I’m now very concerned that this other item has been delivered and removed.
Since there is no specific shipping details that I can chase, and my contract is with Amazon for order and delivery, I would be obliged if you could tell me the status of this Christmas present. As if it does not arrive in time, or has been removed, I will have to purchase another locally.
The reply was lengthy and to be honest quite useless:
From: Amazon.co.uk Customer Services [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: 18 December 2004 10:43
To: MY EMAIL ADDRESS
Subject: Your Amazon.co.uk Order (#XXX)
Thank you for contacting Amazon.co.uk.
First, I would like to apologise for the delay in dispatching your order (#XXX).
In looking into the situation, I have found that item “Starlogic Multi-region 2.1 DVD Player” has been delayed in the dispatch process. I have contacted the concerned department to look into this issue and to dispatch your order as soon as possible. Once it has been dispatched, we will send you an e-mail message confirming the date, contents, and method of delivery.
I hope you’ll understand that we do our best to ensure that all of our customer orders leave our Fulfilment Centre as close as possible to the availability and delivery estimates that are listed on our website.
As you can imagine, especially during the Christmas season, our stock situation and availability estimates can change very rapidly from one day to the next.
Please be assured that all of us at Amazon.co.uk are working around the clock to keep our listings as up to date as possible, and our stock and services ahead of demand. We are also making a concerted
effort to keep our customers abreast of changes as soon as we become aware of them.
Unfortunately, in spite of all of our efforts, there will be some unforeseen delays, and we sincerely apologise for any inconvenience which these may cause.
However, if it arrives too late to meet your needs, please feel free to return it at our expense. We will issue a full refund for the price of any item you return.
Please visit our Returns Support Center to be guided through our full policy and to obtain a printable personalised return label:
I hope you’ll understand that we do our best to ensure that all of our customer orders leave our Fulfilment Centre as close as possible to the availability and dispatch estimates that are listed on our website. Unfortunately, in spite of all of our efforts, there can sometimes be unforeseen delays, and we sincerely apologise for any inconvenience which these may cause.
Further to your e-mail, I am sorry to hear that you are not satisfied with the service that you have received from us.
In order to improve our service, we have implemented a revised dispatch method that allows for some of our packages to be traceable and to have guaranteed delivery. Currently, packages weighing a certain amount or over a certain value are automatically upgraded to DHL Express. Some of our customers prefer to have this service as their packages are traceable and have no risk of being left outside.
We are committed to delivering your order from the moment it is placed. This is the reason why we have provisions in place should problems occur at any stage. We take full responsibility should any item become lost or damaged while being delivered and we are more than happy to replace these items at a cost to ourselves.
In addition to our large selection of goods, one of the benefits we’d like to offer our customers is convenience, and I realise that we have not met that standard in this case. I hope that you will give us another opportunity to prove the quality of our service to you in thefuture.
At the moment, we are not able to promise you that your future orders will not be dispatched by this method. However, the issues that you have mentioned will be forwarded to the appropriate department for
consideration. We truly value this kind of feedback, as it helps us continue to improve our website and provide a better service to our customers.
We apologise for any inconvenience caused by this issue and look forward to your continuing custom.
However, if it arrives too late to meet your needs, please feel free to return it at our expense. We will issue a full refund for the price of any item you return.Vikas Yadav – Amazon Customer Service
Well that was pretty useless. So there was a delay, in fact it was never despatched to me despite the site telling me when the delivery date was. I could hardly believe it when they suggested this, like it was any other day. My cheeky response is perhaps slightly below the belt, but subtle enough to be missed!
What are they suggesting, “well we couldn’t get it there for Christmas so just send it back and we won’t charge you”. Ermmm, no. You’ve just ensured that someone doesn’t get their Christmas present for Christmas, that’s a day that happens once a year?! Not only that but the present is a DVD Player, and the rest of the family have bought my Father DVD’s as gifts, so think on that for a moment.
Useless. The comments on replacement of stolen or missing goods is most comforting too, they could have them shipped out for Boxing Day I would guess. None of this goes to address the problem of goods being left outside or Christmas presents not being despatched when the customer has been told they have been.
So now I’m frustrated, and during the writing of this the Amazon screen timed out and I lost the details so I had to retype. More frustration! Still I managed to get this sent on the 18th of December at approximately 21:30.
Thank you for your thorough response, it covered all your policies and procedures well, and under any other circumstances I would feel certain you are trying your utmost to ensure delivery.
However, what this email fails to appreciate is that the item is a Christmas present and was due to arrive before 19th December when it would be wrapped and driven to my Parents as their main Christmas gift. This will now not be possible, and they will not receive their main Christmas gift for Christmas day. Indeed it will be doubtful when they will receive it as travel to see them is quite infrequent and neither of them can travel more than 30 minutes from their house.
In addition, the delivery is clearly stated to me upon ordering, and although there is a warning that delays can occur in postage, there are no warnings that the item might not even be despatched from your stores, and may incur a further delay in shipping. With this in mind I would not be surprised if it did not even reach myself in time for Christmas Day.
If your dates are so inaccurate then they should reflect this, and clearly indicate that the delivery date could be within a four week window instead of being so precise to a number of days. This is misleading and a view could be taken that it does not properly comply with the Sales of Goods Act (Revised) within the UK.
I would like to know what Amazon are willing to do to rectify this and attempt to get this present delivered on time rather than simply continue with the failed despatch process and hope that the delivery is met. If I had known about this earlier I could have visited the local shops and purchased a DVD Player, wrapped it, and taken it to my Parents tomorrow.
It is not as though I am a first time Internet purchaser either, as you will see I have a large shopping history on your site, and have faith in many Internet shopping firms. It is not with blind naivety that I order items and fully read the delivery information and dates given.
On the other matter, again these words are nicely reassuring, but that does not address the fact that a large parcel of Christmas presents was left outside my door in an open hallway and could have been there all day for anyone to take. Your assurance that they would all be replaced is very comforting, but this would have meant that 90% of my Family’s Christmas presents would have been taken. I wonder how the offer of replacement goods in the New Year would have felt to them?
There is not even a clear warning on the site to indicate to the customer that their goods may well be left outside should there be no answer at the door, much as there is no warning that goods may not be despatched from the Amazon depot despite all notifications otherwise.
I would like to know what you suggest is the next step forward, and if you are truly suggesting that I wait for the present to arrive and then deliver it personally hoping that this miraculously occurs within six days.
I must admit I am sorely disappointed, and I know that my parents will be too. Receiving a collection of DVD’s from various members of the family, myself included, and no DVD Player will just make Christmas a special one indeed.
So what now? Well on the 19th of December I receive a note to say that the item has been shipped by courier to my address, no warning, no consultation of delivery time and no addressing the fact that it should now be shipped to my parents to arrive in time for Christmas. There has been no attempt to address the problem of non delivery of the present in time for Christmas, and I don’t have the time for another three and a half hour round trip to drop off this present with them before Christmas day.
So, to continue the saga I phoned DHL to make sure the package was from Amazon. “What’s your Parcel Number?” I couldn’t even get a sentence out before I received a lecture of the piece of paper I was looking at and where the Parcel Number is written. “There is no number” I said, the person delivering had failed to write it down.
I was transferred to a gruff man in the reception and he identified the package. I asked if I could get it redirected in time for Christmas as Amazon had messed up the delivery, and he gave me an email address to forward all the details to. That was done today, on the 22nd December at 11:27, and still no response. I’m seriously surprised that I’ve not had a heart attack at this rate. I wonder if it will arrive with my parents in time for Christmas?
Well it did arrive on Christmas Eve, but not a word to me, the aggrieved customer from either Amazon or DHL, and that is utterly appauling. Oh, and it arrived in its plain cardboard box with no indication what it was. Merry Christmas Dad!