By popular demand (yes, OK, one person) I shall now relate the epic fails of Amazon and their delivery companies. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…
We need to go back nearly a complete year to when my lovely Ma in Law ordered a present for us. She lives a plane ride away so tends to order things to come to us direct, so they don’t mess up luggage allowances, and likes to surprise us, so we were initially in the dark as to what it was, who was delivering it and when it might arrive, but no matter. We knew when it was, roughly, supposed to arrive and I waited in. And the next day. And the next. etc. etc. This went on for 2 sodding weeks from mid-December because, you know, people have nothing better to do in the run up to Christmas than stay in all day every day waiting for something that never arrives. They did say we could go out and they’d leave the box on the driveway, but by this time we knew it was wine and we frankly didn’t trust them to have delivered it if they said they had, and not blame us for it being missing if they either hadn’t delivered after all or someone else drove off with it.
In the end Ma in Law arrived for Christmas, which came and went with still no parcel and by this time she was immensely embarrassed, but we did at least manage to speak to the companies involved to give them both really, really detailed directions to our house and an earful. They claimed they couldn’t find our house. We have a sign with the name of our house which can be seen from the road, so that was extraordinarily ridiculous as will become increasingly plain. In the end the parcel arrived days after Ma in Law had left to go home, roughly 3 weeks after it was supposed to arrive with delivery guaranteed within 2 – 3 working days. Yes. Well.
Now, that parcel had not been ordered through Amazon, but the delivery company was Citylink, which I ask you to remember as it will become important.
Next item on the agenda is a text book which our eldest son asked me to order from Amazon because I had Prime membership and this would guarantee next day delivery for the book. Yes, we checked it applied to this specific book, which happened to be a text book for the Psychology part of his Biology degree. It didn’t arrive next day. Bugger. This, by the way, was very early January.
He had a deadline and needed this particular edition of this particular book because some questions were of the ‘what does Edition X of Book Y state is the definition of Z’ variety. It was a brand new edition, not available in any library open to us closer than a several hundred mile round trip, and not available in any bookshop closer than a round trip of over 100 miles.
Cue lots of phone calls to Amazon explaining;
1) how critical this book was. (Son eventually got an extension for his deadline, he’d already had to delay his return to university in hopes it would arrive)
2) exactly how to get to our house from either direction
3) minute descriptions of house, driveway, explanations of how visible our house is etc.
It still didn’t arrive.
Cue loads more phone calls to Amazon and the delivery company (this time Parcel Force) more detailed directions given (we are, by now, really, really good at this) and loads of promises etc from Amazon that it will be delivered tomorrow. And tomorrow and tomorrow.
In the end I drove to the depot in Gillingham to pick the book up, which was a round trip of over 60 miles. While there I got to speak to the manager, and it became increasingly apparent that there had been a fair amount of untruth on the part of someone or other. Attempted delivery times when we were not only in, but a goodly while before the drivers’ shift started. Amazon had promised a Saturday delivery when Parcel Force would never have agreed to such a thing. The driver claiming one minute to have attempted delivery and the next to be unable to find our house.
In the end I asked the manager if they had access to Google street view. He put in our postcode, I told him to turn the widget around 180 degrees and pointed to our house. In full view of the road. Not hidden behind another building, not somewhere in the middle of a wood down a dark track with a hidden entrance, but right there, front and centre. He did at least have the grace to be embarrassed at their inability to find it, but I was left with the realisation that being easy to find was no guarantee you would be found by a delivery driver.
I asked Amazon to cancel Prime membership at that time, because it seemed pointless. Instead they told me my payment details were out of date and they couldn’t renew without me updating them, so I simply left it at that. Much to my surprise I then got an email saying they’d taken payment and renewed it anyway. Fume.
Roll on a fair few months to October and I had to go into hospital. I hadn’t ordered anything in the meantime, because I was so fed up with the whole boiling pot, but there was something I needed for my hospital stay and a quick Google told me Amazon was by far the cheapest source. Prime membership meant it had next day delivery guaranteed as it came from Amazon, not a seller, so I ordered it and it should have arrived on the Tuesday.
It didn’t. [deleted screed of detail about what Amazon COMPLETELY FAILED TO DO]
This included, but is not limited to;
- not calling back when they said they would
- not rearranging delivery for when they said they would
- unaccountably cancelling the order and telling the courier company to send it back to them even though it was currently out for redelivery, in response to an email from me asking where the parcel was
- not cancelling the order when I told them I’d had enough and would get the item elsewhere
- delivering it (finally) after I’d cancelled the order, after I’d got a replacement, and after I’d told them to stuff it and by the way please, please this time cancel my Amazon Prime membership (I did have an interesting convo with the Citylink guy who eventually turned up. He’d spent all day sorting out the mess this other guy had made. I was not the only one left in the lurch)
- sending me a plaintive email saying they’d been unable to deliver and listing several reasons why this might be so, none of which were ‘Because I told you to take your empty promises and stick ‘em’
- sending me yet another email asking me to review the product I never actually had across my threshold (I am so tempted to do this)
- sending yet more emails with offers in various degrees of desperation trying to win back my business
There was also an incomprehensible email saying my billing details were not up to date with so many self-exclusory options I am truly confuzzled. They weren’t out of date, they’d taken payment for the non-arriving item just fine, which they did, to be fair, also refund.
So, Amazon. Just in case this is not entirely clear, every single time you had a choice of action to take, you made the wrong decision. I am immensely unimpressed. The fact that my Kindle decided to spontaneously combust (OK, maybe not combust as such, but the screen is most definitely foobared despite the whole thing being treated like a Fabergé egg after the last one went belly up for no apparent reason) between January and October has given me absolutely no reason to want to return to you as a customer. I should perhaps add that I was actually holding my Kindle at the time, I tried to change the page and it just went vfszt. Less polite terms for the screen going wonky are, of course, available.