Digital Salad: Taking On Amazon

A slight change from the usual programming with Digital Salad today. I’ve not blogged for a little while; so I want to pass on belated congratulations to awesome blogger and friend Murf on your Freshly Pressed the other day, very well deserved! Life can be very busy at times, and it has been especially more so recently with having to call up Amazon’s customer service helpline every night. So, I wanted to take out my Amazon related rage.

Borrowed picture of the logo - please don't come and hunt me down from your tax-free super air fortress Amazon!
Borrowed picture of the logo – please don’t come and hunt me down from your tax-free super air fortress Amazon!

I think everyone has a bit of a love-hate relationship with Amazon. P!nk’s song lyrics essentially sum it up:

And you make me so mad I ask myself
Why I’m still here, or where could I go
You’re the only love I’ve ever known
But I hate you, I really hate you

That’s kind of the point really, like or loath Amazon, the likelihood is is that you have used it at some point. Its almost an essential part of modern living. If you internet shop the closet rival is Ebay, but that still has reputation problems from unfortunate and inescapable rogue sellers on it (which are just as common on Amazon really!).

I’ve used Amazon plenty over the years, and when I was a student it didn’t overly matter that sometimes the parcels could take upwards of a week to arrive. When they arrived I’d likely be in and that was fine and dandy.

The trouble now is that I work, so I’m usually not in roughly 9-5.

royal-mail

The Royal Mail postal service gets a lot of stick, and all the more so now that its been privatised. The scary thing is, is that Amazon UK have started using their own delivery service – and it makes the Royal Mail look like angels.

I decided to give Amazon a test. Since switching most of their deliveries over to their own carrier service the delivery service had been getting progressively worse. So I decided, I’ll place a large order and pay for special one day tracked delivery – the whole works.

I did the shop, pressed the confirm button and watched the test begin.

Splitting orders – why?!

The very first thing that happened was that they split my order in half. It was sizable, so fair enough. Trouble is, no logical method was used in the splitting.

I order two video games as part of it: Dragon Age 2  and Assassins Creed IV on the Xbox 360. You would think that these would be put in an order together with a few DVDs that I also ordered, and the other order would include the other items from different departments that I ordered.

Nope. Both games ended up on separate orders. Some poor Amazon employees were running from end to end of the warehouse for my orders, when a bit of logic would have departmentalised the order and saved the employees the trek.

Sorry Amazon man - it's not my fault!
Sorry Amazon man – it’s not my fault!

Delivery woes

Once the poor Amazon employees had found all my items and boxed them up they were passed over to Amazon Logistics for their all singing, all dancing delivery. This is where the real trouble happened.

My three parcels (the one order ended up split into three in the end) were sent on their way. Two parcels were sent with Amazon Logistics and the other came by Royal Mail special delivery.

Scary thing is, the small parcel sent with the Royal Mail was first to arrive, a day later. Kudos to Royal Mail, but I will probably still take the proverbial out of you from time to time – its part of being a British institution!

Amazon Logistics managed to get the large of the two boxes to me after two days. A little late considering how early I ordered on the original day, but not too bad.

Maybe Amazon's latest delivery service could've had the parcels with me sooner? Perhaps not!
Maybe Amazon’s latest delivery service could’ve had the parcels with me sooner? Perhaps not!

The final box though turned in to a real saga. It got lost, found, sent to the wrong depot, sent back to the right depot, lost, found and then posted out over five days after I originally ordered. Looking at the Amazon forums, that kind of performance is pretty standard for Amazon Logistics. Not good!

The really important part of the special delivery I paid for was the tracking service – you can find out exactly where your parcel is at any time and they’ll let you know when its out for delivery. Well, that’s the theory, and it all sounds great. Except, the only update you’ll get is “at the depot” and “out for delivery today between 9am and 7pm”. There’s hardly any warning, and that’s an awful window – that they don’t narrow down. They expect you to be in the delivery location all that time when you’ve paid so much extra for special delivery?

The best bit about the tracking was that even three days after the ‘it will definitely deliver before this day’ date, it was still showing as estimated delivery for that day. Essentially, the tracking service is just neglected by them in practice, which is a shame for a really useful tool.

Amazon – why do you do it?

I don’t mean this to be one person’s rant about a single bad service on Amazon. Its about more than that. There’s hundreds of people across the internet, and many who haven’t taken to the internet, who have had similar poor service and never had any sort of response or voice – the neglected unhappy customer.

For those customers, Amazon essentially swindles them. It knows they can’t go elsewhere, so why should they listen to their complaints?

I guess they’re right in that sense, many won’t move from Amazon when it has such a grip on the online market. But, its about time more was said against the big giants of the internet shopping world. Its about time they were called out on their poor customer service, corner-cutting, and not to mention their infamous tax dodging. It’s not just Amazon that are up to it, but hopefully the more that the word spreads of the poor level of service that many customers get with Amazon – and other companies – then maybe they’ll improve or other, better, companies can replace them. Maybe the high street shops can start to make a come-back?

Lets hope things get better! Share your online shopping nightmares in the comments, or even if you’ve had awesome service online.

 

Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com

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5 thoughts on “Digital Salad: Taking On Amazon

  1. C. T. Murphy February 26, 2014 / 10:33 pm

    You know, I’ve never had a single issue with any online retailer. The one exception was one time I bought a game on eBay, but it was actually just the menu. I reread the sell and yeah, my bad. It was misleading but not enough for me to be too upset (plus it wasn’t a ton).

    It’s crazy too, now that I think about it. I’ve done online shopping for years! I resell all of my games on eBay once I am done (as well as other products). I am pretty big into it.

    • Digital Salad February 27, 2014 / 3:42 pm

      I’m glad you’ve always been so lucky with online shopping! There’s definitely still plenty of people out there trying to mislead people into buying something thinking that it’s something else – but we just have to be really vigilant as shoppers I guess.

      I’m glad you have such a good relationship with online shopping. I use it plenty, its just not gone that well on the whole usually. Perhaps we’ve not uite perfected it over here in the UK yet!

      • C. T. Murphy February 27, 2014 / 5:58 pm

        That’s always a possibility too. I am seriously considering using Amazon’s subscription options for a lot of stuff whenever I do move out. So I have a pretty advanced case of “I LOVE YOU ONLINE SHOPPING”itis!

  2. lothirieth February 27, 2014 / 1:59 am

    Not to mention the bad working conditions for the people who work those shipping warehouses… It’s a shame as Amazon is a great place to find things I can’t otherwise get in Europe.

    • Digital Salad February 27, 2014 / 3:40 pm

      Certainly, I feel very guilty that I contribute to their poor working conditions whenever I buy something from Amazon. That said, without that income I suppose they would be in a worse situation.

      Its all linked to Amazon’s corporate lawyers and accountants really, who do a fantastic job for the company. They get away with paying hardly any tax, appalling working conditions and pay for their employees and yet governments still give them grants to encourage them to locate in their borders. Crazy really, but that’s the power they wield – not much we can do against that individually.

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