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Has Amazon gotten too big to serve its customers properly?


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Showing 1-25 of 36 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 26, 2012 1:04:10 PM PST
J. S. Cooper says:
I've been a shopper at Amazon for many years now. It seems more and more frequently I feel I should quit buying from them, and support local vendors, or those that have proved beyond reproach, despite higher prices. I'm talking about places like Crutchfield's, who if prices are the same I will always pick over Amazon. I say this because I know they stand behind everything they sell, and offer lifetime tech support. When I bought a Kenwood audio/video/nav unit for my car a few months ago, I knew I would need install assistance, or answers to questions about what would work on my car that Amazon could not offer.

It used to be at Amazon that regardless of their shortcomings, they operated under the principle do the customer is always right. If an item description wasn't accurate, or there was any question about returning an item, I knew I could always call customer service, and although maybe they had trouble communicating, an issue was always resolved to my satisfaction.

Now, prices change almost hourly sometimes, but price protection is no longer offered. A speaker I bought just a month ago has dropped in price from the Lightning Deal price of $400 to below $250. A set of headphones from the regular price of over $80, and Lightning Deal price of about $67 to under $44. Yet in the past, where Amazon was willing to offer a refund, now will only offer profuse apologies. You one could ask for, and receive, a promo certificate for the difference, they now prefer that you return the item and reorder it to receive a lower price, despite the fact that doing so costs both Amazon and the customer significantly more to achieve the same result.

I have always been happy to review an item, and appreciated others who did the same, often offering advice that uncovered a ripoff, or a true bargain. And information that filled in where product descriptions fell short. Now reviews are often bogus, and you look to see the reviewer has only reviewed the one item you're looking at, giving it an undeserved five stars. Reviews from Vine reviewers are rarely critical, and all too often are not truthful in disclosing important information.

And now, instead of having an issued resolved in a single call, I am misinformed by customer service, and end up writing to Jeff Bezos' office, until someone gets involved and resolves an issue. I had built up a huge Video On Demand credit from the No Rush shipping promo, but was being charged for every video I ordered. An agent, and his supervisor, informed me that the terms and conditions stated I could only use a $1 or $3 on any purchase, which was blatantly false, or if not, certainly underhanded, as I received constant emails telling me of the total credit I was adding to, and nowhere I could find anything but the total I was drawing against. They later told me it was a problem that had been corrected, and gave me a promo certificate to cover my erroneous expenses and imploring me to forgive them and continue giving them my business.

Now, I am being charged for gift returns, when I called last month an specifically asked about what the policy was. I asked because I was unsure what Prime entitled me to, and the fact that the return window had been extended to January 31st for everything bought since November. But as soon as I went to return an item I discovered I wasn't being given a full refund. The reason: apparently I was expected to check off the box that said it was a gift when I purchased something, despite that the only thing that did was drop the price from the packing slips, which weren't always included with a package now. A 'gift message' was merely a line of text hidden somewhere on the packing slip.

Again, profuse apologies that I was misinformed, and there was nothing that could be done. So again the question has resurfaced of why do I bother doing business with a vendor that treats e like crap, collects sales tax (regardless of what the tax law states), and often leaves me feeling cheated when they slash prices on items I have recently purchased.

So, I ask, has Amazon really gotten to big to be able to treat customers the way they deserve, leaving them regretting saving a few dollars by undercutting a Brick and Mortar store that offers good service and respects their customers. Or online vendors that will always see to it their customers are satisfied, like Zappos, who will pay shipping both ways for any purchase. Or Crutchfiled, who will price protect, and promptly issue a refund I'd they ever drop the price on a recently purchased item?

I hope that along with others offering an opinion, that someone in management at Amazon sees this, and offers some response for their declining customer service, misinformation, and faltering policy changes.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2012 1:06:51 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 26, 2012 1:08:25 PM PST
tonyS says:
Haven't you been blathering about this same stuff several times before? Borrrrrrrrrrrrring. So, shop somewhere else then.

" An agent, and his supervisor, informed me that the terms and conditions stated I could only use a $1 or $3 on any purchase, which was blatantly false, or if not, certainly underhanded..." Sounds like plenty of user error here.

Posted on Dec 26, 2012 1:12:15 PM PST
Egó,ňr says:
another habitual complainer.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2012 1:17:02 PM PST
No

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2012 1:17:04 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 26, 2012 1:19:27 PM PST
tonyS says:
A few days ago, it was his "Guess Amanzon didn't think I was serious" thread where he started a thread that he refused-delivery on ALL his purchases because Amazon couldn't fix the supposed problem with his account.

>snore<

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2012 8:11:08 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 20, 2012 8:13:05 PM PST
J. Sheldon Cooper says:
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Pretty much.

I bought a bunch of stuff I really didn't need, but refused it since Amazon didn't straighten out my account. But now they have, so I can buy the stuff again since Amazon is repeating the same deals over and over. Some of it paid for with money Amazon gave me to keep my business.

Companies don't really like losing good customers, especially in these economic times, and some profit is better than no profit at all.

Particularly when the customer is a jerk who buys a lot of watches that have ungodly markups.

And a Merry Christmas and Happy Festivus to you. Only three days until the Airing of Grievances.

Posted on Dec 26, 2012 1:22:43 PM PST
lookingfaps3 says:
Unfortunately, since there are so many blatantly dishonest customers out there, no business can afford "the customer is always right" or that business will soon be out of business. It's also not possible to make every customer "happy" no matter what is done. When a business gets as big as Amazon, I'm sure as long as 90% of their customers are happy, so are they.

Posted on Dec 26, 2012 1:27:25 PM PST
Lou Parsons says:
J.S. Cooper you are nuts... go shop where you can complain to a live person eye to eye and see how far you get.

I use Amazon for at least 90% of ALL my shopping and have for many years. I have only had to return 2 items and never had any problems doing it at all.

Posted on Dec 26, 2012 1:31:58 PM PST
ratmotor says:
This guy would B if they hung him with a new rope.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2012 1:42:16 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 26, 2012 1:42:39 PM PST
Hey J., when's the Reader's Digest version of your OP coming out?

Posted on Dec 26, 2012 1:46:58 PM PST
I can't comment on how Amazon has dealt with you. I'm not a huge fan of the constantly changing prices, but figure if I leave something in my cart long enough the price will come down to a point I can live with. As for returns, I had one item to return this Christmas. I bought a case for a handheld gaming console. It didn't fit. I did the return online, Amazon said please keep the $9 item and they would also refund the money. I'm sure the underlying reason was that the cost of returning it would be higher than the value of the item. I won't complain, I will donate the case to Goodwill. As for the window on returns, whether I buy from Amazon or a local store I always clarify the return policy before I buy.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2012 1:58:08 PM PST
tonyS says:
Maybe, not being "hung" IS his problem??

Posted on Dec 26, 2012 2:13:06 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 26, 2012 2:24:18 PM PST
Nanciejeanne says:
Is that true about the gift returns? I have some items to return, but didn't check the "gift" box. I have prime. Do I just have to keep checking to determine that I got the same amount as if I had checked "gift"? OR will they tell me there was a deduction.

I also had trouble using balances for videos and an amazon local promo code (for a kindle book.) They did fix it with an email when I was charged incorrectly (and I followed the instructions for the purchase...so don't just call me a lazy customer!) I think that is one of the WORST parts of amazon--finding your promo balances, when they expire and how to make sure they are applied. Most of the website is so simple, but that is not. Mostly, why the 1-click? If we could just review the purchase and price BEFORE, we could maybe head off a problem.

I still love amazon! just wish a few things were clearer and simpler.

Posted on Dec 26, 2012 2:15:18 PM PST
JK says:
For me, you can't beat Amazon. I always check prices from other Sellers and invariably come back to Amazon for 90% of my purchases. Amazon prices are lower most of the time, the hassle free return policy is excellent, and I just feel very secure buying from Amazon knowing that they value their customers. Add to that Amazon prime, and my deliveries always arrive very quickly and on time. When I do find cheaper items, I read the Seller reviews and often the reviews touch on experiences that border on a nightmare. Even many reputable online Sellers have a policy that once you buy, say an appliance, from them and encounter a problem you have to deal with the manufacturer. There is no provision for returning the item to the Seller. The Amazon 30 day return policy, with Amazon subsidizing the shipping costs, is something I for one value and factor in when I make my purchases even on the rare occasions when the item is somewhat more expensive at Amazon. As far as price fluctuations go, I check the prices from other Sellers when I buy the item, and if Amazon is cheaper, then it is a good price. The fact that it may drop down a week or so later is not appealing but that is life. It can happen anywhere including your local store. There are instances when I am not happy with Amazon prices, but no one is holding a gun to my head and tells me I must buy from them. In any case even for these items most of the time I can't find any reputable online Seller who offers them cheaper so I wait until the price drops to an acceptable level.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2012 2:18:58 PM PST
tonyS says:
I agree about checking the balance of promos. What a pia.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2012 2:25:04 PM PST
J. S. Cooper says:
Seems like every time I "blather" about something, you're here with 3 or 4 responses.

So you obviously enjoy reading my posts as you seem to live here on the GBF. What? Is is just an interesting diversion from playing word games for you?

And you obviously can't resist the temptation of clicking on 'show post anyway' since you apparently read everything I write. And feel free to check every word game and see how many OPs aren't voted out of visibility. Oops! I guess the emperor has no clothes...

Thanks for all your intelligent and well thought out responses. What would the forum do without you trolls who have nothing to say but never cease to complain when someone else does.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2012 2:29:08 PM PST
J. S. Cooper says:
If you go to http://amazon.com/returns, your return won't be treated as a gift unless you apparently checked the gift box when ordering. You'll know to check your credit as you won't have the option of returning a gift and when you check 'no longer needed or wanted' it will tell you that you'll pay return shipping but only give an estimate (unless it's clothing eligible for free returns).

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2012 2:32:17 PM PST
Nanciejeanne says:
ok thanks sheldon. Luckily it WAS clothing! phew. Maybe I should just check "gift" on EVERYTHING from now on!? They should have really said that more clearly that we needed to check that. I DID check the date deadline, but never say the stipulation about "gift". Did they really not credit you the difference?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2012 2:34:06 PM PST
Honestly, Sheldon, I wouldn't want to do business with a company that took the position that YOU (Sheldon) are always right. Trying to appease people like you is expensive and will increase overhead to a point where the company's prices will need to increase and ultimately cost me money.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2012 2:37:55 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 26, 2012 2:40:16 PM PST
J. S. Cooper says:
I still shop at Amazon but it still seems like their customer service has deteriorated significantly over the years..

Maybe part of the problem is I buy so much stuff from them, that I encounter so many more problems now. It's become hard to find anything that Amazon DOESN'T sell these days.

Which is why I ask the question of maybe they've gotten to big to be able to service all their customers properly. Look at how many Lightning Deals people were waiting to purchase only to be met with 'waitlist full' messages before they had a chance to click Add to Cart.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2012 2:49:46 PM PST
Miami Nights says:
That's absurd to expect to get a refund or even a credit for a drop in price of an item that you bought a month ago. If it was just a day or so after, or while your order was still being processed, I would understand. in those earlier instances, they probably were just doing you a favor because you complained. You weren't entitled to those refunds or account credits and so, after awhile, they stopped doing you favors. I bet that they told you they were making an exception each time. So now, they no longer made exceptions, and rightfully so.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2012 2:54:51 PM PST
Miami Nights says:
I agree on the 1-click feature. Why, when I'm buying an MP3 download, can't I see the pricing breakdown before I submit the order? It's possible on other orders but not for the MP3s?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2012 3:03:36 PM PST
No.

Posted on Dec 26, 2012 3:15:11 PM PST
Bookgirl says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Dec 26, 2012 3:40:14 PM PST
I recently had to pay half the cost of what I paid for an item in order to return it... that has NEVER happened to me. I am still in the process of seeing what is going to happen... I understand if the seller is not going to refund me for the cost of the return, but Amazon didn't give me an option to ship it UPS... I HAD TO SHIP IT USPS. Well DANG. Guess so! There went my xmas present. Thanks anyway, gma... :/

Posted on Dec 26, 2012 3:54:38 PM PST
Jewlz2963 says:
I purchase on Amazon A LOT. I just bought a 60" tv and didn't realize to get the $200 credit I had to put a gift card for that amount in my cart at the same time. (It was late, didn't read the fine print i.e. not their fault.) Spoke to cust. service and they issued a "special" refund for me. I return approx. 10% of the items I purchase due to various reasons (broken, quality, didn't work) and have never had a problem. I'm as loyal to them as they are to me. That's why I purchase just about everything there. If things change so will I. And leave reviews about it. When my 09' Toyota Matrix caught on fire and Toyota did NOTHING about it, after being a 15 yr Toyota devotee, I bought a Hyundai.
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Discussion in:  Gold Box forum
Participants:  22
Total posts:  36
Initial post:  Dec 26, 2012
Latest post:  Dec 26, 2012

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