Amazon: a cautionary tale
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Post Posted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 1:00 pm 
 

I'm disappointed to report that my great Amazon experiment has come to end. Beyond that, though, I feel I should warn any current or potential Amazon Marketplace sellers that you are likely to not receive any satisfaction from Amazon's alleged "customer service," and you are further likely to find that Amazon will dip into your account and issue refunds pretty much whenever they feel like it.

I will avoid excruciating details that no one else but me cares about; briefly, here's why I removed myself from Amazon this morning:

* Since I began selling in January, I have had three absolutely bizarre experiences with customers. In all three cases, I've been forced to navigate a confusing, counter-intuitive, and labyrinthine appeals process that, for whatever reason, seemed to be different each time. And the resolutions to the cases seem arbitrary, at best:

1. Crazy buyer kept the item; no refund issued.

2. Crazy buyer kept the item; she was refunded; my funds were NOT touched.

3. Crazy buyer will be keeping the item; refund issued.

It's this last one I need to touch on as a warning to all sellers here. Briefly:

I always ship with delivery-confirmation in terms of Amazon orders; without a PayPal-esque system in place, I figured it was my only proof that an item was delivered. I even pay for this out of my own pocket for all Media Mail shipments, as that's considered an extra level of service for Media Mail.

So yesterday, Crazy Buyer says he never received his item. The confirmation number shows that not only was it delivered, but he's had it since July 17. I offer a few suggestions: did someone else in his household maybe pick up the mail? Has he simply just forgotten about it? Is it just misplaced somewhere? Finally, if it was mis-delivered, maybe he should ask a couple of questions at his local post office.

Within an hour, I had:

* Received a nasty email;
* Received a 1 out of 5 feedback rating;
* Had a refund request to deal with.

Now, as stunned as I was about all of this, I figured only the last one was really important. So I calmly copied-and-pasted all of the required information into the required boxes, and added a note that basically said: "Hey, Amazon, this is open-and-shut. Just check the confirmation number yourself."

Within an hour of that, Amazon had sided with the buyer and issued a refund.

To say I was floored by this would be an understatement. I'm not even sure how it could be possible. But I need to warn you all here:

Amazon can issue a refund against you for any reason. Delivery confirmation is not enough. In fact, NOTHING is enough. By Amazon's definition, there is literally no way to prove delivery took place.

All a buyer has to do is say he wants his money back, for ANY reason, and he will likely get it back, depending, apparently, on the phase of the moon and the mood of the Amazon "customer service" person.

I'm done; I'm pulling all of my listings right now. We might make fun of eBay here, but at least a tracking number counts for something at that place. I might even open an eBay Store.

I hope this warning might save a few people here.

Fuck you, Amazon. Fuck you, HARD.

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Post Posted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 1:42 pm 
 

Sorry to hear about that. That sucks.  I'm just wondering what Amazon expects...are sellers supposed to file in small claims court to resolve each and every dispute?

  

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Post Posted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 2:39 pm 
 

misterspock wrote:Sorry to hear about that. That sucks.  I'm just wondering what Amazon expects...are sellers supposed to file in small claims court to resolve each and every dispute?


No, Amazon expects you to pay, Mr. Bond.

  

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Post Posted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 2:45 pm 
 

Well, well!  The changes eBay is implementing along with this state of affairs at Amazon might mean a few more years of life for eBay after all.  Hmmmm. :?  

Thanks for sharing your experience.  I keep thinking about selling at Amazon from time to time, but it'll be significantly postponed if not stopped with this report.


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Post Posted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 3:01 pm 
 

So what did Amazon customer services actually say about you having proof that the buyer has received the item? I presume you phoned them. I'm just curious as to how they justified it.


This week I've been mostly eating . . . chicken and wild rice soup.

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Post Posted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 3:05 pm 
 

I'm out; I'm done — just pulled all of my listings.

I'm not trying to be over-the-top here, but I felt a warning was necessary, as Amazon has gotten a lot of favorable press here at The Acaeum in the last year or so.

One more time, and then I'll let it go: despite a valid tracking number that proved delivery, they gave this guy a refund less than an hour after he filed the complaint.

That tells me the buyer can just claim ANYTHING. The seller has no recurse at all.

I'm just glad it wasn't an expensive or rare book.

Rant over. Thanks for listening.

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Post Posted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 3:11 pm 
 

I'd speek to customer services on the phone.


This week I've been mostly eating . . . chicken and wild rice soup.

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Post Posted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 5:06 pm 
 

Oh, its just gets better:

I just got an automated email from Amazon warning me that my "performance metrics" had fallen below their guidelines. Specifically, having received one negative feedback in my last six sales (16 percent), I was above the guideline of 5 percent.

Absolutely unspeakable. I told them to fuck off.

I'm now reconsidering even being a customer any longer. And I've been ordering there since 1997; I was there when the two tabs at the top said "books" and "CDs" and that was it.

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Post Posted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 5:08 pm 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:I'd speek to customer services on the phone.

Useless. I've been down that road.

I'd get the same answers that I can get just by going through their email menu. And I've got two children to watch; I have no time for getting put on hold and dealing with a mush-mouth from Irani-Paki-Khazaki-Stan.

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Post Posted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 5:17 pm 
 

In that situation, I'd be on to Amazon by phone, and asking for Mr Arab's manager, and if I didn't get the right answer from him, I'd be asking to speak to his manager. I don't take shit from call centre staff. I don't accept 'we'll get someone to call you back' either. I stay on hold untill someone high enough is available, and I push for compensation if it's not sorted out first time around. I always ask for names, and if a call centre handler refuses to pass me to a manager, won't let me hold, or indicates that they're gonna hang up on me, I tell them if they do, I have the time and date of the call and I'll be straight on to Amazon head office to complain about them personally. Call centre staff are the easiest people in the world to get to jump. They're scares shitless of losing their jobs. And that goes for the first few layers of management too.

Personally, I'd be looking for the full value of the transaction and a compensation pyment to cover my time and phone calls of say £20. The key is to stay focussed and factual, speak to people who can make decisions, and not lose your temper.


This week I've been mostly eating . . . chicken and wild rice soup.

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Post Posted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 5:25 pm 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:The key is to stay focussed and factual, speak to people who can make decisions, and not lose your temper.


Most people never learn this.  As soon as you lose your temper, you have just signaled that you have lost.  Keep it factual and keep climbing the ladder.  I love it when they say something like, "But the manager will tell you the same thing I just said."  I say, "They might, but they also know the name of their boss who might just say something different.  It might take a few levels of management, but I know I'm right so please pass me along." 8)


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Post Posted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 5:30 pm 
 

Yeah that's great.
I usually go with.. "That may be the case, but I'd rather hear it from him."  :lol:


This week I've been mostly eating . . . chicken and wild rice soup.

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Post Posted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 5:34 pm 
 

Nah, not interested. And, again, two kids and all that. Not gonna happen.

Plus, I'm doing everything I can do burn bridges at this point. I've literally cancelled all my listings, and I've got no desire to re-create them. And I've also told at least three Amazon people that they should insert their own penises up their own rectal cavities, so I'm not winning any friends there.

Hell with it; I'm glad I was able to learn the lesson on a $6 book. The most important thing is still to warn people here that it is SELLER BEWARE if they're thinking of selling on Amazon.

I'm actually looking forward to seeing if eBay's recent concessions to sellers are as good as they sound. Plus, again, at least they know what a tracking number is over there. Give them credit for that.

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Post Posted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 5:40 pm 
 

I understand. You gotta be the type who likes to argue with folks. Whereas, you just wanna smack someone in the mouth.

TBH, Amazon will never be able to compete with eBay, even if huge mubers move accross. They are only designed for selling boxloads of goods from mass markets. There is no way an individual seller can make money on Amazon, and keep his business safe. That goes for both Amazon Auctions and Amazon Marketplace. I've been saying that for years.

Mind you, it's a good place to pick up bargains. If you're unscrupulous, you can get most things for free.

You could always post his name and address, and we can all ship him little piles of poo. It'd be a laugh.  :D


This week I've been mostly eating . . . chicken and wild rice soup.

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Post Posted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 8:24 pm 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:
You could always post his name and address, and we can all ship him little piles of poo. It'd be a laugh.  :D


Thought of that, too bad it's illegal.   :roll:


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Post Posted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 8:54 pm 
 

Xaxaxe wrote:I'm disappointed to report that my great Amazon experiment has come to end. Beyond that, though, I feel I should warn any current or potential Amazon Marketplace sellers that you are likely to not receive any satisfaction from Amazon's alleged "customer service," and you are further likely to find that Amazon will dip into your account and issue refunds pretty much whenever they feel like it.

Wow.  I'm glad that none of my Amazon customers have tried to get a refund.   8O

Thanks for the rant.  Forewarned is forearmed . . .

  


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Post Posted: Sun Aug 09, 2009 2:51 am 
 

sounds incredible!!! sad to hear this Xaxaxe


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Post Posted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 10:41 am 
 

Xaxaxe wrote:Briefly:

I always ship with delivery-confirmation in terms of Amazon orders; without a PayPal-esque system in place, I figured it was my only proof that an item was delivered. I even pay for this out of my own pocket for all Media Mail shipments, as that's considered an extra level of service for Media Mail.

So yesterday, Crazy Buyer says he never received his item. The confirmation number shows that not only was it delivered, but he's had it since July 17. I offer a few suggestions: did someone else in his household maybe pick up the mail? Has he simply just forgotten about it? Is it just misplaced somewhere? Finally, if it was mis-delivered, maybe he should ask a couple of questions at his local post office.



Note: I'm not the buyer however I've been on the buying side of this equation where an item was shipped with delivery confirmation, showed as delivered when I tracked it on USPS site however I never got the item :?   When I pursued with the local Post Office I got the run around.  In the past the PO has misdelivered items to other nearby addresses with the same house number, different street address, frequently.  Usually the unintended recipient is kind enough to either put the item back in the mailbox or actually bring it over and I've done the same with misdeliveries.  Local PO clerk almost went ballistic that I had the temerity to even bring the subjet up 8O   God forbid they should be accused of making a mistake.  In any event I never got the item so either they misdelivered and recipient decided to keep it or someone had the gall to take the damn thing from my mailbox or porch :evil:   Not saying this is the case in your situation however never discount the falability of the mail....


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Post Posted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 11:22 am 
 

simrion wrote: Not saying this is the case in your situation however never discount the falability of the mail....


I've had this happen on a two occasions myself.


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Post Posted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 11:50 am 
 

....either they misdelivered and recipient decided to keep it or someone had the gall to take the damn thing from my mailbox or porch....


I would tend to believe the later over the former of those two.
And I have had that happen to me before, only I caught the asshat that did it.
But as you said, eiher one is possible.


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