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Annoying Christmas Eve!

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This is a letter I just sent to Consumerist, about how I wasted 45 minutes on the phone with Amazon today. I really hope they publish it. Gah! Other than this incident, I WILL HAVE A GREAT HOLIDAY 🙂

I’m writing to tell you about the utter fiasco that Amazon.com has become this holiday season.

On December 12 I ordered a ****** (Item blacked out to not reveal a gift 🙂 ) from Amazon through target.com. It was supposed to arrive well before Christmas. On Dec. 20 I got an email saying my order would be delayed until January 2. I called and got a representative who clearly couldn’t handle customer concerns. He practically hung up on me a few times. I asked why the delivery was delayed, and he stuttered about four different things to me, constantly offering to cancel my order and that I should go buy it in a store and send it myself. Not the best advice for amazon, no? I told him I would like to keep the order, but could he comp me second day shipping because my present wouldn’t arrive until the 26th or 27th, not in time for the Christmas gift I intended. He went away and came back and said that, while he was updating the order, the estimated delivery time had changed to December 24th. I was suspicious, considering his evasive answers, but I received an email immediately updating the order time, so I said thank you and hung up, thinking my gift was fixed.

Sunday the 23rd, I had not received a shipping notice for the item, so I called customer service. I explained my concern that the arrival date was the 24th, and yet it hadn’t been updated as shipped yet. She put me on hold for 10-15 minutes. She came back and said that she spoke with the shipping department “personally” and they assured her that it would ship out tomorrow (Mon) and arrive tomorrow (Mon) the due date. As you can understand, I was skeptical. I asked her how an item was supposed to ship and arrive the same day, and she assured me that it was “by air” and they she had spoken to the shipping department and they guaranteed it. Ok…I guess desperate Christmas needs drove me to accept this answer, akin to her telling me that “magic dust” would just make it appear on my brother’s porch.
Today, (24th) I had yet to have a shipping notice. I called, AGAIN explaining my problem, and asked what was going on with my order? I was put on hold again, and the gentleman came back and said that the item would not arrive the 24th, but that it would ship today, and arrive the 26th or 27th. I was appropriately more suspicious, asking why I should believe him if I’d been lied to again and again by his co-workers?! I asked to speak with a supervisor, who, after ANOTHER explanation, told me that it would arrive the 26th or 27th. I asked him could he please check and see if the order was indeed ready to ship today?
Another hold. He comes back, and says that after entering the information in his computer, that the order shipment date was automatically updated to MID-FEBRUARY!!!!! Holy hell. I start to get pretty mad at this point, but I make a point of going to the actual amazon page for the item, and pointing out that STILL the item says it can arrive by the 27th with one day shipping! He goes away again, then asks me to cancel and then REORDER the item to get that shipping date, and supposedly comp me the one day shipping on the item! Like a fool, I agree to this plan, but expect no item to arrive. Ever. I started to die inside and wanted to get off the phone. Why Amazon, why?

The second incident happened immediately after I placed an order, THIS time subcontracting with cooking.com. On Dec 13th, immediately after I placed the order (like 2 minutes) I realized that the item was not guaranteed to arrive before Christmas, it was a window of 21-27. So I call cooking.com, because I guess amazon isn’t responsible for all its orders, to request that I get faster shipping on my item. Oh, boy. The helpful stepford wife from cooking.com says she can’t do that, because THEY don’t actually ship the item, a subcontractor or whatever was responsible for it. Seriously, she couldn’t get the item I bought from them faster, even though I was willing to pay more out of pocket. In this instance, I asked her to cancel the order, because I knew I could get it locally and didn’t need to ship it. AGAIN she tells me, she’ll TRY, but can’t assure me of a cancellation, because she has to email them, and they might ship it before they read the email, even though the estimated shipping date was not until the 17th or 18th! Seriously, these people don’t check their email, FOR ONLINE ORDERS?!? So, the woman supposedly sends the email canceling my order, and says she’ll contact me with regards to the order, to tell me if it “got through” or not.
Late Monday, the 17th, I call them, because I’ve not heard about my item cancellation and gotten no notice one way or another about shipping or canceling. I had bought the same item at a store and already had it wrapped under the tree over the weekend. Another lovely sounding lady answers, I explain the situation, and she reassures me that she’ll “check into” it and definitely get back to me about it, one way or another. She gets my number and email and everything. Surprise surprise, another day goes by, no answer! THEN I GET A SHIPPING NOTICE FOR THE ITEM! OMG.

At this point, I figure I’ll wait until the thing gets here, and return the one I bought, etc. Thing is, I shipped it to a PO Box, which it let me, but when I went to the post office today to check, there was a notice, saying that UPS cannot ship to a PO Box and I need to drive to a place 45 minutes from where I was to pick up the package, on Christmas Eve. No thank you.

I would advise anyone that if they’re ordering anything but books from Amazon, beware. The layers of subcontacters and “distributors” makes for a headache and a ruined my Christmas. I will be sending a jpeg of the **** to my brother. I guess if he never gets it, he’ll at least have a nice screensaver.

Felicia Day

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