Tell me the truth or tell me you don't know - just don't make it up

@boiboing (12882)
Northampton, England
November 28, 2015 6:14am CST
I am usually quite a fan of Amazon Prime and have been known to write glowingly about their customer service in the past. Sadly not this week. I placed an order on Saturday for some coffee pods. They were due for delivery on Monday under the Prime next day delivery scheme. On Monday the order info showed they might be 'slightly delayed' but the delivery tracker still said they'd come that day. I hung around until about 7 pm and then set off for the week. Tuesday morning I called my husband and they hadn't appeared so I went online to 'chat' to Amazon. I was told absolutely definitely for sure they'd arrive within 24 hours. The person was apologetic and processed a partial refund to say 'Sorry'. The parcel didn't arrive. I contacted them on Wednesday but this time I took the precaution of asking for a copy of the discussion. A very confused lady in India kept changing her story about what was happening. Knowing that I was keeping the transcript of the discussion, I asked her directly "Are you sure it will be here tomorrow?" Oh yes, she said, of course. It wouldn't happen again. Of course it did. Finally on Friday the parcel came. I went back online and this time I got someone in Ireland. I think I got him because I went through a link to make a complaint rather than to ask about an order. I told him that I wanted to lodge a complaint but that I didn't want the staff in India punished for giving me wrong information. I wanted the supervisors to explain to their team that they needed to understand the cultural differences between India and UK. I go every year to India so I have seen first hand (and many times) that there's a strong desire to tell people what they want to hear, to offer promises and guarantees that the speaker can't actually keep. What we as customers want is none of those empty promises or reassurances. We want facts. So if they don't know, they should try to find out and then, if they still don't know, TELL US that they don't know. Be honest. Say "I've tried to find out but I can't be sure and I'm going to send a mail to the couriers to ask for more info". Or "It should be there on Thursday but based on what's happened so far, of course I can't be 100% sure". It's the mindless guarantees offered by people who really can't be sure that make me mad. I got an extra 30 days free Prime service as a goodwill gesture. I had rather expected that and it was my objective in calling but I equally hope the message gets passed on to the customer service centre as young Eoin said it would be. I asked him to please tell them that we don't work that way
16 people like this
16 responses
@owlwings (39601)
• Cambridge, England
28 Nov 15
I've used Prime for the free trial period (and you have to be sharp to cancel it when it expires) but I've never seen the rather steep annual fee to be worth my while or to give me any particular benefit over the normal service. In most cases, I am quite happy to accept the normal delivery rates and have usually found that, even with 2nd Class post, the items arrive well before the due date. I don't think I've ever had any misadventures with delayed delivery from Amazon and I'm not sure how I would go about complaining if it did happen.
2 people like this
@boiboing (12882)
• Northampton, England
28 Nov 15
Prime is fantastic value for me - not for the overnight deliveries as much as for the instant video streaming. I've given up the TV license at my flat because with Prime and iPlayer, I don't need it any more. I also use their free photo storage and they just introduced a music service that I didn't really explore yet.
3 people like this
@owlwings (39601)
• Cambridge, England
28 Nov 15
@boiboing I can see that if you use those features, it is well worth it.
1 person likes this
@boiboing (12882)
• Northampton, England
28 Nov 15
@owlwings They have driven away a lot of people who just wanted the fast deliveries and don't value all the extra services.
2 people like this
@amnabas (10310)
• Karachi, Pakistan
28 Nov 15
The waitings are really irresistible and apart from that the late delivery frustrations are the other issues.
2 people like this
@BelleStarr (39575)
• United States
28 Nov 15
I have never called them so I have not had this experience. So far, my items come pretty much as scheduled.
1 person likes this
@boiboing (12882)
• Northampton, England
28 Nov 15
I use their online 'chat' system rather than the phone. That way you can get a transcript of the conversation.
2 people like this
@BelleStarr (39575)
• United States
28 Nov 15
@boiboing That makes good sense, you can prove what they promised
1 person likes this
@boiboing (12882)
• Northampton, England
28 Nov 15
@BelleStarr Exactly. And I'm wily enough to phrase my questions so they can't wriggle out of them.
2 people like this
@gudheart (12743)
28 Nov 15
I personally think Prime is too expensive for me as I don't really buy from Amazon that often.
1 person likes this
@boiboing (12882)
• Northampton, England
28 Nov 15
It's a good deal for me because I use the video streaming a lot but if you only want the fast delivery, it's not worth it.
2 people like this
@gudheart (12743)
28 Nov 15
@boiboing Yea, you are right. I use the streaming using my sister's account!! I know I am bad LOL
1 person likes this
@epiffanie (10408)
• Australia
28 Nov 15
Oh! I feel your frustration.. in some cultures, they think it's okay ..It's like that in the Philippines too.. I grew up in that culture and yet I still can't understand why most say 'yes' when they mean 'no' ..
1 person likes this
@boiboing (12882)
• Northampton, England
28 Nov 15
I used to go to India a lot for work. For weeks before I'd be asking my contact how the presentation was going, was it nearly ready, could I help in any way and every time he'd say "yes, yes, everything is fine" and then I'd turn up and spend the whole of the jet-lagged night pulling together the presentation that was supposed to have been almost finished for the previous month.
2 people like this
@epiffanie (10408)
• Australia
28 Nov 15
@boiboing it's like being on a different planet right? .. that is how I feel every time I do business with my own people ..ahahah! ..( i laugh when I get frustrated ) ..
1 person likes this
@Susan2015 (21306)
• United States
28 Nov 15
They shouldn't just tell people what they think they want to hear.
1 person likes this
@boiboing (12882)
• Northampton, England
28 Nov 15
Indeed but sadly sometimes they do.
1 person likes this
@Juliaacv (32275)
• Canada
28 Nov 15
There sounds like there was quite the cover up on this late delivery. I'm sure that you would have been fine with the wait, had you been told honestly in the beginning that was the case.
1 person likes this
@boiboing (12882)
• Northampton, England
28 Nov 15
Once it didn't make the Monday delivery, I was going to be away until Friday so they could have told me straight, given me the discount and the extended Prime and we'd have saved everybody a lot of time. Unfortunately I've had enough Amazon delivery issues that I now know all the tricks to get them to put their hands in their pockets - but sadly I don't have any tricks to get the parcel here on time.
1 person likes this
@katsmeow1213 (29047)
• United States
28 Nov 15
Well at least they took responsibility and offered you a partial rebate. Many companies these days wouldn't even do that, they'd cite some sort of fine print that says there are no guarantees and that'd be that.
1 person likes this
@tallawah (9082)
• Kingston, Jamaica
28 Nov 15
Before I came to the locale...I assumed this was a Ja call service.
@boiboing (12882)
• Northampton, England
28 Nov 15
So things are like that in Jamaica?
@tallawah (9082)
• Kingston, Jamaica
29 Nov 15
@boiboing oh yeah, people will lie...straight up. They'll promise just to shut you up.
@Rollo1 (16686)
• Boston, Massachusetts
28 Nov 15
I am happy to say that I haven't had such an experience with Prime, most of my Amazon customer service experiences have been very positive. The only problem I seem to have is that UPS is often sued and they often hand over small packages to the US Postal Service. One out of every three packages coming via the postman goes missing. I don't know if my postman is a thief, a liar, or if someone stalks him and steals packages when they see him leave them. But i have always been afforded a refund or replacement.
@boiboing (12882)
• Northampton, England
28 Nov 15
It would be nice to not need to ask for refunds and replacements though.
1 person likes this
@Rollo1 (16686)
• Boston, Massachusetts
28 Nov 15
@boiboing I may start staking out the postman myself, just to see how these things are going missing. Waiting for a replacement does ruin the whole two-day shipping benefit.
• St. Petersburg, Florida
28 Nov 15
I guess those delays can be expected when you order real angel's wings for Christmas.
@boiboing (12882)
• Northampton, England
28 Nov 15
Hey, if Amazon have real angel wings in stock with next day delivery, then my Prime membership should get them here on time, even if they have to send them by unicorn
@MALUSE (42573)
• Germany
28 Nov 15
You're a tough customer!
@boiboing (12882)
• Northampton, England
28 Nov 15
Indeed I am. Companies don't improve if you don't tell them when they get it wrong (sounds a bit like husbands and dogs).
@jstory07 (69054)
• Roseburg, Oregon
28 Nov 15
It is terriable waiting around for something when you expect it that day and it does not show up.
@boiboing (12882)
• Northampton, England
28 Nov 15
Especially when half of you is sure that it's not going to come.
@allknowing (68597)
• India
30 Nov 15
I have been ordering through Amazon.in for a while now and have so far never had reason to complain. Its a joy to deal with them. This must have been an isolated case and that individual's behaviour cannot be taken to mean as Amazon is irresponsible.
@slund2041 (3375)
• United States
29 Nov 15
It is sad that you can not trust people to tell you the truth anymore. I am sure they go through it, listening to all our complaints, but still. It is their job to satisfy the customer.
@Jessicalynnt (47895)
• Centralia, Missouri
28 Nov 15
I was once a reporter, I am master of the whole, "it should be" never "it will be". lol