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A Great Customer Service Experience with Amazon.Com

Date: 11-Aug-2011/23:43

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This is off-topic for a programming site. But I am going to say that Amazon.com customer service has been great, and did something very accommodating for me recently. They kept me from being out $150, due to something that may have possibly (or probably) been my mistake.
I don't run a super famous blog, but after everything got resolved I told the customer service rep that I'd give them a shout-out for fixing the issue. If you're interested in hearing about it, read on...
What happened is this: I moved halfway across the country, and made a big-ol Amazon order of around $1K of things for my new apartment. As with most "You're going to spend over a thousand dollars when you push this button" moments, it took me a few times of going back to the cart and doing some second-guessing. But I eventually pushed it and went through the checkout process.
Somehow, I sent it to my old address in LA. That address hadn't been taken off the system, though my new one had been added to the list.
I wasn't quite sure how I could have done this. I didn't really go back to look at the interface until the old address was taken off. There is a pretty clear "pick the shipping address" phase and a "pick the billing address" phase. I find it hard to believe I could have clicked the wrong button, but maybe there was a default...and I was so used to just clicking "Next" that I didn't think about it?
Anyway, I got a call about a week later from my former roommate, telling me that a bunch of stuff had arrived there for me. In a perfect world he would have refused the delivery. But he wanted to talk to me to find out what was going on...and didn't want to disrupt something important, so he signed for it. :-/
Amazon Shipping Boxes
So now four boxes of mostly-kitchen-stuff are at my old apartment, that have been erroneously signed for. They need to be shipped to Texas, and so there's a question of who's going to pay for that. (One box actually was delayed in the warehouse, so Amazon was able to switch the address before it got there.)
I called Amazon and they said to tell him to take the boxes to UPS, get a photo of the receipt, and they'd reimburse him. Which was very cool. He took a trip to the closest UPS-authorized shipping center on the map, and shipped them.
He snapped a photo of the receipt and it was $142.15?!?! That's more than ten percent of the cost of the goods I purchased in the first place!!! (Most of which had free shipping from Amazon.) Furthermore, this bill didn't include the item that was redirected!
I was stunned. Would Amazon be? They weren't, and just credited us. All the things arrived and I was very happy that my expensive order did not get more expensive.
Because I don't ship a lot of stuff, I actually don't know if LA's "Box 2 Go" on Fairfax Avenue has normal prices for shipping or not. These weren't unusually heavy...and they were being sent from LA to central Austin, so nothing unusual. But for the sake of transparency, I'll list the prices just in case:
Note All items were sent 07/11/2011 and expected 07/14/2011. He told me he just said to send it UPS Ground, but they may have chosen UPS "Select Ground" because the cheapest service is usually 5 business days.
  • 19 x 14 x 12 --- $41.92
  • 42 x 16 x 4 --- $44.97
  • 10 x 8 x 7 --- $27.93
  • 18 x 9 x 9 --- $27.33
Anyway, I'll let the market decide if that's reasonable. Maybe it is. I'm not behind the scenes so I don't know the inner workings. And perhaps Amazon has a bulk deal with UPS where when things like this happen the price is lowered if things are being delivered back to them. (But they certainly have no relationship with "Box 2 Go", so whatever part of the markup comes from them wouldn't be recouped.)
Either way, I definitely am grateful to Amazon for helping me out with this situation. They're keeping me as a loyal customer.
Note The semi-cynic in me does feel the need to mention that I do have a history with them, I've spent a lot of money. They can intuit from my purchase patterns that I'm a legitimate customer...who buys iMacs and Logitech DiNovo Edges and whatever from them. I don't have a brother who runs a box store, and this isn't some bizarre shipping complaint scam. These facts and metrics might influence the nature of what kind of customer service you get. Yet my story does not seem to be unique, so let's assume this kind of thing is just generally about happiness for all customers.
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