The Haphazard Blog

Shopping

When Amazon Prime Isn’t

by on Dec.29, 2010, under Life, Shopping

It seems like Amazon.com likes to teach me lessons about shipping. Amazon likes to occasionally offer free trials of their Amazon Prime service. For those who aren’t familiar with it, for $79/yr you get “free” 2-day shipping on your orders and can get overnight shipping for $4.

I’d learned from past purchases that the free super saver shipping can take forever, so when I decided to try and find a copy of Burnout Paradise for the Xbox 360, shipping time was important because I planned to play it while my brother was visiting. Amazon was offering the trial, so I signed up and ordered the game.

I learned that 2-day shipping is not the same as 2nd day air. They will use closer warehouses and ground shipping to get your item to you in 2 days. The main problem here is that UPS does not time guarantee ground shipments so they have no incentive to get your package to you if they make a mistake because there’s no financial consequence. I called Amazon, and they said sorry and offered me a $5 Amazon.com credit (that never showed up). UPS said they can’t do anything (like re-route it using a faster delivery method).

So here is what my package did:

Amazon (and UPS) Not So Prime

Two days turned into 12 (7 business) and I got it the day my brother left. I had never seen so many problems with a package.

On the bright side, a couple days later I got an e-mail from Amazon refunding my purchase. That meant a free copy of Burnout Paradise for the trouble!

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Amazon.com Free Shipping Nonsense

by on Sep.02, 2009, under Life, Shopping

I’ve had a lot of good experience with Amazon’s free super saver shipping in the past. My online shopping purchases have dropped over the years and if I couple it with Amazon charging sales tax in Kansas (yet nothing ever ships from Kansas) I don’t shop at Amazon that much. But, as I said I’ve had good experiences when I do. Things would ship out fast and arrive within a week or so. This last time, it did not go so well.

My Dad was going to India and my cousin asked him to bring her a stethoscope. Normally I bargain hunt and research sellers to get the best deal. Since he was leaving in a couple weeks and I wanted to be sure to avoid any problems I paid a little more and went with Amazon. So I placed the order August 24th. The stethoscope was in stock, so I was literally shown these options:

  • FREE Super Saver Shipping (5-9 business days)
  • Standard Shipping (3-5 business days)
  • Two-Day Shipping (2 business days) –get it Wednesday, August 26!
  • One-Day Shipping (1 business day) –get it Tuesday, August 25!

I’ll also point out that I had the wrong date for when my Dad was leaving and never should’ve chosen the free super saver shipping option to begin with. But I learned something valuable about what Amazon does when you choose that option. A week goes by and the order hasn’t shipped. I’m a little concerned, but I figure even if it ships today (August 31), I’ll get it in time.

I get the e-mail it ships, and it has an estimated delivery date of September 5-11, 2009. Unbelievable. The item was in stock, 5-9 days. What in the world? I contact Amazon and they tell me that the 5-9 is transit time. There is also an up to 5 day processing time. And for good measure, unprompted, the CSR tells me they can’t explain everything on the web site. Really? They can’t change it to say 5-14 business days? Add an asterisk and note that is only transit time and there is a processing time as well? If people are worried about off-shoring call centers because of accents, don’t worry, they’re getting a lot better. This guy was just as rude as anyone with a less noticeable accent. Same terrible experience for less cost (to Amazon).

In the end I signed up for the Amazon Prime trial and had it shipped second day. It showed up second day. My original order showed up on Saturday the 5th. I refused the package and sent it back to Amazon. I dropped the package off at the post office and got a refund on the 16th. I learned to only use the free super saver shipping if you don’t care when it shows up. Sometimes it’s fast, sometimes it isn’t. And when it isn’t, it can be 5 days longer than you’re led to believe.

–get it Tuesday, September 29!
–get it Monday, September 28!
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