Well Done Amazon.co.uk

Now, in the past I have been very quick to rant here about the slightest customer service infraction – mainly this is because Ebuyer and Pipex are terminally bad companies – so it is only fair that I try to re-dress the balance at least occasionally.

So, with this in mind, I need to say a big well done to Amazon.co.uk. They have an actual understanding about customer service and appear able to maintain their promises.

A few months ago I was sent £20 in Amazon vouchers, so eventually I decided to spend them. Not really having anything in mind, I spent quite a while searching Amazon looking for the right combination of things to hit the £20 mark exactly and not incur any P&P charges (yes, I am that cheapskate). Eventually I found some filters for my camera so I ordered them. Everything went smoothly and the order was processed then confirmed.

A few hours later I glanced over the confirmation email and, to my horror, I realised I’d ordered the wrong size filter (52mm instead of 67mm if anyone cares) and panicked trying to cancel the order. In previous dealings with e-commerce sites, this is normally where everything goes wrong, however with Amazon it was painless, quick and effective. They were even able to refund the gift voucher without any problems at all.

Being unable to find any suitable filters of the correct size, I cracked and bought a few books (history, Pratchett and the like), going over the £20 but not by much. As I live a few miles more remote than the middle of nowhere, I was expecting the delivery charges for this (heavier) bundle to be painful. When I have bought from other suppliers (who also use Royal Mail to deliver) postage charges have been astronomical but no, Amazon offered the normal range of options, including the free “standard delivery.”

Despite the site being littered with warnings about the Royal Mail strikes causing problems to post etc., I decided I was in no hurry and standard delivery (estimated 5-7 days) would be fine. This was during the evening of 10 Oct 07. I placed the order, got all the confirmations (and this time there was no panic over the thread sizes…) and all was well.

Today (13 Oct 07), I get home from work only to discover the parcel has arrived. So, in effect, the standard delivery took less than 3 days to complete. To be honest, this is pretty good going. If some one posts me a single page of A4 it normally takes that much time to get here, if not longer. When I have ordered from other companies, I have had to pay a fortune (often as much as 20% of the cost of the total order) for items which have taken a week or two to get here from the centre of England.

I realise it is strange to say well done to a company for doing what they should do (i.e. serve their customers), but sadly it has become a rare thing in my experience. Companies no longer care about negative opinions, because largely they are all rubbish. In this instance though, Amazon have exceeded my expectations and, in doing so, have greatly increased the chances I will shop there again. Will they care? I doubt it. But I will.

(Note 1: Interestingly, in this instance, Amazon exceeded my expectations by ensuring they were low to begin with. Amazon emphasised how the parcel could take up to a week, longer with the postal strikes. This meant anything less was a bonus to me. Too many e-commerce organisations try to boast about getting things to you before you even realised you wanted them that disappointment is sure to follow.)

(Note 2: One negative point. Despite the books being supposedly “brand new” all four show distinct signs of wear. One is pretty dog eared and all smell of stale tobacco. If I was planning to sell these on eBay, I would never get away with calling them new… The parcel used to wrap the four up was open at both ends, so I am amazed nothing fell out and was lost. I think this includes a well done to the local postie. )

[tags]Amazon, e-commerce, society, culture, raves, Good Shop, Postal Strikes, Royal Mail, Books, Shopping, eBay, eBuyer, Pipex, Customer Service[/tags]

3 thoughts on “Well Done Amazon.co.uk

  1. You bought from a “third party” who sells on Amazon. Amazon *never* ships used books as new (and AFAIK, never sells used books, only new and used-mishandled); tobacco odors and other stains or smells come from the third party. Third party sellers must agree to abide by certain restrictions, including that of HONESTY: if they represented the book as “new” but it’s not, then that’s a violation on Amazon of “misrepresentation” – and that’s very, very serious. (If the book category was “used,” then it’s not misrepresentation. But I suspect they tried to get their book in a higher category to make more money off people who trust Amazon, and they hope they won’t get caught.) Sellers who try to use the power and trust of the Amazon brand name should be made accountable for their sleazy actions.

    You can do a couple of things:
    1) Rate them as LOW as possible on your feedback, and be EXPLICIT about not getting what was promised – that the book was misrepresented as NEW when it was worn and smelling of smoke. Your feedback will appear for all other buyers (and will be anonymous to them); it will also reduce their “trust score” by Amazon (and Amazon is vigilant about sellers with low or declining “trust scores.”
    2) Contact the seller directly to let them know they misrepresented their order. Ask them for satisfaction. Let them know that you expect to be reimbursed for the book AND the shipping costs, including YOUR costs to ship it back.
    3) Contact Amazon and ask them to deal with the seller. If the seller won’t refund YOUR shipping costs, push Amazon to refund it for you. Push hard – you should be able to get them to give you another certificate; they won’t want to lose a customer.

    Bad sellers on *any* platform make it hard for *everyone* on *any* platform (e-bay, Amazon, or what-have-you). If you pursue action against this seller, you’ll help make Amazon – as well as e-commerce in general – better for everyone. Sellers who sell damaged and smelly books make the rest of the good sellers look bad.

  2. Thanks for the comment. As far as I can see on the Amazon site, the books were sold by “Amazon” rather than by a third party. When I wrote the “brand new” phrase I was trying to say that these were not in the “new and used” listing on Amazon.

    I agree 100% with the rest of your comments though – thanks for making them.

  3. Then you should get satisfaction – I’m seriously surprised that Amazon.co.uk would sell inferior products. There should be a phone number you can call for customer service – you should not have to pay full price for a damaged book, especially from Amazon.

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