Approximate time to read: 12 minutes
We’ve all seen stories of what couriers do a in vain attempt to deliver a parcel but what actually happens when Amazon are unable to do so? I’ve experienced it this week and, it has to be said, it didn’t go very well.
First of all, what they were trying to deliver. I’d ordered some items last week, which I didn’t want next day (I’m a Prime member so get this free) so I allowed them to give it a slower delivery (you’re rewarded with a small amount to spend on MP3s and other digital content). One was a Christmas present and the other was a new broadband router. I bought these at the time because they were both reduced in price, not necessarily because of Black Friday but because the price reduction occurred at that time, they could be related and go back at any time.
Also, some time ago, I’d pre-ordered the film Ant-Man – it was released Monday and I was looking forward to watching it that night. All 3 items were bundled together in one package.
On Monday, I got an email to say the parcel was out for delivery. Excellent. Unfortunately, that was soon followed up by one that said…
We tried but failed to deliver your package today. We’ll try again tomorrow.
Now, this is a rarity – normally they’ll find somewhere to put it or give it to a neighbour. I can only assume the inclusion of the expensive router means that they’re not prepared to do this. Unfortunately, no one is at home during the day. Now, to the next issue…
Amazon allow you to attach delivery instructions to an order. Unfortunately, it is the most strictly specific thing you can image – you can ask for it to be left with a neighbour, but you have to give an exact house number, or you can have it left in one of a set number of places, chosen from a drop-down. Unless it’s a shed or garage, for example, though, that’s not going to help. In my case I have another place for items to be left. I contact customer services via their online chat and they attach a message for the couriers as to where to leave it.
On Tuesday it’s out for delivery again. And, again, I get…
We tried but failed to deliver your package again today. We’ll try again tomorrow.
I contact online chat and they check the instructions are there. They are.
Okay David I am sending this request one more time to the courier team. So please wait it will be delivered within 24 hours.
I’m not feeling confident and ask what will happen if they don’t do it again.
David I am sending this to courier back office team so this time it will not fail.
Seems pretty confident.
The next day I don’t get a failed delivery message. I simply don’t get a delivery. The order screen on Amazon too is being inconsistent. At the top it states “A second attempt was made to deliver your parcel. It will be held for seven days awaiting further instructions” yet further below, on the delivery timeline, it shows “Another attempt will be made on the next delivery day.”
I contact online chat again.
I have checked and can see that your tracking shows out for delievery. I request you to wait for 24 hours and you will get your item on your address.
I express that I’m not confident based on the hour and that I’ve had no email confirmation.
It will be deliever to you.
It doesn’t turn up so this time I turn to the phone and call them. It takes them half an hour to sort it but they change the order to be re-scheduled for today, confirm the delivery instructions and even pass onto the courier my mobile phone number if there any issues. I receive an email confirmation of what they did…
I’ve submitted your request to Amazon Logistics and they’ll reschedule your delivery on Thursday December 3, 2015.
If you’re not home, I’ve asked Amazon Logistics to leave the parcel [redacted] and also to contact you to your mobile phone at [redacted]. We’ll try to deliver to all safe place locations, at the delivery drivers discretion.
I later spoke to a chap named Patrick on their online chat (a rare instance where I believe I was speaking to someone in the UK – certainly their language skills, and not just their name, made me think this was the case). I wanted to get to the bottom of why they were so confident my delivery would happen today, particularly as the tracking on their website didn’t show anything.
The tracking is not updating however the carrier has assured us the items will go out by default and are scheduled again for today. I can also confirm that my colleague has raised the issue with the depot for the lack of details on the tracking – so this would be expected to be addressed also – to aide clairty.
I asked whether he’d actually spoken to the courier.
No, I cant speak directly with them, however we receove advisories in the morning and afternoon updating us of any issues as they arise and we in turn update the customer ie yourself etc.
The instructions you ass is sent directly to the drivers hand held scanner
in otherwords it is not filtered
So, if there are ISSUES they’re informed and any notes they add are sent to the courier. But this doesn’t explain why they it hadn’t worked the day before. And if they’re simply not delivering it, as yesterday, would an issue be raised?
I cant answer that
My Amazon order page now shows “The delivery of your parcel has been rescheduled” and, against the shipment details, “The customer requested the appointment to be rescheduled”. However, at no point during the day do I receive any further emails or does the shipment detail change.
Around lunchtime I use the online chat again to confirm that it’s definitely being delivered today. The conversation was so outrageous that I’m going to present it here (only edited for spelling mistakes and for any general rambling)…
Me: Hi. I was wondering if you could tell me what’s happening with my delivery. It was re-scheduled last night to be delivered today but my shipment details haven’t changed – it’s not showing that it’s out for delivery or anything. This is the 4th day it’s been delayed and I want to make sure it’s definitely going to arrive today.
Amazon: Hi David my name is [redacted]. I’ll be happy to help you today . I got your issue ,let me see that so please give me a moment for this .
Carrier updated on 2 December 2015 The customer requested the appointment to be rescheduled. only that’s the update , but tracking shows its out for delivery today.
Me: Yes, it’s been stuck on that since Tuesday and no delivery occurred yesterday. The fact that the shipment timeline doesn’t show any updates it concerning.
Amazon: David as i see that carrier is arriving with your 3 order that’s why carrier is late .Order No: [redacted] ,[redacted] and [redacted]
Me: Sorry, I don’t understand. I know it’s 3 items but I don’t understand why that means its late. Can you give me a guarantee that this parcel will be delivered today?
Amazon: All product collected by carrier from different -different places.that’s why carrier is late
Me: No, no, no. They’ve attempted to deliver them twice already. Then didn’t bother yesterday. I want to know what’s happening today.
Amazon: its out for delivery today
Me: Where does it say that?
Amazon: As I see that On our website tracking showing that out for delivery.
Me: It’s not showing any updates on my side
Amazon: if you didn’t receive your package today we will proceed for refund.
Me: After 2 failed deliveries and 1 day when no attempt was even made I want some guarantees that I WILL receive the parcel today.
I don’t want a refund
What if the items have gone up in price since my original order?
Amazon: I apologize for the inconvenience this has caused. This usually doesn’t happen.Can you hold for a minute or two while I check what can be done?
Me: Thank you
Amazon: I apologize for the inconvenience for this . i can issue £5.00 as a promotion for that inconvenience.
you will get your product in next 24 hour as well .
Me: I’ll still get the delivery today?
Amazon: i have contacted the carrier and told for today delivery.
In the end it all sounds positive – I’ll get the delivery today and they’re going to give me £5 for having messed me about. However, what was that first part about, where they attempt to fob me off by saying all the items are coming from different areas and that’s the delay? Even after this discussion I’m not feeling confident that I’m going to get my delivery today. To top it off the re-schedule that was arranged last night means that the website no longer gives me an option to cancel it all.
I took to both Twitter and Facebook to ask for further assistance. I got no response from Facebook and, after an initial query about the issue on Twitter, they then stopped responding on that too. However, on Facebook I got a lot of sympathy from others who’d experienced similar. Here’s one such story…
I had two failed attempts before the delivery date, which i’d booked off work. After the 1st i told them i wouldnt be in the next day but as she obviously didn’t ring the courier they tried and failed again. Then I get a note about it being held for 7 days. After 3 phone calls and promises it would be delivered yesterday it wasn’t. A call from a manager at 9.15 established it wasn’t going to be yesterday but promised she had reordered it and it would be there Friday. So I booked another day off work and rung them this morning as i was menat to get a phone call to confirm all this. I just rung and was told the manager had not reordered anything and i was offered a refund or to reorder.
Unbelievably, Amazon then started responding on Facebook to those who’d replied to me with their own issues but NOT to me.
After 4 hours of not hearing anything from their Twitter account I gave them a nudge. 3 hours later they finally replied…
Basically, “we’re not the UK, please contact them”. The irony here is that my original Tweet was to @AmazonUK but @AmazonHelp then responded.
My order never arrived by 9pm so I got back to the online chat.
Ok I have had a look at the order and can see that it was rescheduled yesterday, for today. Unfortuanetly due to the unprecedented volume of orders made across Black Friday and Cyber Monday there have been wide-spread delays with all carriers. When the order was rescheduled for today this means Amazon will attempt to deliver the item as close to this day as possible, it is unfortunately not a guarantee. When the reschedule happened the item would have been put into the que for Thursday instead of the original que it was in. Any other week this would not matter but with the extremely high volume of orders this can further delay the order.
I suspect this would be a surprise to, well, anyone. After all the previous promises I’m now told it’s just all a rough estimate.
Needless to say I’d now had enough and requested an immediate refund. I was told it would take 5-7 days for the refund to appear on my bank account (odd that it’s quicker taking the money in the first place!). However, I asked what confirmation I’d have in the meantime.
You will get a confirmation that the request is accepted. This will happen as I will explain the significant delay on the order. You will get a confirmation that the request is accepted. This will happen as I will explain the significant delay on the order.
My plan is to re-order the items so I can get them for Saturday. But, of course, I don’t want to do that until I know the existing order has been cancelled. I just hope that I get that confirmation.
I received confirmation of the refunds overnight and the Amazon tracking screen is showing the items have been returned to Amazon. I can now start again.
One of the items in the package was a Blu-Ray, and I can pick that up from Tesco for the same price, so that’s precisely what I’ll be doing. The other two are either exclusive to Amazon or are at a price I can’t get anywhere near to elsewhere, so I’m going to have to stick with Amazon on those.
Last night when I checked the items they were the same price I’d originally ordered them for and they said if I ordered before 2pm today I could get them Saturday. That’s good news as one of the items, a broadband router, I’d like to get set up this weekend. To my surprise, though, this morning the items are saying, even on Prime, they’ll now take until Monday. Now, I’m painfully aware that because of Black Friday Prime has been delayed. I understand that. But why was it saying Saturday until this morning and now Monday. That’s a 2 day leap overnight!
So, I’ve now got to accept I’m not going to get that router this weekend. Instead I’m playing safe and have ordered that to be delivered to a pick up point – in my case a local Post Office parcel depot. The other item, a Christmas present, I’m having sent to me via normal delivery – for a start Amazon won’t allow that to go to a pick-up point (no idea why) but also it’s small and unlikely to need a signature, so I suspect that will be posted like normal.
The Next Monday
So, today the router is due to arrive at my local parcel depot. I’m having to work from home this afternoon so this is an ideal time, if it’s about, to pick it up. Surely Amazon can’t get this wrong, can they?
Whilst the Amazon delivery tracking page says that it’s still “out for delivery”, they’ve helpfully included a Royal Mail tracking number (although a link to the tracking site would have been handy). I look this up and it shows that the item “was delivered to the addressee’s Post Office on the 2015-12-07 for collection.” Basically, it’s there. Great. I jump in the car and head down to the depot. Except I’m told that unless I had a card pushed through my door with details on they can’t give anything out – all Local Collect items go to the Post Office up the road. I walk up there and am told they don’t have anything. Where has the parcel gone?
I ring Royal Mail and they confirm that the parcel was delivered to the depot so call them for me. Guess what the answer is? Yes, that’s right, it’s Ama-bloody-zon’s fault. This depot was not supposed to be on their list of Local Collect points but, for whatever reason, have included it anyway. So, it’s turned up at the depot, along with hundreds of other Amazon parcels and they now have to find it. They’ve taken my phone number and will call me tomorrow morning to let me know if they’ve found it and, if they have, how I can get hold of it.
Meantime, the router has gone up to its original price so if I have to re-order again I’ll be out of pocket.
True to their word, Royal Mail called me and let me know that they’d found my parcel and that I could collect it from the depot, which I did after work. After all this effort I finally have the router!
What Amazon Say
I have reached out to the Amazon Press Office for them to comment on all of this and am currently awaiting a response. In the meantime, as the only official “spokespeople” so far from Amazon, let’s have a compilation of comments from the various customer services chats I’ve had…
I have successfully contacted the carrier arranged redelivery tomorrow and instructed them [where] to leave the parcel… as requested. I wish and hope you will receive the order tomorrow without any issue.
I am sending this request one more time to the courier team. So please wait it will be delivered within 24 hours. I am sending this to courier back office team so this time it will not fail.
I sincerely apologise for this inconvenience caused to you. It will be deliever to you.
I apologize for the inconvenience this has caused. This usually doesn’t happen… you will get your product in next 24 hour… i have contacted the carrier and told for today delivery.
Im very sorry for the delay. It is out for delivery… it should be with you soon… the carrier has assured us the items will go out by default and are scheduled again for today… The item will be delivered
The previous agent should not have promised [that it would be delivered today]. When the order was rescheduled for today this means Amazon will attempt to deliver the item as close to this day as possible, it is unfortunately not a guarantee.
Lesson learned? Amazon are another company that are great when things go well. Otherwise, forget it.
When it’s their own courier service they appear to have no way of speaking with them, other than appending notes to the order. Other people on social media have noted as much – once their own couriers get it wrong they appear to have no way of correcting things which, ironically, is the opposite of how it should be.
You know when somebody on a Help Desk really goes out of their way to help you? They would have got on the phone to the courier, triple checked everything and ensured that the right thing happened. Amazon don’t appear to do this. Whether speaking to an on-shore or off-shore Help Desk they appear to have no way of directly contacting their couriers and have no interest in actually doing so anyway. Spending some time to resolve, once and for all, an on-going issue is not something they’re prepared to do.
All of this could be easily resolved by having their customer services having a way of being able to pass tricky issues to somebody working for Amazon in the UK who is not only willing to resolve a problem but is actually in a position where they can. Until that happens problems like this will continue to give Amazon a bad reputation.
Equally, having customer service on the various social media services is great as long as they actually do something and are fair to customers. Twitter ignored me for 7 hours before telling me to contact the normal customer services and Facebook helped others before finally attempting to assist me.
And unlike most customer service issues I am not able to highlight a single point where things actually worked. No, I take it back, it was pretty quick getting them on the phone or online chat. That’s pretty much the only positive I can take away from this but, if the service you then get isn’t any good, you then have to question whether this actually was helpful or not.