I buy quite a lot of stuff from Amazon, ranging from the mundane and disposable (simplehuman trash can liners, probiotics, lotion, facewash) to the infrequent and occasional (lunch bag, french press, knife rack, backpack).
I’ve sent back a few things recently – the lunch bag, a coat rack among them – that appeared worn. Not dirty and knocking on death’s door but clearly worn. I just noticed my knife rack is a bit scuffed up but I figure what the hell, it’s not noticeable unless you’re peering at it up close.
Other times I’ve seen package slips missing, things packed incorrectly or misshapen (not the outside UPS box but the inside retailer’s packaging). It’s just not 100% consistent like it was for years.
Last week their #1 selling kettle had a meltdown on me. Six weeks old and it’s top half melted. I stopped myself an inch away from touching it. That would have been bad. I requested a refund and did receive one quickly but had to send a special email since it was outside the 30 day return period. I also was told it was “an exception”. I don’t want it to be an exception; I want the rules to be clear and consistent for the future. The email was clearly written from an Indian call center in broken English.
Is Amazon slipping for you, or is my experience unusual?
First, them giving you a refund after the 30 day return period was, in fact, an exception. If you want the rules to be followed, you should have just accepted the fact that you were SOL and bought a new kettle.
Second, I doubt your email was as described, since English is one of the official languages of India, and nearly every single person under the age of 40 is as fluent as you are. In fact, I’m not sure why you even think it came from India.
Third, Hi, Opal!
Fourth, Amazon doesn’t have “quality control” because they don’t make anything; all they are is a retail seller.
Fifth, I’ve had no problems of any kind with Amazon or their dealers, and I buy more from them than I do any brick-and-mortar store in the valley I live in. Your experience, whatever it is, would seem to be atypical.
Dude, you’re being an asshole. I didn’t ask “what do you think of the refund” I asked if you had similar experiences. I didn’t ask for a refund actually (now that I’m looking back at the emails themselves), I asked “wtf should I do” essentially. The quality control I’m talking about is sending out shit that has been used.
I’m half Indian so I know what broken Indian- English sounds like and what it’s written like. Plus the email was signed by a clearly Indian first name. So don’t waste my fucking time. The only relevant thing you had to say was “no, I have not had your experience.”
Good question. It’s all new and all fulfilled by Amazon. I think a couple of the packaging errors were from other retailers but the other issues of QC were from Amazon themselves. I have heard some horror stories of buying the used stuff from Amazon but I haven’t ventured down that path myself.
In the constructive contibution arena, I got a busted piece of equipment from Amazon last week. I asked them to not advance charge my debit card for replacement. They sent an overnight replacement to me at no charge, which I didn’t even come close to asking for, much less demanding.
Amazon’s been great to me, lately and always. I got Prime last month, and I’ve been buying little things here and there that I’d usually get from Walmart (bottle of melatonin, plastic tipped syringe, massage pillow, yarn, socks, lotion, etc). No problems whatsoever, although all those purchases were Prime-Eligible (if that matters). And when I bought some used video games for Christmas gifts (before I had Prime), I didn’t find their shipping lacking at all.
I also don’t think Indian CSRs are necessarily worse than American ones. When my Kindle Fire died the first time I turned it on (at 2am on December 25th), Indian reps were very helpful over email, IM, and the telephone. And at 2am, I was impressed! I printed off the shipping label they emailed me, returned it, and got a functional one within a few days. I also had an issue with a potentially fraudulent charge (which turned out to be a temporary thing initiated by Mechanical Turk) that an Indian rep helped me with, at 4am. I’ve always been quite happy with the timeliness and helpfulness of Amazon’s Indian CSRs.
Lastly, I’ve actually *worked *with Indian CSRs who are employed through EXL (an overseas outsourcing company); I did QA and fact-checking during a transitional period for my company a couple years back. Although some of their written word choices are a little unusual (see: do the needful :p), they’re not illiterate or unhelpful in any way.
Amazon’s quality control has gotten much worse for me recently.
Packing slips? I don’t even expect them anymore, they won’t be there. They always used to be.
Packing? Apparently packing material is out of style these days, I got computer equipment rolling around in an otherwise empty box. I used to get plenty of padding.
Item quality? I bought an item new and it came missing a part that made me very suspicious that it had been previously used and returned (with that part taken).
I still use them for everything though. They have always made good on any problems and allowed me to return items. They have been using a new shipping provider in my area and I wonder if that is the cause of the lack of quality control.
I think it’s important to separate item quality from retailer quality here. Amazon sells a lot of junk products. Something like the kettle melting… that seems to me more a product design flaw than anything Amazon could’ve prevented (unless it was damaged during shipping or something). Maybe those products were just made with poor QA to begin with, or maybe the manufacturer ships refurbished units to Amazon marked as “new”?
Also, “fulfilled by Amazon” is different than “sold by Amazon”. Anybody can send merchandise to Amazon, mark it as new whether or not it actually is, and make it eligible for Amazon Prime shipping. Amazon will list and fulfill those shipments, but they are not the same as Amazon’s own stock. Are you sure the products you’re buying aren’t from a third-party vendor doing that? (It’s not always easy to tell)
If you’re essentially saying that Amazon is shipping out used items as new, I find that odd because they already have a side business (Amazon Warehouse) that sells used and refurbished items right alongside the new ones with the same service and shipping benefits. They mark it down – sometimes significantly, sometimes only by a few dollars – depending on the item’s condition compared to new. If they already easily go through that channel and just lose a few dollars, why would they risk their reputation faking it?
Personally, I’ve received and returned a lot of crappy products from Amazon, but none that I would blame Amazon for. It’s not like they do QA on the crap they ship, they just inventory it, let customers rate it, and ship it out to those who choose to buy it. What’s important to me is that Amazon’s service has been top-notch for the decade that I’ve used them, and remains so today, and they go out of their way to do the right thing even if it’s the manufacturer’s fault. That’s my experience.
The only issue I’ve had with Amazon lately (i.e., in the past year) has been on timeliness of shipments. It used to be that you could go with “slow boat” shipping methods, and they’d almost always meet or exceed the “fast” end of the shipping estimate. I’ve had several recent orders that didn’t even arrive by the “slow” end of the shipping estimate. That said, it’s not entirely clear to me if the issue is being caused by Amazon processing the orders more slowly, the shipper (probably USPS in most of those cases) being slower, or both.
I buy from Amazon fairly frequently using an Amazon Prime membership, and I haven’t really had any notable problems with orders. I don’t think I’ve ever received anything that was damaged or missing parts.
I’ve only had two issues that I can think of in the past few years, both involving products that differed from their product description—in both cases from Marketplace vendors, and in both cases I was given a full refund and didn’t even have to return the product.