Is It Amazon's Fault They Still Have My $200, Or Mine?

David ordered a Kindle and cover from Amazon shortly after Christmas, but it disappeared in transit and was never heard from again. These things happen in commerce. What David doesn’t understand is why, after he was too busy to respond after an initial e-mail exchange, Amazon didn’t try to contact him or just automatically issue a refund or replacement for the missing Kindle.

I placed an order on Amazon.com for a Kindle and cover which shipped on Dec 29, 2010 according to FedEx tracking number [redacted]. I opted for a free trial of Amazon Prime to ensure inexpensive 2-Day shipping. I expected to give the Kindle as a gift shortly after the holiday. Sure, most people shop BEFORE the holiday but in this case I planned to hand-deliver about a week later.

Unfortunately my plans changed when the Kindle did not arrive. I wrote to Amazon.com on Jan 5, 2011 expressing my disappointment. The communication is copied below:

01/05/11 14:09:41
Your Name:david
Order Id: [redacted]
Comments:Hi,

I ordered a kindle and cover for a Christmas present on 12/29. I signed up for Amazon prime in order to receive the items before visiting family for the holiday. The visit is over, a different present was purchased in a rush, and the package is STILL in transit. According to the FedEx tracking it has not even left the state of origin yet.

What went wrong? Can you provide a RMA for this order?

Thanks,

David

Perhaps I should have asked for a refund, since an RMA would require that I had merchandise to return. I thought it was clear that I no longer needed or wanted the Kindle or cover. I’d like to know what Consumerist’s readers would think if they needed to respond to that email.

I did receive a response on 1/5/11 from Amazon:

Hello,

I’m sorry this package never arrived and you had to contact us. I’d like to help, but I’m not sure if you’d like a replacement order or a refund. Please let us know using below link which option you’d prefer and we’ll take care of it for you.

Please visit the following link to provide the information we requested:

[Link]

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Thank you for your recent inquiry. Did I solve your problem?

If yes, please click here: [URL]

If no, please click here: [URL]

Best regards,

[redacted]
Amazon.com

After sending that email I became inundated with work and, when the Kindle never arrived, had assumed that the $198.99 charge had been credited back to my account.

I assumed wrong. After my complaint Amazon did not provide a refund OR my order. The tracking information shows that the order is still in transit after leaving Lexington, KY.

fedex.gif

I understand that mistakes happen and that retailers need to be made aware of some mistakes. What I grapple with is how Amazon could become aware of this issue and then do nothing since I did not give them direction. If they were confused there are a number of things they could have done:

1. Refund the money.
2. Send the order.
3. Try contacting again.
4. Call.

What did Amazon decide to do? NOTHING. Not even an apologetic phone call stating they were sorry their “Prime” service failed to deliver and caused a bit more stress in my life over a holiday.

Before I contact Amazon I’d like to hear how your readers feel about this situation. Would they be satisfied with a refund after being treated like this? Do they think I deserve to lose my money and my order since I didn’t follow-up and check my statements earlier? Maybe I deserve it all for procrastinating on my holiday shopping.

Never assume that any company will credit anything to your account, um, ever. It looks like Amazon was waiting for a response on the new Kindle vs. refund question, and then the whole transaction was lost in the post-holiday commerce frenzy.

The package is still lost (see above) and David can still receive a refund. The question is, is it his responsibility to track the transaction back down, or should Amazon have caught back up with him?