Amazon Says It Will Never Compensate Us For Or Assist With Problems In Any Future Deliveries

Consumerist reader L. and his wife have been loyal customers of Amazon since the giant e-tailer started out, he says. But because of a recent email his wife received today, he says they’re going to reconsider their allegiance.

L. writes that his wife has returned three things in the past year, including two pairs of shoes, and that “Amazon is no Zappos.”

He says they’re rethinking their loyalty because Amazon has decided to rescind its return policy for one customer.

The email reads:

Hello,

We’re writing to apologize for the number of problems you’ve experienced with your shipments. Your correspondence with us indicates you’ve required refunds on a majority of orders for a number of reasons.

Through the normal course of business, the occasional problem is inevitable. However, you seem to have had an unusually high rate of problems in your account history.

Effective immediately, we’re unable to guarantee any further deliveries or compensate you for any additional problems with your shipments.

You can view our Conditions of Use here:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/?nodeId=508088

If you have any questions regarding your account in the future, please write to us directly at cis@amazon.com.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Best regards,

Account Specialist.
Amazon.com

Has this happened to anyone else out there? Feel free to commiserate with L. and his wife, or offer advice.

UPDATE: Reader L. wrote in with a happy ending to the above tale of woe, and he’s thankful for the help of his fellow readers.

After my spouse’s beautifully crafted “WTF? I have weird feet…” email, and I would imagine, this thread, Amazon “reviewed” my wife’s account and decided the return pattern was not abnormal. They are reinstating the account to reinstate it – and her full shipping and return privileges. They acknowledged that buying shoes is not like buying other products.

Thank you, Consumerist hive and Amazon.

Comments

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  1. Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

    “Effective immediately, we’re unable to guarantee any further deliveries or compensate you for any additional problems with your shipments.”

    Somehow I don’t think that’s going to be a problem for them.

    • zippy says:

      Actually, I just had a thought. There have been phishing emails going around using order cancellation as a hook. It’s possible this is a phish attempt, I’d double check it (and don’t click on any links in the email).

  2. Important Business Man (Formerly Will Print T-shirts For Food) says:

    Wow, and just when I dropped ebay/paypal and went over to Amazon.

  3. Bob says:

    “L. writes that his wife has returned three things in the past year…”

    Yeah, I’m willing to bet that L’s wife has returned a lot more things than he knows about. It wouldn’t be the first time that a wife has hidden purchases from her husband. I’m just sayin’. I highly doubt Amazon sends these letters out after 3 measly returns over a year.

    • lotussix says:

      i’ve returned more than three items in the last year and haven’t had any problem with amazon… then again, i’m a prime member there…

    • QuantumCat says:

      It should be relatively easy to check, though tedious–if you go to the Order Summary for each order, it will say on its status whether it was returned or not. I’m unsure if there’s a more convenient method.

    • pop top says:

      Yeah, those damn conniving, sneaky women.

    • RevancheRM says:

      Isn’t it more likely that as a man, Bob, he’s lying to us and the Consumerist?

      Oooor! Even more likely that this is all just a mix-up of accounts and Amazon incorrectly pegged the OP. Seems to make more sense than warring on the womenfolk.

      • Shadowman615 says:

        Stereotyping aside, it’s certainly possible that either the OP is lying or his wife is lying, and neither of those things reflects on their entire gender, OK?

    • Bunnies Attack! says:

      Amazon said she returned a majority of purchases. Maybe she really did only return 3 things, but if she only bought 4 things, then thats a problem. if she bought 20 things and returned 3, thats less of a problem. See the difference?

    • StarKillerX says:

      Maybe this is similar to how no one who ever gone into an ER drunk has ever had more then 2 drinks?

    • Shadowman615 says:

      Yeah. They did say “a majority of orders.” So I suppose it could be 3 out of 5, but I doubt that.

      Amazon is just applying a smart business principal — fire your worst customers. Tim Ferris (writing about small business so note that this isn’t quite the same) wrote about how so much of his time and money was wasted dealing with certain customers; it just made good business sense to fire them and concentrate on the top 20% who accounted for 80% of his earnings.

    • jimbo831 says:

      I tend to agree. I have returned at least 5 things for various reasons in the past year on Amazon and never had this issue. I have also purchased probably 30-50 though.

    • joako says:

      Yea I’ve done 3 returns this year… 2 they just gave me the credit without the actual return. No issues.

      Oh I’ve also placed 15 orders in the past 30 days according to my order history…

  4. MeowMaximus says:

    We don’t know all the circumstances here, but if its as bad as it seems, I think Amazon’s response is entirely reasonable.

    • BennieHannah says:

      Shoes are often returned. Shoes aren’t like most items — they either fit just right or they HURT and you can’t wear them. I order frequently from Zappos and return more than I keep. Apparently that’s okay with them, because they upgraded me to VIP (free overnight delivery). I appreciate the fact that with Zappos I have access to a far wider variety of shoes and brands than I would shopping in my hometown, and especially when you’re trying out an unfamiliar brand, you have no idea how they run. If Zappos stopped being generous about returns, and I was stuck with pricey shoes that I could not wear, that would be the last time I shopped with them.

      • BlkSwanPres says:

        But the letter mentions refunds. If you get shoes and they don’t fit, you return them and get another size, you don’t get a refund.

  5. FatLynn says:

    Didn’t we recently have someone who got this same sort of notice from BB?

    I wonder what they returned, and in what condition. Without that sort of info, this doesn’t mean much.

  6. AngryK9 says:

    You must always be careful where your products are coming from. I have been a loyal Amazon customer for years. I have never had a problem getting anything sold and shipped by Amazon itself. The problems I’ve had (though very few, like, 1 every 18 months) have always been with third parties selling through Amazon.

    • druidicawen says:

      As have I. Most of the issues I have are for third parties inundating me with emails asking me to leave feedback for them. Most of these requests come after I’ve already left the feedback…

  7. kelcema says:

    …Retailers can refuse service to anyone, for any reason. Best choice for continued business health? Maybe not, but they still have that right.

    Multiple returns/problems indicates either:
    a) the OP is really super picky, at which point they may be better off shopping at a local bricks-and-mortar store, or
    b) there’s something wrong with how Amazon handles their shipping process.

    If the latter, I would use the email address provided and outline the problems that have been encountered, and ask them to clarify how you should handle these problems in the future.

    • dwtomek says:

      Alright I have to ask, what’s up with the surge in the use of bricks-and-mortar as opposed to brick-and-mortar? Do you look at a building that is made of bricks and say, “Hey, is that a bricks building?” I’m not singling you out here, I’ve seen it a lot recently and am just genuinely curious. It seems clunky at best to me.

    • Actionable Mango says:

      “Retailers can refuse service to anyone, for any reason.”

      Oh really? Try refusing service to someone for no other reason than that person is a minority, disabled, or any other protected class.

      • kelcema says:

        Sorry, let me elaborate: Online retailers can refuse service to anyone for any reason.

        After all, there is no way that, online/over the interwebs, they can know if you are part of any protected class, therefore any argument of “They don’t like me cos I’m female/male/gay/straight/white/black/mormon/jewish/muslim/hispanic/asian/russian” is negated.

        Unless you tell them. Which would be silly.

        Bottom line: Don’t shop Amazon. Ha.

  8. LJKelley says:

    I’m with Amazon on this. If the customer is a high return customer, then Amazon can choose not to deal with it.

    Have some personal responsibility, Amazon is not screwing up that much. I can understand the occasional return because it genuinely was damaged or not what you thought it was etc..

    And the customer can choose then not to use Amazon, which I agree is likely. But don’t blame Amazon.

  9. BlueHighlighterNextToACoozie says:

    Both sides of the story please. I can fully justify Amazon for this on many levels without knowing both sides. Were shoes worn? Was it more than three things? Were returns sent late? Many questions could validate their letter.

  10. ajaxd says:

    Amazon have been good to me in customer support. Perhaps it’s no Zappos but it’s much better than average. I think there has to be more to this story than OP disclosed.

    • malraux says:

      As an example of Amazon usually being pretty good about customer returns, back when Left 4 Dead 2 was released my order showed up with the disk missing. Someone in the amazon warehouse had opened the case and stole the disk before sending it to me. I didn’t have any problems getting amazon to take the case back and send me a new one, even though it was basically my word that I wasn’t stealing the game.

      • RedOryx says:

        Agreed. When the USPS marked one of my packages as “delivered” and it was nowhere in sight, Amazon overnighted another copy no questions asked.

    • Captain Spock says:

      Zappos.com is an online shoe and apparel shop currently based in Henderson, Nevada.[3]

      In July 2009, the company announced it would be acquired by Amazon.com in an all-stock deal worth about $1.2 billion.

    • Captain Spock says:

      Zappos.com is an online shoe and apparel shop currently based in Henderson, Nevada.[3]

      In July 2009, the company announced it would be acquired by Amazon.com in an all-stock deal worth about $1.2 billion.

      Perhaps it IS zappos!

    • Hartwig says:

      I have to agree, have had nothing but good experiences with this retailer, and have only heard good things. I can’t imagine them losing a customer over a trivial situation, must be the ops fautl.

  11. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Sounds like insurance companies. “You’ve made excessive claims on your insurance, so we’re terminating your insurance.”

    • oldwiz65 says:

      Excessive? HomeOwners policies have been terminated for making a single small claim.

  12. Portlandia says:

    Three items returned out of how many purchases? The letter says it all. You returned a majority of your purchases, likely choosing a reason that would guarantee amazon paid return shipping.

    If you’re costing them money, they don’t need you as a customer.

    • dulcinea47 says:

      If three is “a majority”, it couldn’t be more than five items, could it?

      • regis-s says:

        He says she’s returned three items in the last year. He also claims they’ve been “loyal customers” of Amazon since it started up. I wonder how much she returned before the last year?

    • lvdave says:

      I WISH that QVC and the other TV-based shopping channels would send my wife such a letter… I have a compulsive shopper for a wife. Everytime I pass by and see her watching one of those channels, I know, as sure as I’m alive, that in a few days, *something* she bought from them is going to appear on our porch. Most of the time, its b.s. trinkets/crap, only a few dollars, but on occasion a big box appears and my bank balance goes down quite a bit.. In those cases, I demand she send it back, which of course, we PAY for.. They give you an “easy-return label” but what they don’t say is that the cost of it comes off your refund. EVERYtime this happens, I hope against hope that THIS is the one where QVC et al tells my wife to take a hike.. But alas, not yet.. You’d think after 27 years of marriage I’d have broken her of this, but again, alas, no… Sorry to vent, but this topic made me wanna get this off my chest…

  13. Lyn Torden says:

    L. and his wife need to explain these returns. It does sound excessive. If the shoes were damaged or even if L.’s wife ordered the wrong size, it should be an exchange instead of a refund.

    I have not yet had anything wrong with what I order from Amazon (6 orders so far this year). But I don’t make orders for things I don’t intend to keep.

    • whogots is "not computer knowledgeable" says:

      I wear a common shoe size, so Amazon — which, to be fair, doesn’t specialize in shoes — often has spotty service in my size range. If I order a pair that doesn’t fit, I usually don’t get the opportunity to do an exchange.

  14. GoldVRod says:

    Returning for a replacement is one thing (DOA, cosmetically damaged in shipping, wrong item etc), but returning for a refund is another. Frequent buyer’s remorse makes for bad business and I can understand where Amazon is coming from.

    I also wonder if the ‘past year’ is in fact just this year to date and not the last actual 12 months. I also wonder how many items L has ordered from Amazon in total in that time (a detail interestingly left out of the OP’s complaint) as that would give us an idea of percentage kept vs percentage sent back.

  15. ferozadh says:

    I have a feeling there’s more to this than the email lets on. For Amazon to basically say we don’t want you as a customer anymore, there must be some extensive history of what they consider abuse of the return/refund policy. I’m surprised that an “Account Specialist” would have the power to make such a decision. Maybe it’s time to escalate the issue to a supervisor.

  16. nightshade74 says:

    “Your correspondence with us indicates you’ve required refunds on a majority of orders for a number of reasons.”

    This seems to indicate you’ve returned and or needed adjustments on the majority of your orders. I can see where this would be a problem for Amazon.

  17. Blueskylaw says:

    This all depends on how many items have been returned. If all you are buying is shoes then I can see more than the usual amount of returns; if you are buying many random things and having many random returns (ie. not what I expected) then I can see Amazon doing this as much as it scares me.

  18. vizsladog says:

    I call Bullshit.

    Now give me a cookie.

  19. CaughtLooking says:

    The OP is probably the person that returned the panty liners so Amazon had to sell them as ‘used’.

  20. kobresia says:

    So, they’ve returned 3 things…how many did they buy and keep? That’s a critical piece of information to judge how reasonable the policy may be.

    “Second-thoughts” returns do hurt retailers that run on fairly tight margins in the first place. I can understand Amazon not appreciating a customer that doesn’t buy a whole lot and returns much of it. Most online retailers aren’t anywhere near as generous when it comes to returns as they used to be.

  21. AllanG54 says:

    This was done by Home Shopping Network and QVC years ago also. They don’t want to waste their time shipping stuff and then have to restock an open item that’s returned. My advice to OP was to go to a store and check the items he wanted to buy for size, etc and then order or do better research on line before ordering. If his wife returned three items that still might have been more than half their orders.

  22. Meano says:

    Translation for those who don’t speak corporate:

    “Hello,

    You keep returning stuff and are costing us money.

    We understand there are occasional problems for everyone. For you, “occasional” means “usually.” When we eat a return, we eat shipping costs and have to sell the returned item at a loss as open-box or refurb.

    You’re fired as a customer.

    You can view a summary of why some customers get fired here:
    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_44/b4056431.htm

    If you have any questions regarding your account in the future, please write to us directly at cis@amazon.com.

    Please stop ordering from us.

    Best regards,

    Account Specialist.
    Amazon.com”

    The question here is not whether a serial return abuser should be fired. The questions are:
    (1) Three returns are a pattern? and
    (2) Amazon owns Zappos. Two of the returns were shoes. Ordered from Zappos?

  23. RedOryx says:

    Eh, there has to be more than this. With the amount of commerce Amazon gets, 3 returns from one customer hardly seems worth making a fuss over, so either L (or his wife) is holding out on the real number. I’m also curious about the “numerous reasons” — defective or wrong size items I get (and those can be exchanged) but frequent Buyers Remorse is a different issue.

    • StarKillerX says:

      Her only doing three returns is probably like how not a single drunk I saw in 9 years in the ER ever admitted they had more then 2 drinks.

  24. thor777 says:

    I’ve returned bunch of stuff to Amazon, at least 4 items this year, and never had a problem. OP’s return rate must be really high for Amazon to do this….

  25. rdclark says:

    I am a heavy Amazon user – hundreds of orders over the past 10 years — but looking at my account history I see no way to identify ones that were returns. Looking at ones that were, there is no indication of such.

    I think hubby needs to ask Amazon for a listing of these refunds, and then have a talk with wifey.

  26. Eyegor says:

    stop being so picky?

    I’ve been using Amazon for a very long time and have only rarely had to return items.

  27. sufreak says:

    I think there are some missing details here. How many things have been returned? I’ve returned plenty and have always had top notch service.
    Perhaps they were returned ‘worn once’ or something to that extent?

  28. Me - now with more humidity says:

    OP here… We’ve made other purchases in the past year (12 months) with no problems. The shoes were brand new, but did not fit properly when tried on, as women’s shoes sometimes do because of the way they are made, strap positions, etc. We paid return shipping on those. The other item was returned for very shoddy construction. All three returns were from Amazon merchants, not stocked by Amazon themselves. So for those of you on a blame-the-OP road, find an exit ramp and chill.

    • Craige says:

      To reiterate what everybody here is asking: How many things have you bought over the past year?

      You should be sending off an message to the supplied email to get a list of returns on your account. Calculate the percentage of returns vs retained purchases, and go from there. Perhaps this was a computer error, or perhaps it is just. You’ll only know by getting more information directly from Amazon.

      • Craige says:

        Actually, you should be getting a list of refunds, rather than returns.

        Basically, you want to get as much information from them regarding the problem. Get a list of “refunds” they have on your account, as well as the corresponding reasons.

      • Me - now with more humidity says:

        She doesn’t buy much from Amazon. It’s probably a percentage issue. I’ve made 25-30 purchases over the same period of time and never had a problem with 5 or 6 returns, refunds or exchanges.

        • GoldVRod says:

          Hate to break it to you – 25 items and 6 returns? That’s really, really high. A full quarter of the items you order you seem to have to return. A quarter?

          I’ve been an Amazon customer for ten years and have returned… drum roll… 3 items. Over a thousand orders and 3 items.

          You were right to be fired by Amazon.

          • rugman11 says:

            Yeah, I’m not a big Amazon user, but of my 50+ items I’ve never had a single return. The only problem I’ve ever had was when a shipment was lost (or misdirected) in transit. They sent out a new one and recalled the old package.

          • zippy says:

            Really. I’ve only had to return one item, and that was because it was the wrong item (I ordered colored socks, and they sent white). Returning that many items makes you a problem customer in my book (although I can’t be really mad at Amazon’s problem customers, cuz I buy the stuff they return for cheaper out of the “Warehouse Deals”).

          • George4478 says:

            That’s what I was thinking. I place around 100 orders a year and I can recall one return in the past 10 years. Returning 25% of your orders — that’s a high percentage.

          • MMD says:

            Did you order shoes that didn’t fit, though?

            Returns on clothing items sold online are inevitably going to be higher than on other types of goods. Especially womens’ clothing items/shoes, which are notoriously inconsistent in sizing.

            Unless you’re the same *kind* of customer as the OP, you’re comparing apples and oranges – not helpful or relevant.

          • RedOryx says:

            Seriously. Especially since the OP says those purchases were made over the same period of time as his wife, so 1/4 of his purchases over the past year or so were returned.

            I’ve been on Amazon since 1999 and while I’m not a huge shopper, of my 50 or so purchases I’ve returned or exchanged …. 0. In fact, the only shipment I have ever had a problem with was lost in transit or some shit. USPS marked it as delivered but it never turned up. Amazon, being the awesome company they are, overnighted me a new copy free of charge.

        • Craige says:

          If she does have a high percentage of refunds, then I can’t say Amazons decision is unjust.

          What I recommend from here on is to make small finite purchases on your wife’s account – things that you wont have to return, or can eat the cost of if they don’t pan out. This should help get her ratio back on track and hopefully have this restriction removed; you may have to call Amazon directly for this down the road.

          For all other purchases, I would recommend doing them under your account (as you have implied that you and your wife both have separate accounts). If they need to be returned, Amazon will still honour the return as they normally would. However, don’t let your wife put your account into poor standing with an abundance of returns on it (which I don’t think she will. From the sounds of things, it’s simply a percentage game with Amazon, and *your* purchases should keep those in line).

    • CubeRat says:

      Fine, but Amazon has decided that you are not a customer that they wish to do business. I don’t think that they are being unreasonable, as they have told you in advance that “we’re unable to guarantee any further deliveries or compensate you for any additional problems with your shipments.”

      Your choices: shop elsewhere or buy from Amazon only stuff you would not return.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Hmm…I’d try to get more info from Amazon, if you can. They have a secret phone number. If you sign in and go to the help page and click on Contact Us, there is a form to fill out for options, or you can call at 1-866-216-1072 from inside the US or 1-206-266-2992 from outside the US. I hope this number is still valid. If not you can try the other option. Once you fill out the form there is a button you can click to get a phone number, I think.

  29. superdrew says:

    “Your correspondence with us indicates you’ve required refunds on a majority of orders for a number of reasons.”

    This doesn’t neccessarily mean that they have returned a majority of the items ordered, it could mean that they are requesting refunds for delivery issues. The OP or his wife could be claiming non-reciept and getting a full refund or that the items are arriving late and requesting waving of the S&H. Or they could be requesting partial refunds for items missing from a set, etc.

    I, honestly, do not know Amazons’ policy on this, but I’ve worked at a home shopping channel in the past and we would no longer do business with customers who claimed excessive returns, non-reciepts, adjustments, etc. However, in those cases it had to be extreme and we would send multiple warning letters.

  30. Ben says:

    It’s funny that they’re response is to not shop at Amazon anymore since I’m sure that was the response Amazon was counting on.

  31. That guy. says:

    “we’re unable to guarantee any further deliveries”

    What?

    I get the part where they can’t guarantee they will accept any returns, but they can’t gaurantee that she will get her deliveries for regular orders?

    • GoldVRod says:

      They won’t deliver something they can’t warranty and they can’t warranty something that cannot be returned. It makes sense. They’re saying they probably won’t honor an order in future.

      The customer has been fired by the retailer.

    • ajaxd says:

      It means that they reserve the right to cancel any future orders rather than banning the account outright.

    • frodolives35 says:

      I think they are saying if your package does not show up don’t expect us to send you a free replacement.

  32. southpaw1971 says:

    I’m a Prime member, buy probably once every week or so. Have only had an issue with one thing – I ordered Riedel long stemmed glassware and got Riedel stemless glassware. When I called, they told me to keep the stemless ($70) and they refunded my money. They’ve been pretty sweet to me. I think we’re not getting part of the story. Has the OP bought 3 things and returned them all? What is the return rate?

    • MMD says:

      Even if it’s been 3 purchases and 3 returns, that isn’t so far out of bounds…
      There has to be more to this.

      • regis-s says:

        I agree. Three returns in a year could just be bad luck. It seems awfully early to be dropping the hammer on someone.

        I think I’d be contacting Amazon to find out why three returns is excessive and to make sure they sent the notice to the right account holder.

    • xyzzyman says:

      Have to agree on their customer service. In 2000 after having only made a handful of purchases of college text books, I ordered a set of $15 small desktop speakers from Amazon. They instead sent me a $200+ monstrosity of a wok in a box that could have held a 27″ TV… They told me to still keep the wok and sent me the speakers even though I had NO USE FOR A WOK. Had it for years until someone took it off my hands. Over 50-60 orders in the following decade never had an issue with them (A few with third party sellers taking forever to ship but that’s it.)

  33. deathbecomesme says:

    Sounds as if the wife isn’t doing her “research” at a local B&M before buying clothes/shoes online. Im sure Amazon doesn’t like their apparel being “rented” which is probably what they think is happening.

    Ive had nothing but great customer service from Amazon. Even before I signed up for my prime account the service was second to none.

    • Chris says:

      I used to have great service from them until recently. The worst of the three situations that occurred recently is that they would not take a return after I initiated a return within their return window.

      I know my money’s gone down the drain because it’s been 3 months now but I’ve been trying to figure out why they say their policies allow them to not take a return back when they said they would. I’m very confused. Every direction I turn is met with, “Try contacting the A-Z Guarantee group” or “Try contacting this email address” or “Try contacting this phone number”, etc. No one will take responsibility for explaining their policy.

      I think they’re going downhill.

  34. blinky says:

    I suppose if they buy five things in a year (maximum, if three is the majority of items) that they won’t miss amazon so much.

  35. TacoDave says:

    “We’re writing to apologize for the number of problems you’ve experienced with your shipments. Your correspondence with us indicates you’ve required refunds on a majority of orders for a number of reasons.

    Through the normal course of business, the occasional problem is inevitable. However, you seem to have had an unusually high rate of problems in your account history.

    Effective immediately, we’re unable to guarantee any further deliveries or compensate you for any additional problems with your shipments.”

    It sounds to me like they have had missing shipments, failed deliveries, etc. Amazon isn’t saying they can’t purchase anything anymore, just that they will not deal with delivery/shipping problems.

    OP – can you clarify?

    • Me - now with more humidity says:

      We’ve never had a shipping problem, which is why I thought this was so odd. The return/refund thing is probably a percentage thing. But the shipping part is just odd.

      • kobresia says:

        Sounds like a terrible, generic form letter.

        A lot of returns (for refund) is probably the problem, not the other crap mentioned.

        It’s better to do exchanges on damaged/wrong-size/wrong-item transactions unless the overall quality of the item is unsuitable. If it’s an exchange, it goes into the “loyal customer” bin, because any losses the retailer takes from restocking (or having to discount an open-box item) will still be offset by the profit margin on the sale. Returns for refund go into the “picky/window-shopping customer” bin, which just wastes their money and time.

      • amvtop10 says:

        How do you return your items? Through amazon customer support or you manually return it yourself? There is a big difference..

  36. Geekybiker says:

    I worry about this with my wife. She’s a bit of a serial returner. Mostly clothing orders that don’t fit right, etc, but still lots of returns. I would really hate to lose the ability to shop at amazon.

  37. Bionic Data Drop says:

    This is pretty much what Best Buy is now doing and I expect to see other stores start to follow suit. Although this may disappoint some shopping bolemics, I have no problem with this at all.

  38. axolotl says:

    It’s called “firing” a (bad) customer. It’s a business decision that can often be the wise thing to given the right circumstances.
    Of course this all could be a mistake but if everything they said in the letter is true then it might be the best thing for them to do and they have every right to do it.

  39. phobos512 says:

    Does that letter read to anyone else like there should be a “Please click here to request resolution of this issue.” link to a phishing site at the bottom??

    (I tried to enter an example URL but the damn comment engine keeps trying to parse it into something real – how the heck do you comment HTML so it’ll just show up as text in a comment???)

    • Me - now with more humidity says:

      I had the same thought and checked the headers and routing. And the email address. All legit.

    • WaywardSoul says:

      Interesting thought even though o.p. says that’s not the case for them. For the past two weeks I’ve been receiving a phishing emails almost every day – each one pretending to be from amazon and each one verifying order cancellations. Very little spam gets through to my yahoo inbox these days, maybe 1 out of 300, but these do.

  40. km9v says:

    My wife & I buy tons a stuff from Amazon. We do maybe a dozen or so returns/yr. due to various reasons. No problems.

  41. Yogambo says:

    Hmmm. It does seem likely more occurred. But I think Amazon needs a higher standard to compete with Bricks and Mortar. I don’t get to see/touch/feel/experience the product. I order it and hope it meets my expectations. If it does not, then do the lower overhead they have as an e-tailer, they offer me greater return flexibility. And frankly, when competing with the likes of Wally World and Target (who has tightened, but in practices is still great), they really do need to have a pretty broad policy.

    Let’s face it, if Amazon starts charging state sales tax and limiting returns, what’s the incentive to not go get it today locally? Price – that difference is many times negligible. And for those that have needed service after the sale with Amazon purchases may know, that’s not as smooth as most B&M purchases.

    Amazon needs to set a high standard. I’m not sure what occurred here, but I’d say it needs to be pretty egregious – certainly not 3 returns – to merit that response. If that’s the new policy, I as a humongous Amazon purchaser (and occassional returner), may turn to Target with my 5% instant back Target card.

  42. Jules Noctambule says:

    For everyone insisting that there must be ‘more’, I’m interested in your feelings on the matter with nothing but what’s been presented. Let’s pretend that the facts are all there; how would you judge this particular situation?

    • oldtaku says:

      If they ordered (at most) five things and returned three of them I have to agree with Amazon. Some customers just aren’t worth keeping.

  43. Mike says:

    I’m not even sure this is legal. They can decide not to sell items to you. But if they do sell items to you, they do have some obligation to deliver them to you and for them to be as described. Simply announcing that they aren’t going to doesn’t absolve them of their legal obligation.
    In any event, if they don’t guarantee their items, your credit card probably does.

  44. oldtaku says:

    If you’re shopping for shoes online like you shop for shoes on person I don’t think I’d want you as a customer either.

  45. Cosmo_Kramer says:

    I rarely return anything to Amazon.com, but the last time I needed to they told me to keep the product and refunded my money. The time before that they paid for return shipping even though it was my fault.

    Yeah, I’ll stick with Amazon. Over 400 orders, no complaints.

  46. evilluckycharms says:

    I call bologna. I had them reship 3 separate orders in 2 months because they kept getting delivered to the wrong person (which means they ate the entire shipping AND product cost) and not once did they bat an eyelash. Never questioned me, never seemed suspicious, and always overnighted the entire shipment, even overnight with saturday delivery! I’ve been a customer of theirs since 2006, only spending a few hundred a year, so I’m no prize consumer.

    My thought is that s/he’s been buying, having buyers remorse and returning waaaaay more than they’re letting on. The fact that the email says “majority” proves that they’re a nightmare customer. I’d toss ‘em too!

    • Me - now with more humidity says:

      And your thought would be wrong.

      • Me - now with more humidity says:

        I read Consumerist several times a day. I know how we eviscerate OPs sometimes. I haven’t left anything out. Sorry to disappoint you.

        • evilluckycharms says:

          Not disappointed at all! I just happen to a small business owner, and have had to toss customers a few times due to an issue similar to this. When you make excessive *unreasonable* returns or requests, it costs the business money. Man hours, shipping, bandwidth, etc. There are a lot of costs the average consumer doesn’t consider. They think “Woah, I guess they don’t want my money!? What jerk-holes!” when in reality, businesses HATE to turn away a dollar… if they’re actually making that dollar. If they’re spending a fortune on nit-picky returns, unreasonably whiny or demanding customers, etc, then their profit margin shrinks, and you no longer make them a dollar, you cost them a dollar. And you get shown the door.

          However, when you complain to a massive public audience and get them horrible PR, they’ll come with their tail between their legs. Not because they actually did something wrong, but because your negative PR costs them more than your nitpicky, excessive returns. It doesn’t vindicate you from the “misogynist hive mind”, it shows you know how to manipulate the system to get what you want. Kudos, I suppose, but next time amazon’s pricing/shipping goes up, you have nobody to look toward but your self and your wife.

          I, being a difficult to please (and apparently self-hating?) woman, as well as the primary consumer in my family, know when it’s appropriate to drag my 3 toddlers and/or whiny husband to the store to try things on and make sure they fit instead of buying online and returning over and over again. I like low prices, and I can’t expect them to stick around if I abuse the system and cost them money. In order for their business, whatever business it may be, to survive, they need to make money, plain and simple.

    • amvtop10 says:

      I think there is a difference between returning something through customer service or yourself. I received this same letter for having to deal with the hassle of waiting for customer service and for them to respond.

      How do you return your items?

  47. BennieHannah says:

    Shoes are often returned. Shoes aren’t like most items — they either fit just right or they HURT and you can’t wear them. I order frequently from Zappos and return more than I keep. Apparently that’s okay with them, because they upgraded me to VIP (free overnight delivery). I appreciate the fact that with Zappos I have access to a far wider variety of shoes and brands than I would shopping in my hometown, and especially when you’re trying out an unfamiliar brand, you have no idea how they run. If Zappos stopped being generous about returns, and I was stuck with pricey shoes that I could not wear, that would be the last time I shopped with them.

  48. brandonsavage says:

    There’s a difference between an unfeeling company screwing a good customer and a company firing a bad one. The latter seems to be the case here.

  49. Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

    What I’d do if this happened to me is contact Amazon customer support, and have them explain why I received this message. What’s the specific reason for why “[they]‘re unable to guarantee any further deliveries or compensate [me]“? Gather info.

    It’s better to understand, and who knows, maybe they can put things back together again. Or maybe the email was a phishing scam. Either way, it helps to contact the vendor first and have them explain.

    The article IMO lacks some finer details, like how many % were returned vs. what was purchased, so I’m not going to pin the blame on OP or Amazon. Did the OP read the “Conditions of Use” that they sent?

    I have returned quite a bit of stuff to Amazon (and Zappos), not a lot, though, so I don’t have any issues. And they have always been very good at handling any issues I had.

  50. SunsetKid says:

    Amazon is no Zappos? Amazon owns Zappos. I bought an appliance from Amazon and it was defective. The manufacturer sent me two more of the same unit – also defective. I was beyond the one month return period but after I explained the story to an Amazon phone rep, they accepted the return and paid the postage.

    Hint in dealing with Amazon: Their phone support has people both on shore and off shore. If you get an off shore person, keep calling until you get someone in the US or Canada.

  51. Addison says:

    Yeah, after my 5th incident since November of problems with the shipping department at Amazon, I was informed that “Once a package is put in a carrier’s hand, the risk of loss for the package is transferred to the customer. This is discussed in our Conditions of Use:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-7?ie=UTF8&nodeId=508088&qid=1336518087&sr=1-7

    So I have decided my loyalty to them is in short supply. I’ve had a good run with Amazon Prime, but they are just getting too sloppy and don’t care anymore. If I pay you to deliver something to my house in good condition, you can either hold up that end of the bargain, or I can not pay for the service. It seems very simple to me. So, here’s the deal, once they hand it to the carrier they choose on Prime, it’s out of their hands, and you have to deal with the shipping agent if you have a problem. These are the same shipping agents that don’t care because you aren’t the one that pays the shipping agent directly.
    I finally got the issue resolved….after a week…and daily calls to LaserShip….and losing my temper a couple of times when I was guaranteed I would get a call back the next day and then never received said call.

    • Addison says:

      BTW, when I spoke voice, I informed them that I wasn’t concerned with the money, but that if I was going to have to get to the point of going to Exec C/S to get someone to do something besides shrug, I was going to do it…..they gave me a refund..and it was signed:
      “Sincerely,

      Amazon.com
      We’re Building Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company

  52. d0x360 says:

    I’ve returned a couple things here and there. One time I complained a digital dl game downloaded too slow (9 gigs 4 hours on 50mbps fios). They gave me the $30 back and let me keep the game. I think to trigger this kind of response you probably need to complain ALOT.

  53. sparc says:

    Start doing a search on the internet and you’ll see Amazon is doing this to other customers as well. Amazon has been known to apply policies unevenly and for reasons that are unjustified.

    It is what it is. You’re dealing with a faceless company that’s all online and little recourse.

    • regis-s says:

      It is what it is. You’re dealing with a faceless company that’s all online and little recourse.

      Yet when someone complains about a brick and mortar store the comments about how wonderful Amazon and other etailers are flood in.

  54. JohnyO says:

    Sounds like something I have been known to say to the very rare customer.. ” I am very sorry that we seem unable to meet your needs, perhaps another retailer may be able to serve you better – in fact, I insist”

  55. Morgan says:

    If they won’t guarantee further deliveries or help with future problems, then Amazon.com shouldn’t allow any transactions using their account. The letter seems to go against the main corporate goal, ‘to be Earth’s most customer-centric company’. OK, yeah – if you return everything you buy, that sucks. But Amazon.com isn’t losing any money in the process. They return items to vendors, or they have a salvage agreement with vendors that allows them to take the returned items and sell them via their used stores, or warehouse deals or one of their other sub-stores. Amazon.com bought Zappos.com and their CS ratings went up. Surprise? Nope. Zappos pays freight both ways on anything you buy. They take returns up to 1 year from DOP – no questions asked. Basically they friggen’ rock. Amazon.com can’t do the same with all of their categories of items, but there’s got to be a common middle-ground to be found.

  56. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I posted this as a reply earlier, but since I’m commenting so late in the day, if OP didn’t see this here it is again.

    I’d definitely try to get more info from them. They have a secret phone number. If you sign in and go to the help page and click on Contact Us, there is a form to fill out for options, or you can call at 1-866-216-1072 from inside the US or 1-206-266-2992 from outside the US. I hope this number is still valid. If not you can try the other option. Once you fill out the form there is a button you can click to get a phone number, I think.

    I hope that helps. There may have been some kind of error. I can’t imagine them cutting you off after only three returns.

  57. Me - now with more humidity says:

    UPDATE: After a brilliant “WTF?” email from my wife, and possibly this post, Amazon completely reversed course. Emailed her that shoe purchases are different than other purchases and that she’s fully reinstated, included her return and warranty privileges.

    Blame the OP for that, Consumerist hive.

    • Me - now with more humidity says:

      And BTW, that email from Amazon came 5 minutes after her email to them.

      • lotussix says:

        so… why did you contact consumerist before you contacted amazon? if you don’t want the hive mind chiming in, then don’t ask for it.

    • sjgarg says:

      “Blame the OP for that, Consumerist hive.”

      That’s a poor attitude.

      You gave little detail in your original post/email as well as in your reply to another post. Of course everyone is skeptical of your claims when information is missing.

      To become angry over people using their critical thinking skills, and the hive mind’s inability to solve your problem when information was missing, is the the actual “WTF?” of this non-story.

      Also, I’ll gladly blame the OP. Your first instinct when a problem occurred was to contact the Consumerist instead of you know… talking to Amazon to find out what was up. This is also a “WTF?” moment.

      Most articles posted here usually involve the OPs having contacted the problematic companies at least once to try and resolve the problem on their own before needing help from The Consumerist or other agencies. You didn’t even try…

      • MMD says:

        I agree with much of what you’re saying here.

        But note that since there wasn’t enough information to go on, the usual misogynists came out to blame the OP, essentially because there was a woman involved.

        Also, please check my comment history. I pointed out that shoes/clothing returns will inevitably happen at a higher rate due to sizing discrepancies. I would now like a gold star. ;-)

  58. Alan_Schezar says:

    Maybe the OP has returned 3-5 things every year since “the giant e-tailer started out”. Now that’s a lot of returns.. There’s also the possibility of continual complaining about late guaranteed shipments (1-day/2-day), in which the result is usually a refund on the shipping.

  59. fraterormus says:

    Amazon’s reliability in the past couple of years has gone downhill considerably. Although Newegg.com has definitely raised the bar for online retailers in my book, I’m reasonable and understand that even a giant like Amazon can’t be as good as Newegg.com. Still, every order I have placed with Amazon in the past two years takes 1-2 weeks to even ship. Amazon has begun changing Delivery Dates from pre-order to different Delivery Dates post-order. Before you place your order you will be given a date a few days from now. Then after you place your order you will be given a date of 1-2 weeks from now. After the order ships 2 weeks later they then change the Delivery Date to 4-6 weeks later to cover their butts. Sure, I don’t expect them to deliver the product to me Next-Day or 2-Day on Standard Shipping like Newegg (and other exceptional online retailers like Dr Martens), but why on earth does it take 4-6 weeks? Why is there a 1-2 week wait for an item to even ship when it says “In Stock”? Why does Amazon give you one set of Delivery Dates before you place your order, change the Delivery Dates immediately after you place the order, and then change the Delivery Dates again when the order finally ships 1-2 weeks later? If it happened just once or twice I’d forgive Amazon…things happen…but this seems to be S.O.P. for Amazon anymore because it has happened on every single one of the past 30 orders I have made with them in the past year or two! Granted, I don’t complain to Amazon and ask for a refund of my shipping charges…I just resort to Amazon as a last-case scenario…but if I did I could imagine myself in the same boat as reader L.

  60. badgertale says:

    Why would you buy shoes online…slippers or something cheap, yes, but shoes? Other than those companies that specialize in shoes…just weird, to me…and only me…oh, well.