TV Shipping in the Valley of the Amazons

Man buys TV from Amazon. UPS keeps dropping it. Perhaps Amazon should use better packing.

Styrofoam peanuts, we’re thinking. They protect and then after you take the TV out, the box becomes a playground.


We hear there’s treasure hidden underneath the alien snow. And in Danilo’s case, shards of HDTV casing.

A note of caution, after the jump…

Danilo writes:

    “Dear Consumerist,

    I must advise your readers against purchasing a television from Amazon. Not that Amazon is a bunch of bad guys — I like them, most of the time –but they’re just not a smart move for purchasing large electronics.

    Fresh from breaking up with my longtime girlfriend, who took the television with her, I decided to indulge in some manly, single dude purchases. Like a high-definition television to go with the Xbox 360 whose procurement would, eventually, be required by my status as a newly-free man.

    Not wanting to blow an entire paycheck on this device, I shopped Amazon for a sensibly-sized but effective CRT HDTV. I found one that suited my needs and ordered it for $399 + $100 shipping.

    The problem, of course, is that UPS will deliver any TV you order from Amazon. This is horrifying enough, giving their fabled abuse of packages. Moreover, UPS will show up whenever they decide to show up, so receiving my television meant getting permission from my boss to work from home for an afternoon.

    Inconvenient, but I bite the bullet and wait around for my television. It comes. I help UPS dude lug it up the stairs to my apartment. As I unpack the television, though, I find that at some point in transit, the television has been dropped. Violently. The plastic casing is shattered along one corner.

    I explain the situation to Amazon. I don’t want to repeat this whole inconvenient day for the replacement television, and after some chatting, the manager I spoke to agreed to refund me $120 and allow me to keep the cosmetically damaged television. The picture looked fine. Why bother sending it back for some plastic?

    After enjoying my television for a few hours, though, the picture began to get fuzzy. What began crisp as a starched shirt ended up as soft and shapeless as dryer lint.

    So I call Amazon and the process repeats, a new television shipped out. Again, an afternoon working (uncomfortably) from home, waiting for the TV to come. UPS dude lugs it up the stairs with me again and is happy enough to take my old TV back with him, since Amazon has helpfully provided a return shipping label at no cost to me.

    That evening, I set about happily preparing my new television. The casing was intact and I was looking forward to sitting down Jack Bauer for some high-stakes adventure.

    Except now, there’s no picture at all. The new TV doesn’t work, except for its little menu system. No picture or sound comes through — not even fuzzy. So I have to send it back to them. Again. Which means bringing an
    enormous box of lead and glass to a UPS store. The box won’t fit in my car and I can’t spend any more afternoons waiting around for UPS dude. I’ll have to get a friend with a truck to help me.

    The shipping mechanisms involved with ordering a TV from Amazon make it really inconvenient to get satisfaction if anything at all goes wrong with your order. Purchasing other stuff from Amazon is usually painless and I’m a happy member of their Prime discount shipping program. But taking a risk with a large, cumbersome object that is not easily shipped just isn’t worth it with Amazon. I guess once I get this piece of junk shipped back off I’ll brave a big-box store and hope for the best. At least they deliver on Saturdays.

    Common sense, maybe, should have told me all this, but I thought you might enjoy this tale of warning.