Amazon Screws Up Mother's Day Order

When Amazon works, it’s a great example of what man and machine can do together to make shopping easier. When it doesn’t work, you’re stuck with a higher-priced camera from Wal-Mart and a second camera you thought was canceled shipped from Amazon, with a refund taking 3-5 days to go through.

My siblings and I decided to go in together and purchase my Mom a nice camera for Mother’s Day. She’s a nice lady, and is getting tired of the one she has, so it seemed like a good idea. The BAD idea was trying to purchase it (along with a few accessories) from Amazon. But, they had it for a great price, and with the free shipping it seemed like a no-brainer.

So I placed my order on 5/1…all seemed well on the Amazon front. I got a confirmation email after placing the order letting me know that it would be shipped on 5/6. It’s never taken more than 3 days for an Amazon order to show up in the past, so I figured it would be fine. After a couple of days, I logged in to Amazon to check up on it, and that’s when I should have gotten worried.

Instead of showing my orders, there was an error message letting me know that there was a problem with Amazon, but rest-assured, they’re working on it and it should be fixed shortly. Right. It gave me the same message the next day, and the next, so on 5/6 I sent Amazon an email asking them to check the status of the order, as it was for Mother’s Day and I needed it by then.

I received a reply email later that day from Naresh letting me know that he would need 1-2 business days to research and he’d get back to me.

After two days (5/8) and no response, I decided to call Amazon. I spoke to a male representative (and I’m pounding my head against the wall for not catching his name, but I didn’t) who let me know that he couldn’t find my order, either. I explained the situation (it’s for my Mom, I need it asap, etc), and he let me know that I could place the order again if I needed it quickly. This wasn’t to my liking, but I wasn’t about to disappoint my Mom (nor face the scorn of my siblings), so I asked when it could be delivered. His answer? Monday. This was not the answer I was looking for, so I asked him to please cancel the order, and I would purchase it locally. He said he would put a note on my account for the order to be cancelled.

So I set off into a raging thunderstorm to the closest store that had the same model camera. Wal-Mart. This is a story for another day, but I ended up paying waaaay more thanks to Wal-Mart’s absolutely ridiculous price-matching policy. So, I’m out some cash, a lot of time, and it ruined my hair. Thanks, Amazon!  

Then, today [Friday May 9], I decided (just for kicks) to check my Amazon account. Lo and behold, it’s fixed! Apparently, my order should be shipped on 5/11 or 5/12. Wait, what??? I am not a happy camper at this point.

So, I just spent another 30 minutes on the phone with Christine H. Bottom line? Amazon can (will) not cancel the order, and I can expect to receive a 2nd camera in the near future.

While she did try to help me as much as she could (and she was very nice), it was obvious that Amazon’s policies limited what (if any) help she could offer me. When I explained that my bank account does not runneth over (thanks to a hefty veterinarian bill) and that, if charged, I would be overdrawn, she said that she would give me an advance refund on the shipment. In 3-5 days, I’ll see my money back in the bank (never mind that Amazon will CHARGE my account as soon as it ships). She did send me an email explaining the very involving process of getting an overdraft fee credited by Amazon, but at this point, I’m just going to suck it up and transfer some emergency (i.e. DON’T TOUCH) money into the account.

It’s not exactly what I would normally qualify as an emergency, but if it will keep me from having to deal with Amazon again, it’s worth it. 

Bottom line? Amazon is the Grinch who stole Mother’s Day…Boo to you, Amazon! (And I still haven’t heard back from Naresh.)


Fine, it was a one-off problem, mistakes happen and all that. But why do customer service reps promise to return calls that they never return? This seems to happen across the industry, and it may be the easiest way to improve customer service.