Another Amazon Prime Order, Another Delivery Fake-Out From Ontrac

111309-003-ontrac“OnTrac has made Amazon Prime a very expensive joke in Los Angeles,” reader Matthew wrote to Consumerist. How much of a joke? “This has happened at least six times in as many months to my wife and me. Tried contacting OnTrac and couldn’t get through to a human being.” That’s not a very funny joke. Matthew and his wife are far from alone in their dissatisfaction with OnTrac, though.

It seems like a good idea for Amazon to hire smaller, regional shipping companies to handle some of their deliveries, especially with the larger shipping volume with tighter deadlines that Prime membership brings. Unfortunately, many customers trying to deal with Ontrac would disagree.

Matthew’s experience is pretty typical of what readers submit to us. He describes waiting all evening on the couch that is literally next to his front door. He heard nothing, not even a peep or a scratch at the door. No trucks or cars came. His package didn’t come. Yet this is what the OnTrac tracking information said:


Exactly 9:59, was it?

Complaints about Ontrac have become so common that there’s even a dedicated Twitter account that does nothing but retweet them. The person behind it calls him or herself OfftracRob, to match OntracRob, a real Ontrac employee who does his best to intervene when people complain about the company on Twitter.

Here’s a random selection of tweets containing the fewest slurs and swear words from just this past week:

We’ve tried to contact Ontrac when writing stories about them in the past, and we’ve been posting stories about the company for four and a half years now. The good news is that the company has a real gift for delivering customers’ original packages and the replacements sent by Amazon at the same time.

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  1. superheat says:

    I must have the good Ontrac, I have had nothing but positive experiences with them. My 2 day Amazon Prime shipping would often be next day with Ontrac as well as being delivered earlier in the day than UPS. I thought it was a bonus if I saw Ontrac scheduled to deliver my package, it usually means I would get it sooner. I’m in the South Bay area of Los Angeles.

  2. webalias says:

    It sounds like Ontrac is especially bad, but regardless of the carrier, Amazon Prime’s promised two-day delivery has become a joke. In my experience, two-day delivery typically takes four or five, particularly if my package is delivered via Fed Ex and SmartPost, a service by which Fed Ex hands off the package to the U.S. post office for final delivery. SurePost is the UPS version, in which the package is again handed off to a third party, and it’s equally bad. It’s amazing that Amazon has the gall to use these services for what it pretends is two-day delivery. But even if the post office is not involved, service via UPS has deteriorated to the point where an extra day or more is increasingly not the exception, but the rule. Lately, I’ve been paying the $3.99 extra for one-day shipping via Amazon Prime — knowing that Amazon will more likely than not miss the deadline, and I’ll at least get the package in two days, and my $3.99 back.

  3. DustinDopps says:

    I live in Portland, OR and have Amazon Prime. When items are shipped via UPS or USPS, they always arrive within two days. I have been very happy. But the few times Ontrac has been used, this has happened to me. Every single time. They always say the item has been delivered, but it isn’t there and doesn’t show up for another day or two.

    I thought I had a liar for a local delivery driver. But now I see that it’s a company-wide practice. Huh.