Amazon Won’t Say If Employee Added Unrequested Dildo To Customer’s Cart

In the world of customer service, there are usually a few, easily predictable responses from companies that we encounter: either an issue gets resolved to the satisfaction of the customer, whether quickly or with a bit of effort, or it doesn’t. But one Amazon customer found himself in wholly unfamiliar territory after providing negative feedback, when, he claims, an employee of the e-commerce giant put an unrequested 10-inch dildo in his shopping basket.

Ars Technica UK’s Sebastian Anthony has been in touch with a customer named Pedro, who lives in Ireland. Back in October, he’d ordered a specialized textbook he needed for an art class on Amazon.de, but was disappointed when it arrived to find that although the listing had been for the current edition, he’d received the previous edition.

After he got in touch with customer service, he was told that Amazon couldn’t find the right version of the textbook and that he should instead return the book for a full refund. He was frustrated at that point, as he’d spent time looking for the right book and then more time waiting for Amazon to locate it in its warehouse, so he provided negative feedback on a customer satisfaction survey. End of story, or so he thought.

He says that the next time he opened up Amazon.de — surprise! He found a giant dildo in his shopping basket. Because he hadn’t put “The Hulk 10.25-inch Huge Dong Black” to his cart, he immediately suspected an Amazon customer service rep had taken the negative feedback to heart and had retaliated with a sex toy.

He took a screenshot and emailed Amazon to find out why he had an unsolicited dildo in his shopping basket. After a few emails from several customer service representatives, he spoke with a member of the Executive Customer Relations team at Amazon.de. Pedro says the rep was very sympathetic and apologized profusely, assuring him that he’d been in touch with HR to make sure that such an incident wasn’t repeated.

As a gesture of apology, the rep told Pedro he’d receive a €100 voucher on his Amazon.de account, which he then received.

Ars UK’s Anthony wanted to figure out whether or not Pedro’s story was true, and spent a few months trying to nail down the details, using correspondence Pedro forwarded from Amazon’s customer service team. Ars believes the situation is authentic.

Amazon, for its part, at first said it couldn’t comment on the case due to its privacy policy. Once Pedro gave his permission for the company to speak with Ars on his behalf, Anthony reached out repeatedly for either confirmation or a denial, and didn’t get any response. He also contacted the company and said he intended to write about the incident, and asked if Amazon wanted to provide a statement. Again, nothing.

So why is it possible for Amazon associates to have access to your shopping cart? One big reason: if you’re not very Internet savvy and need help adding or removing things, a customer might ask for help from customer service while shopping.

In any case, Pedro adds in the comments, he’s not a fan of Amazon.de after this experience. And he wouldn’t trust their sex toy descriptions, to boot.

“Anyway, the entry for ‘The Hulk’ is completely misleading,” he writes. “I would expect something called ‘The Hulk’ to be green. It’s picture is pink and the description says it is black. My whole issue with Amazon.de started because of incorrect description of items — and this entry does not help their case.”

Amazon Won’t Say If Employee Added Unrequested Dildo To Customer’s Cart [Ars Technica UK]