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Apr 3, 2012
Apr 3, 2012
Customer Service Has Seriously Deteriorated
I've loved Amazon for a long time, and even have a Prime Membership now, which allows free 2-day shipping on most items, and free video streaming on various content, plus other ocassional freebies. Their shipping is usually quick and painless, although many items are no longer packed as carefully as they used to be. They are also using an increasing number of outside vendors to sell items and fulfill orders, with the result of increasing inconsistency in order fulfillment.
However, ever since Amazon outsourced its email customer service to India, the CS experience with them has been DREADFUL. They usually respond quickly and promise to help solve your problem, and ask for more information. You provide it, wait several days, then re-enquire. They then tell you there is nothing they can do, and your problem is... well, YOUR problem. This has happened numerous times over the past few months, and I have come to the conclusion that they cannot solve any problems at all. Their policies are inconsistent, and email replies are always from a different (probably mythical) named person.
A couple of examples: I received a $100 VISA gift card for Christmas, and wanted to convert it into Amazon-available credit by purchasing an Amazon gift card. When I made the purchase, I got an immediate email that it had been accepted, then a second one stating that it had been cancelled. This happened because Amazon put a test charge of $1 on the VISA gift card, then attempted to put through the $100 purchase. This put the VISA gift card over its balance, and the purchase was rejected by the card issuer. After SIX separate unhelpful emails to and from Amazon CS, I called them. I spent near AN HOUR on the phone with a heavily-accented, barely understandable woman, to whom I explained the situation over a DOZEN times. I suggested they NOT put the $1 test charge through, but just charge the $100-- Nope. I suggested they put the $1 test charge through and then charge me $99-- Nope. Nope, nope, nope. Can't be done, and the VISA gift card now had a $1 TWO WEEK HOLD, which could not be removed by Man or God. I finally gave up in disgust, waited two weeks for the hold to be lefted, and bought something somewhere else.
Then there was the lengthy fiasco over just getting a receipt for a gift I received from. The gifter ordered me a stand mixer and an attachment on Amazon. The attachment arrived first, WITH a receipt. The mixer arrived the next day, WITHOUT a receipt. Since you need some kind of receipt to obtain warranty service, I requested one by email. After the usual half-dozen unhelpful missives, I called (sigh). They said their policy is that the receipt can be issued only to the actual purchaser. But I got one for the attachment, I said, and I'm only asking for a GIFT receipt, with no prices on it- just a darn proof of purchase. Hmmm, no explanation available, but after another lengthy conversation, this time with someone more familiar with English, and a hold or two, the CS rep told me that another rep had already put in a request that I receive a written receipt by regular mail. This was apparently based on a couple of very irritated emails I sent, but no one had let me know this had been "authorized." It remains to be seen if that receipt will ever arrive.
There have been a few other recent examples of Amazon Customer DISservice, but you get the picture. Amazon is pretty cool and has some excellent prices, but you better hope you never need their Customer Service for anything. Their email replies and their telephone responses are cookie-cutter answers taken right from their Amazon CS instruction manual, and anything unusual or not on that roadmap will require numerous and lengthy contacts, likely to end in your dissatisfaction.
Amazon is helping to destroy itself, and opening the door to competitors by forgetting that customer service is what keeps customers coming back. I am getting increasingly leery of ordering from them, for fear of having to watch additional hours of my life vanish into the Kafka-esque experience that is their Customer Service.