Out of the (Amazon) Jungle and Get Some Play

Like most geeks I did a chunk of my Christmas shopping online and ordered a smattering of DVDs from sites like Amazon UK, my choice for books and Play.com, my choice for DVDs. Amazon had a pretty hefty preorder discount on a box-set (Buffy Collectors Edition) and so I ordered it from Amazon and not Play (who are normally cheaper). And then things started to go wrong.

Some of my DVDs didn’t arrive so I checked the customer support pages and sent off queries to each company. Firstly lets look at the winner of this little bout. Play has an email address, I wrote to it, got a response back in about an hour and they said they’d ship a replacement that day and then chase the original. Quick, professional and customer focused. I’ll keep using them.

And now on to Amazon and its carnival of screw ups. Firstly you have to go through an online form. I detail my case, including order numbers and dates and then get a response back in under thirty minutes. Very promising. It tells me that the order has been dispatched and I need to speak to the delivery company, this is the point where I start dropping points off their score.

After an hour on the phone with DHL (the delivery company involved and who are also shite at customer support but thats a separate rant) I’m told that the order was shipped back to Amazon as it couldn’t be delivered. I then reply to Amazons mail; only you are not allowed to. Instead you have to go through their forms again. Why can’t I respond via email dammit? I have spell checkers and audit trails available but no, I have to use their form. After a lot of back and forth I got an answer and it wasn’t a good one.

Yes they knew it was pre-ordered, yes it had been sent back. Yes they had it. No I couldn’t get it re-dispatched.

so what came of this? Amazon, despite having the product I ordered in their warehouse wouldn’t ship it to me and instead refunded my purchase, and told me to try and find a copy elsewhere as they had no more left. Despite a box with my name and address sitting in the warehouse.

Play gets a 1010 and ALL my DVD business in the future. Amazon gets a 210 (they had good response times throughout) but lose points due to stupid policies.