I only wanted two new books to read

I am a fairly savvy online shopper and I know that buying online doesn't always go to plan, however I was the very appreciative recipient of a gift voucher to spend on Amazon UK.  My eyes lit up, I rubbed my hands together, flexed my fingers and clicked on the quick-link in my browser favourites bar, navigating to my ever-growing "wish list" to select a couple of items.

Because my Open University reading list can be quite heavy, I opted for two recommended reads - Look Back In Hunger by Jo Brand and The Tent, The Bucket and Me by Emma Kennedy.  Then I spotted some shoes (bargain of the YEAR - reduced from £122 to £27), opted for "free super saver delivery", paid with the voucher and felt rather pleased with my new purchases.  I was a tad nervous as I had never used a gift voucher on Amazon previously but the "Thanks For Your Order" email dropped into my email box and I started to allow myself to get excited.

That was on the 26th of July.

On the 29th of July the shoes were delivered.  I tried them on, tottered around the house for a bit, pointing my feet this way and that, admiring the gorgeousness of the new shoes, bragged about them on Facebook and I am now looking for a special enough occasion to wear them.

The books hadn't arrived.

On the 7th August, I realised that the books still hadn't materialised so I sent off an email to Amazon asking them if there was a delay with the order.  I received a fairly standard email back explaining that they had been dispatched from their warehouse on the 27th of July and delivery was expected by the 2nd of August.  Because of their maximum time allowances I had to contact them again on the 16th of August if the books still hadn't arrived.

The books didn't arrive.

The following is a transcript of the emails that have passed between myself and Amazon Customer Services since the 16th of August.  It is worth pointing out that I am not allowed to email them direct but I have to fill a form in each time I need to reply to them.  They email me back with a transcript of my email at the bottom of the email.

08/16/10 10:38:50 BST
NAME: Nicola OHara
COMMENTS: To whom it may concern.
After previous contact with yourselves and being asked to wait until today I have to inform you that the items from [order number and description of books] still have not been delivered.
Please could you advise your next course of action?
Regards
N OHara

***
16 August 2010 11:16
Dear Customer
Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.
First, please allow me to apologies for the inconvenience this matter has caused
I have checked your order, and I can see that your order was dispatched in 2 separate shipments :
Shipment # :1
[the books]
Shipment # :2
[the boots]

***

08/16/10 14:44:42 BST
NAME: Nicola OHara
COMMENTS: To confirm - the order that is undelivered is shipment #1.
Thank you

***
16 August 2010 21:17
Dear Customer

[..]
It does appear that something may have gone awry with the delivery of your order - the package should have reached you by now.

Normally, in this situation, I would create a replacement order for the lost item right away, to be dispatched to you as soon as possible at no additional charge.

Unfortunately, at the moment, "Pepe Jeans Women's Donna Bootie Brown DO-110B 6 UK" is unavailable from our suppliers and we are unable to send a replacement. Although the item might be available on our website from third party sellers, we are unable to source items from them. However, we will be happy to issue a full refund for this order.

I have requested a refund to your payment card for this purchase in the amount of 27.20 GBP. Refunds usually go through within 2 to 3 business days and you will see this amount credited on your next statement.

***

Oh... hang on a minute... can you spot the glaring error? I have missing books, not missing boots!

***
08/16/10 21:23:53 BST
NAME: Nicola O'Hara
COMMENTS: To whom it may concern.
I have tried to provide the correct and appropriate information for a refund or replacement of the undelivered parcel but you have still managed to get it wrong.  I CONFIRMED that the part of the order that was missing was SHIPMENT 1 - THE BOOKS (Please read my previous email in full) and NOT the shoes.

Now you have refunded an incorrect amount to my credit card (even though I did not pay by credit card) and I still have no books.

Can you suggest the next course of action please as I have been waiting longer than the recommended period of time now.
Regards
Nicola O'Hara

***

17 August 2010 03:59
Dear Customer
I have reviewed our previous correspondence with you and would like to offer my sincere apologies for the misunderstanding.

We do understand from your message that you have not yet received the books from shipment #1 of your [order number]

I can see that you have edited the delivery address given for this order and entered the same address again in your account address book. Once you edit a delivery address of an order, it will get deactivated and new address will be added.

Please understand that we are not having an option to create replacement for a deactivated address.



In this case, to rectify the situation, we would like to have your permission to charge your credit card in the amount of 17.85 GBP (27.20 - 9.35) for the remaining cost of the refund.

***

08/17/10 08:45:13 BST
NAME: Nicola OHara

COMMENTS: You DO NOT have permission to charge my credit card with anything.  The goods were purchased on a gift voucher and not my credit card.  I have not given you permission to "refund" any amount to my credit card regardless of what your normal procedure may be.  The whole point of me using a gift voucher is because it was a prize in a competition.  I would not have been purchasing from Amazon at this time in the year as I have banned myself from spending any more money on my credit card, although, as that is a personal matter and no concern of Amazon's, I am quite embarrassed to have to raise that with you.  On the whole, your presumptions and the buying experience has NOT been a positive experience and has taken up far more of my time than I envisaged.

I HAVE NOT edited any delivery address.  I have DELETED a gift address that was used in May but this was actually after the gift had (miraculously) been delivered.  That has never been a primary delivery address.

You may now suggest another course of action that meets with my agreement.  If you had read the emails correctly in the first place and the delivery had arrived then we wouldn't be in this situation.
Regards
Nicola O'Hara

***

17 August 2010 09:57
Dear Customer

I have checked your order and can confirm that our colleague 'Balaji G.' have incorrectly issued refund for the item "Pepe Jeans Women's Donna Bootie Brown DO-110B 6 UK" instead of books of amount 27.20 GBP to your gift certificate balance.

Your current gift certificate balance in your account is 30.65 GBP.

As we have already processed the refund for this order we are unable to send the replacement order.

As your refund has already been processed, we would like to have your permission to charge your account 17.85 GBP from your gift certificate balance as we  have incorrectly issued refund of amount 30.65 GBP instead of 9.35 GBP.

Please be assured that you will only be charged for this order from your gift certificate balance used for this order and you will not be charged from your credit card.

***

YAY! Result... Oh how quick I am to celebrate...

***

08/17/10 10:31:40 BST
NAME: Nicola OHara
COMMENTS: You have my permission to amend the gift certificate amount/credit amount on my Amazon account accordingly.
Please also confirm that this will appear on my Amazon account the next time I order something.
Thank you
Nicola O'Hara

***

17 August 2010 19:25
Dear Customer

Thank you for writing to us at Amazon.co.uk

We are sorry for the inconvenience caused in this regards.

On checking your account, I can confirm that we have processed the refund of 27.20 GBP in the form of gift certificate to your account.

I've checked your account and see that your current gift certificate balance is 30.65 GBP.

***


AARRGGHH!!! We're right back where we started again!!

Dearest Amazon, this is SO not over yet.  I am NOT going to get excited about extra money in my gift voucher account that probably isn't mine!  It's not difficult, really, is it?  You refund me £9.35 and I re-order the books.


* * *
Oh, oh, oh... just before I clicked "PUBLISH POST" another email pinged in my inbox...

* * *
17 August 2010 21:49
Dear Customer

Thank you for writing to us at Amazon.co.uk

From your email I can understand that you have been issued a refund on your gift certificate in the amount of 27.20 GBP, however I can see that this should have been refunded in the amount of 9.35 GBP on your gift certificate.

Please accept my sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused.

I have now forwarded this information on to our billing department to resolve this issue as I can see that this has caused you a lot of inconvenience and disappointment.

This will be applied to the gift certificate you used for your original purchase. This should go through within 2 to 3 business days
 

* * *
I wonder if they are going to invoice me for the whole of the customer service team to have therapy now that they have washed their hands of me????

* * *

I have written this for the Writing Workshop that is run by Josie at Sleep Is For The Weak.  This week was Workshop #34 and I have taken my cue from prompt # - write about something you struggled to let go of.  I have a real problem with sloppy customer service, especially in large, international companies who are turning over masses of profits thanks to people like you and me.  This may seem like a pathetic amount of money to get aggravated about but, to me, it's the principle of the matter.  My few pence are just as important as a multi-million pound deal.
You can find all the other Workshop posts >>> here <<<
(to be linked on Thursday)

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