Saturday, July 4, 2015

Amazon: 5 Things They Should Take Responsibility For!

If you've perused my articles then you know how big of a fan I am of Amazon. I think they have fair deals, and their support is second-to-none. But every so often there is something I don't like that they do or don't do. It seems like the problems are too small for Amazon to take heed of, but I've come across them a few too many times where I think there could and should be easy fixes to solve them. This article will explain some of those issues.

Fake Products
One of the biggest issues I have come across is misleading advertising. It happens. However, many of the ones I have seen are knowingly misleading.

A good example of this are Chinese clones or knockoffs smartphones. The fake iPhones are easy enough to spot, but Android smartphones are a lot harder to notice if you don't know the specs. I have come across several fake Galaxy clones or knockoffs that seem like the real deal. After I read the specifications only then do I realize that this is not a true Samsung Galaxy smartphone. One problem is most people don't realize "Clone" is not part of the Samsung nomenclature. And what's worse is that these phones are not clones, if they were, they would be identical in their specifications. So really this is just false advertising. Other listings don't even mention "Clone", they say something else much more subtle in an attempt to trick a buyer.

Unfortunately, it's just another tactic of how to make a buck off of unassuming foreigners. There may be other (domestic) sellers doing the same, but I have no recollection of coming across any.

Item's Out-of-Stock, No Notification
I hate when this is done, whether it's by Amazon or any other company. You purchase a product that gives no indication of low stock and then you wait days, possibly weeks, wondering what happened.

There was an occurrence like this where I had bought a small electronic device and was due to fly overseas less than a week later. I have Prime shipping, so it should've arrived with plenty of time to spare. The item never came. I called Amazon a couple days before I was going to leave and asked what the hold up was. They informed me that the item was a specialty item and had just been shipped. I explained how I was never notified of such and that it would need to be returned since I wouldn't be around to get or use it. In the end, the item never came, so I just requested a refund that I did receive.

Amazon, and all companies, should know that if something is up with their order, they need notify the purchaser quickly and immediately. Customers shouldn't be the ones having to call Amazon to find out if and what trouble there is.

Wrong Prices
This one isn't so bad, but it does aggravate me when prices are advertised lower than what is actually advertised. A lot of times I check the prices for what's used, refurbished, and new. Many times you will find items much cheaper than the Amazon price.

Lately I noticed that prices were off more than $100 for iPhone 6's, and some iPhone 5S cases were actually $10 higher than what was stated. It seems like Apple products are having some problems on Amazon... This does occur with many other products though.

What's even more alarming is that the wrong price is still shown as the lowest prices when checking all the offers, and there is clearly no item at that price! This is probably just a glitch in the system, but one they need to take seriously. People like me, who purchase a lot from Amazon, don't appreciate wasting our time because of incorrect pricing.

No Product AFTER Purchase
From what I can recall, this has happened to me only once. You purchase a product from Amazon and then the item is suddenly unavailable and a refund is automatically processed.

When this happened to me I had gone ahead and purchased a graphic card from a third-party through Amazon. I got a good deal, so I was satisfied. The next day I find out that the graphic card is no longer available and I was given a refund.

This is just bad business practice. I assume the company sells not only online, but in an actual store. If that's true, you really need to learn how to organize inventory for online and in-person sales. It's not that hard, you setup a database or whatnot that denotes when something is sold online or in-store. Or, you divvy up so much inventory for online and in-store to avoid these type of situations.

What if I desperately needed that graphic card for some scientific number-crunching (for example). But I was unable to do it causing a chain of events that got me into a lot of trouble??? Amazon should force third-parties to send all their products to them in order to avoid this, but that'll never happen.

Overseas (Return) Shipping
Amazon does ship overseas, but if you bought a product and it doesn't work or breaks within the 30-day refund period while in the US or UK (or wherever they're stationed), then it must be returned to the country of origin.

Understandably, if you get something while already overseas, then you take the risk of having to ship it back. There may be some recourse, but I doubt it. However, if you picked up an item while in that country, it worked for some time, you left, and then it broke, the rules still apply.

This is garbage in my eyes. If you bought a product from someone, it worked, and then you have to go on a long business trip, then the fault should lie with Amazon, as well as the delivery prices to return the item. In some countries you may be able to ship items fairly inexpensively, but there are more where that is just not an option.

I had a similar experience myself. My Samsung Galaxy S3 had been lost so I went ahead and ordered a Galaxy S4 to replace it. I made sure it was unlocked as I would be traveling a week or two later. The phone arrived and it worked without flaw. Once I was overseas the phone died after approximately one week. Needless to say, I was irate.

I called Amazon and explained the situation and how it was still under the 30 days, and of course they wanted me to pay for the shipping charges. Had I used the local mail it would've been rather cheap, but most people knew that trusting the local mail service was downright risky, not to mention I could not track the item internationally. My alternative was to use a courier like DHL, but even for such a small item, it would cost at least $100! So I spent an hour yelling at some outsourced support representative about how they sold me a product that broke and that was their problem, where I go after I purchase an item should not be a concern. Eventually I wore them down and got a supervisor to note and agree to reimbursing the shipping costs once the item was back with Amazon. I got lucky.

Most people who will go through this will never be so lucky. They will be forced to pay a huge shipping amount for something that may cost much less! Amazon, as big as they are, doesn't seem to have any type of deals in play for international couriers. You would think they would be smart enough to ensure that all places receive the same type of customer service.

Lost Time
As mentioned before, a lot of these troubles can cause time loss. Sometimes it's not a huge deal, but what about those times when it is? Amazon should be at the ready to give credits to those who have truly been screwed.

Sure, it wouldn't be easy to discern if someone truly got screwed because of lost time, but I'm sure there are plenty of people who would have no problem proving it in order to get a $5 credit.

People like me, who have Amazon Prime, really get pissed off because we pay for a premium shipping service and expect no time to be wasted. And while most items will come in a timely manner, the times they don't can and do affect us. This is not just about shipping times, but time wasted for the same reasons written above and more.

Oh, Amazon
I still love Amazon. I don't plan on stopping myself from buying from them unless they pull something really crazy. Even then, it may be hard to get away because they offer the cheapest prices on so many items. My hope is that even though they do very well in how they operate, they take time to evaluate what could be done better rather than trying to progress themselves before doing so.

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