Sunday, February 28, 2016

FREE $5/$10 Credit/Voucher OR 1 Month Prime Extension from Amazon! (OR FREE Reimbursement + BONUS!)

Amazon is a great company, but it does make mistakes from time-to-time. This is part of the secret of how to get Amazon to cough up some free credits. Amazon will not just give you free stuff for nothing, but it will compensate you if they make an error on their part. Here's how

Shipping Delay
The easiest way to get a free credit (voucher) or an extension on your Prime account is if the product(s) you order are late.

On a recent purchase I was offered free one-day shipping if my total order was at least $35. I had to spend an extra $10 to be eligible for this offer as the products in my cart did not equal the amount Amazon cited.

I was in a bind as it was the holidays and for whatever reason, Prime shipping had then become next week shipping! I tried the Amazon locker first, but the closest one to my vicinity was already full. I opted for a cheap SD card that I could use, but did not need, in order to get my one-day shipping.

The next day I waited for the package to arrive, but nothing came. I checked the tracking and it was OnTrack. A company I was not familiar with, but apparently many Amazon users are. There are tons of reviews about how bad OnTrac is and to never use them if possible. I was worried as I knew USPS would not be the deliverer, but had assumed UPS would be.

As night time came and the expected time passed for the package to arrive, I called Amazon and spoke with a lady about the situation. We talked for a bit and she even called OnTrack in order to reassure me the package would arrive by the next day. After I got off the phone, I received an email about my call and the situation.

The package did arrive the next day, so I decided not to press the matter since it was the holidays. A week later I was checking my previous orders from Amazon and noticed that they stated my previous package had arrived on time!

I contacted Amazon and explained that my package had not arrived on time. They checked and tried to state it was because it said as much on my orders page. I explained that I had also called Amazon on that night about the late delivery, and even had an email from the customer support representative on the matter.

With a bit of back-and-forth, I was offered either a $5 credit, or a month's extension on my Prime. Considering the price of one month of Prime (now $8.25), I took the latter.

I probably could have explained how I had to spend an extra $10 to even get the one-day shipping so I should get a $10 credit, but I felt that was a harder point to argue...

Missing Items
Most of the time if you order something new from Amazon, it will have everything it is meant to have. In the off-chance it does not, this will apply to you. But more than likely, this will apply to those who buy "used" items from Amazon.

I had ordered an expensive computer part for my laptop and got it used since it was not only around $30 cheaper, but it was directly from Amazon. The part was in great condition and did work, yet, a crucial piece was missing: The screws needed to hold it in place.

I called Amazon support and explained the situation. The part I had ordered was also the only used part they had in stock, so I did not want to return it and get a different one since I would then have to pay full price. Without any prodding, I was offered a $5 credit.

I ended up ordering the screws for a little less than $5, with Prime, and I actually got 20 screws for that price!

Price Changes
Sometimes you will buy something from Amazon and the price will change only a few days later. Mind you Amazon does not guarantee price changes, but they seem more than willing to help in these matters. My situations are a bit different, but will still work. It involves not just a price change, but an addition of product for the first one, and replacements for the second.

A) I like to collect collections and sets of movies, specifically Blu-ray movies. Last year I saw a collection for all the Wolverine and X-Men movies, save the newest which had just been released on Blu-ray (Days of Future's Past). It had come through in my Amazon newsletter, and it was a good deal, so I bought it. I figured there was no way they would sell the collection with the newest franchise addition because they could probably still sell it for high prices for at least a few more months (if not more).

Exactly 31 days later I get an Amazon newsletter with what I thought would not happen. They were selling the same collection with the new movie for a mere couple dollars difference! I was somewhat upset and did not want to buy the deal again as the time had passed for me to return the collection I had bought.

Figuring there was no harm in trying, I called Amazon support and explained the situation. It was a bit difficult to explain, but after some time, the customer support representative understood what I was asking; which was to simply purchase the new movie for the extra couple of dollars it should have cost me originally.

The representative put a note on my account that would allow me to buy the additional movie for the small amount it would have cost me with their "new" collection. I first had to buy the movie for its full price then contact Amazon support and have them reimburse me for most of the amount afterwards.

I did end up getting reimbursed, and because we were not doing exact calculations, I actually ended up paying less than $2 for the newer movie!

B) Amazon usually chooses decent shipping services, but OnTrac is the worst partnering they have ever made. If my story above suggests that, this story will confirm it.

Anyways, I ordered two used external hard drives that I had waited for to drop in price (which lasted for less than a day). They never arrived. I checked my orders on Amazon and it stated there was an address mistake and that I needed to contact them. I found this odd since I have used the address for years now without an issue...

I called Amazon support and verified the shipping address, which was correct. They contacted OnTrac, the deliverer, and then an Amazon representative told me it would arrive by the next day. I waited through the next day and, of course, the shipment never arrived.

Again, I contacted Amazon support and explained the situation. They offered a refund as they stated the price difference for a NEW drive was too great. But I told them that none of the current prices on their site were the same so I would end up paying far too much compared to how much I had just paid. Eventually I was given a supervisor, where I had to retell my story. The supervisor was more helpful and finally offered a $40 credit. Not enough to cover the expense of two new external hard drives of the same make and model, but enough for me to get creative.

I found an even cheaper used external hard drive and a brand new external hard drive. There were other cheaper used drives, but this would allow me to get a used and new drive for a cheaper cost than what I originally paid. In total, I ended up saving about $10.

How To Get FREE Stuff!
Obviously, first wait until Amazon makes a mistake. No matter how small, you will likely be able to get something for free. If it is something like a shipping delay, be sure to call them the day it should have arrived so they at least can see you did call them (about what, they usually cannot discern unless good notes were taken). You can also ask that they send an email about what you discussed as further proof that something did happen on that day, and this could be very helpful if their notes show otherwise.

When you contact Amazon support either do it by phone or by live chat. I have not done anything by email, and I cannot imagine how long a correspondence would take before anything was given.

Live chat is definitely the easiest for things like missed shipment dates. I do not act overly courteous, but I am nice and try to be as concise about the matter as possible. When they find that they are in the wrong, they will offer you credits or a month extension of your Prime account.

I would suggest contacting by phone for more complicated matters such as price changes or missing items. Live chat may work for missing items, but I would think a price change would be easier to explain, and get something for, if done by phone. (Just reread my circumstances above and you will understand why.)

On the phone, always try to be courteous, but always try to explain everything in a way that comes across that you got screwed over somehow. Most of the time, they will be able to give you something for a 5-10 minute phone call.

Pushing Further
I do not like pushing passed my luck, but at times it does help. Maybe you feel that a $5 credit is not enough and that you deserve a $10 credit. Maybe you paid for overnight shipping and it took 3 days to get. I would say that this entitles you to that $10 credit, if not more. Just be sure to explain why you deserve it (i.e. overnight shipping costs were above $10).

Or maybe you think a two month free extension to your Prime account is in order. As long as you have a good reason to ask, and explain it properly, you will likely get what you are asking for.

Do not push too hard as sometimes they cannot do anything. For example, if you paid $5 for something and are asking for a $10 credit, that may not be something they are allowed to authorize.

Word of Caution
While complaining can get you far, it can also get you in trouble. There are times when Amazon sends out emails on how they noticed so many discrepancies in your account and will be investigating to determine if your account should be closed.

This has happened to a lot of people, meaning the emails, and one simply has to do a Google search to see examples. Sometimes they are about constant returns, other times they are about constantly lost packages. Others are about just having a lot of problems.

I have received one of these emails and was very distraught about it. I use Amazon a lot as it is convenient and you can get good deals with diligent research. So, I was not sure what to do to avoid getting my account closed.

My first thought was that I could open another account. But after reading about one person who tried this when his original account was closed, I realized this was not a viable solution. The man would open a new account and as soon as he put in a credit card for payment to pay for something, his new account would be closed by the next day. There is the possibility of being hooked onto someone else's account, but they may still close it down if you happen to use your own card for payment.

Just before I went to bed after getting the email, I decided to search for a possible solution. The only one I found was on a forum that required a free signup to view the solution. At first I decided I would go to sleep and let things play out, as I had deeply considered replying to the email, but was unsure that would be best. As I laid in my bed, I decided I needed to see that solution.

I was lucky that I did as it essentially showed a guy who got an email about a lot of missing packages. Although I am unsure if his response was true, he essentially claimed that he lived in a shady neighborhood, and his neighbors were having the same problems. Furthermore, he was next to a busy highway, but a new road was being built to lessen the traffic through his area. This seemed to work for him as he got a reply from Amazon a day later stating that they would not be closing his account.

My situations were real, so I wrote everything I could about what had been happening lately. I also included that I had never asked for any of the compensation given, but did take the compensation when offered. In ending, I pretty much commented on how I love Amazon and their support, and would like to continue using them. A day later I received a similar email saying that they would send my information up the chain to whomever dealt with this, and that my account would remain open.

Why am I mentioning this? Because I did nothing shady, but because they had missed due dates, sent me open or damaged packages, and I had decided to report all of this to them, I was being punished. Complaining too much may give them the idea that you are somehow doing things you should not, even if you are not. Is it fair? No. But because of how they are setup, they tend to want to blame the customer after seeing so many incidents instead of truly trying to investigate an issue.

Can I live without Amazon? Sure. I did that for years. But do I want to is the real question.

Cons of Credits
The main reason I opted for an extra month of Prime in my shipping delay example was mainly because it was worth more and I will take advantage of it. Hardly a month goes by that I do not go onto Amazon and purchase some product.

But there is something else to consider when choosing extensions over credits. The credits they give are ONLY for Amazon purchases. Meaning, if the product is not sold by Amazon, the credit cannot be used.

I am not saying never buy from third-party vendors on Amazon. I often find myself getting cheaper deals for the same product from third-party vendors on Amazon, and end up saving a lot more than $5 by buying from them. A lot of times third-party vendors do not charge tax for where I am (and I go so far as to actually seek those vendors out), so I end up saving quite a bit more using one of them.

Just be aware that Amazon credit is just for Amazon sales...

It does not happen all the time, but once in a while an Amazon package will get lost. They will send you a replacement immediately.

Even less rare is that the lost package is found and sent to you. Now you have two of the same products. In all likelihood you could just keep the products and Amazon may never be the wiser. However, I have heard of this happening to people who call Amazon and tell them what has transpired. Amazon support then tells them to go ahead and keep both packages.

This definitely does not happen all the time, and I doubt they will let you keep something that is too expensive. But it is something you can always hope for!

Amazon is a company that gives some great deals, and even moreso if they make a mistake. Take advantage of these mistakes and save yourself a bit of money. Sometimes they will go so far as to give you free products. But if you never try, you will never know...

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