Wait Five Minutes

 Posted by at 12:31 am  Nick's Blog
Sep 102019

We have all heard the old saying “if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes and it will change.” Apparently the people at Amazon’s customer service department live by that same rule. Or at least the ones I’ve been dealing with lately do.

In early August I ordered three Master Lock 265D Door Security Bars to secure the doors in our house when we are away. Yes, I know, you probably think I’m paranoid since I have security cameras, an alarm system, and a house sitter for when we go out of town. Then again, you probably haven’t returned home late at night and come face-to-face with an armed burglar. We have.

At any rate, the three security bars were delivered on August 8, and it was the next day before I opened the box and decided to see how they fit. Two were fine, but the third one was missing the rubber foot from the bottom. I called Amazon’s customer service and got someone in a call center on the other side of the world who could hardly speak English, or least any kind of English I could understand. After explaining my problem to him three times and trying to understand his response, he turned me over to someone else who said no problem, he would send out a replacement and email me a return package slip for the bad bar, and to drop it off at the nearest UPS store or have UPS come to pick it up.

And sure enough, within a day or two UPS delivered the replacement bar and picked up the old one. That was simple, right? Come on kiddies, if it was that simple I wouldn’t have anything to blog about today, would I? I opened the box and discovered that there was not one, but three replacement bars. Okay, I’ll call Amazon again. And again, I got someone I could not understand on the phone. This time I asked to be transferred to somebody in the United States, and after a few minutes someone came on the line and listened patiently while I explained that I had received three new bars instead of just the one I needed as a replacement. Which meant I now had five bars when I only ordered and paid for three. She said no problem, just keep the other two with their compliments.

About a week later I got an email from Amazon telling me that I had until September 3 to return the two bars from the original order. Time to call Amazon again! This time, as soon as someone in India or wherever they are answered the phone, I told them to transfer me to someone in the US. When I got someone on the phone who spoke English, he said that he would e-mail me a return product authorization and a UPS shipping label. Within a few minutes I got the return product authorization, along with a note that said UPS would be by with a shipping label the next day.

That never happened, so after waiting an extra day or two I was back on the phone with them again, and again jumped through the hoops to get somebody in the US, who apologized for the confusion and told me to just keep the other two arms, donate them to charity, or throw them away, whatever I wanted. I asked if he was sure about that, and he told me he was.

Guess what? A few days, maybe a week later, I got another message from Amazon reminding me that I had to return two security bars by September 5. Why did the return date change? I have no idea. And an hour later I got another email saying to return them by September 9.

By then we had Hurricane Dorian breathing down our necks and we didn’t know if we would be evacuating or staying home, or if the big wind was going to blow us off to Oz or Never Never Land. I called Amazon again, and when I got someone in the US and said I was very upset and I did not plan to ever buy anything from them again if they were so disorganized that they couldn’t arrange a simple product return and replacement. This time, the woman I spoke to apologized profusely to me, told me to keep the other bars, said she would issue a refund for the full purchase, and sent me an email confirming that I didn’t have to send anything back and we were even. The next day I got an email saying that the refund had been processed. And so far, I haven’t gotten any more nastygrams from Amazon wanting anything back. But I keep checking my email, just in case.

While this was a hassle, I must say that overall, Amazon’s customer service has always been very good. And besides having any kind of product you could ever want to purchase, you can get some great freebies on there from time to time, too. For example, right now my friend Jason Dees is giving away free copies of undone, the first book in his Burt Bigsley mystery series. This deal is good through Friday, so grab your copy while you can. By the time you get written done reading it, I think you will be a Jason Dees fan, just like I am.

Thought For The Day – All dogs are therapy dogs. The majority of them are just freelancing.

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  4 Responses to “Wait Five Minutes”

  1. Just because we are paranoid, it dosn’t mean they are not out to get us.

  2. I love your Thought For The Day!

  3. I’m semi amazed that you actually found a phone number. I just use their online return system and it mostly works. When something too complicated happens I use their live chat, which avoids the poor English skills problem.

    Knowing the complications that can ensue when trying to report delivery of something you didn’t order: the best tactic is to ignore it, hang on to the box for a week or so in case they figure out what happened and demand it back. Then just dispose of the item in question. I got a case of breakfast bars, 32 of them, a couple of weeks ago. Spent some time online trying to report it but found nothing practical. And after a week gave them to one of my sons who planned to leave it in his wok break room. The stuff tastes like compressed sawdust to me and I didn’t want it.

    A year ago they claimed to have delivered some hiking boots but they never showed up, I called them and they shipped another pair. A week later the missing pair arrives. I call them and they say Keep them. These are $130 boots. So the second son lucked out this time and got a nice new set of boots.

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