- As more people are told not to leave their homes thanks to coronavirus shelter-in-place mandates, the nation’s reliance on Amazon to deliver the goods that we need has grown exponentially.
- Amazon is currently experiencing stocking delays on a host of items and its delivery trucks are overwhelmed.
- That means that Amazon’s industry-leading free two-day shipping for Prime members is no longer always the norm.
- People who have bought Amazon Prime memberships specifically for the shipping benefit understand the situation, but some have taken to social media to say the should reimburse Prime members for the months it can’t meet its promise.
- Amazon has not publicly responded to the suggestion. But there is a way to get the company to do so, one customer says: call up and complain.
On Sunday, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos posted a four-page letter praising his employees for their heroic work to fill shopping orders during the coronavirus crises.
“I’m not alone in being grateful for the work you are doing. I’ve received hundreds of emails from customers and seen posts on social media thanking you all,” he wrote.
But not everybody is happy with the speed of Amazon’s work these days. Many Amazon products are now showing shipment delays of over a month, reports Business Insider’s Eugene Kim. And even many of the items it deems essential, which it has prioritized restocking over all non-essential third-party items, are showing delays of days to weeks for delivery, such as tampons.
A growing number of Prime members who pay $119 a year for the free two-day delivery benefit are frustrated. Thousands have taken to Twitter or Facebook to complain.
“Amazon prime orders usually come like the next day or two … my cookware won’t come until the end of next month. It would be nice if Prime members got a refund during all of this,” one person tweeted on Monday.
“So does that mean all the Amazon Prime Members get a partial refund for the time period when Prime is no longer Prime?” another one tweeted.
Another complained on Monday on Facebook:
“So now that Amazon has announced to its customers, mainly Prime members, that all non essential items ordered will be delayed for up to a month, then then my question would be if Amazon will continue to charge its customers the monthly membership fee even though its customers will not receive their orders for the expedited service they paid for. Will customers be reimbursed or credited their accounts?”
Amazon didn’t reply to her question, at least not publicly. (Although Amazon did respond “Thank You” to someone on that same Facebook string who praised the company for its pledge to hire 100,000 people.)
Amazon’s statement to Business Insider points out that Prime membership includes a lot of other benefits, the implication being that it has no plans at the moment to refund customers on an automatic or widespread basis.
“These are incredibly difficult times for all. To serve our customers while also helping to ensure the safety of our associates, we’ve changed our logistics, transportation, supply chain, purchasing, and third-party seller processes to prioritize stocking and delivering items that are a higher priority for our customers. This has resulted in some of our delivery promises being longer than usual. And, we are hiring over 100,000 positions across the US to enable us to provide this vital service to people everywhere. In addition, Prime members can still enjoy Prime’s entertainment benefits, including unlimited streaming access to thousands of movies and TV shows on Prime Video; two million songs with Amazon Music; a free rotating selection of more than 1,000 books; magazines and comics with Prime Reading; free games and loot with Twitch Prime; and more.”
But it can be done
But here’s a tip from a reader who did get Amazon to refund him for one-month of his Prime membership.
He called customer service and specifically complained about buying Prime for its two-day shipping and not receiving his latest orders for five days. The customer service rep promptly refunded him one month’s of Prime, $14.03, according to the email on the transaction seen by Business Insider.
Amazon’s No. 1 rule of its famed Leadership Principals is Customer Obsession, which involves working “vigorously to earn and keep customer trust.”
The transaction shows that Amazon customer reps are authorized to refund a month’s Prime membership when dealing with an unhappy customer. But you can’t just bemoan about it on social media. If you buy Prime for its shipping benefit and you are genuinely unhappy about these delays during this time, a phone complaint could do the trick. You may walk away surprised and happy with the result.