I have been an Amazon customer for more than 7 years, with purchases of more than USD$8000 yearly (all purchases are recorded either via email or print-out Amazon account summary). The reason I am writing this review is to expose what Amazon does to her faithful customer.
I make purchases of at least 20 to 30 books in each order several times a year, so I do consider myself a “big” customer of Amazon’s (let the reader be the judge). The reason I make such regular purchases is this - I am doing research and require books for my papers. Besides, I am a bibliophile and an avid book collector.
The quality of Amazon packing has progressively deteriorated over the years. In the early 2000 (i.e. from 1999 to 2003), Amazon shrink wraps my books for delivery. In the last few years, the packing has decline to such an extent that, several books were simply thrown into a box – sometimes with nothing and sometimes with a plastic bubble on top – and the books were shipped all the way to Asia with such flimsy packing. Imagine 10 books in one box (the orders of say 30 books were often split into a few shipments). What do you expect to see when the books arrive?
Needless to say, there are badly damaged books in every shipment.
I never requested for replacement of books with minor damages i.e. slight dog-ears, little dents, or even a mark here and there. Thus far, I have only requested for replacements when the damage is substantial i.e. numerous dog-ears, dents to corners of books, torn covers (even torn hardcover jackets), or crushed pages.
Apparently, Amazon dislike customers asking for replacement, even when customers were to send back those damaged items. Recently, I asked for a replacement of a damaged book which was an expensive item. The damaged book was sent back to Amazon, but Amazon sent me another damaged book as a replacement! I do not know if the damage was due to transport or originally there, but the book had dents, crushed pages throughout, and markings.
I therefore requested for a second replacement for the damaged book. But this is what I received from Amazon in my email the next couple of days:
Email from Amazon Management:
Date: Wednesday, 27 August, 2008 11:03 PM
Hello from Amazon.com.
A careful review of your account indicates you've experienced an extraordinary number of incidents with your orders and corresponding shipments.
In the normal course of business, the occasional problem is inevitable. The rate at which such problems have occurred on your account is extraordinary, however, and cannot continue. Effective immediately, your Amazon.com account is closed and you are no longer able to shop in our store. I am very sorry for any disappointment this may cause.
Please know that any accounts related to yours have also been closed. If you were to open a new account, the same will result and it will also be closed. In the event that you attempt to do so, we will not accept the return of any additional orders, nor will we issue further refunds in connection with any future orders. We appreciate your cooperation in refraining from using our web site.
If you require additional assistance, or have any concerns, feel free to contact us directly at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please do not contact regular Customer Service again, as they will no longer be able to assist you.
With the aforementioned email, I can no longer access my Amazon account. What’s more, all my standing replacement orders and credit card details were frozen and taken by Amazon (can’t I at least DELETE my credit card details? What about those well-known Amazon hackers who hack into accounts to steal credit card details?). What’s most frustrating is that – I cannot even log into my Amazon account to stop SPAM mails from Amazon from being sent to my email account.
This is what I wrote to Amazon after receiving the aforementioned email.
Date: Thursday, 28 August, 2008 12:06 AM
Re: Closure of My Account After So Many Years As A Customer
1. I do not understand why you have closed my account without even discussing this with me. The alleged "extraordinary number of incidents" were not due to any faults of mine.
2. Take for example, the numerous paperback books I ordered. In order to prevent damage due to the packing of MANY books into one box, I have been splitting my orders recently (and PAYING MORE as a result) into lesser and lesser books. Go and check it out: it would be cheaper and more economical just to purchase all the books in one order. Instead, I choose to pay more and split the books up into several orders (like 10 orders). With each order, I have to pay a shipment surcharge. I am willing to do so because the packing is very poor, and the books often arrived damaged. The soft-covers were often placed into a box with nothing, or a simple plastic bubble. The books become damaged when the corners of the books rub/knock against the inside of the box or when the books rub/bang into other books within the box.
3. Hard-covers were more resilient to transport, but not all books come in hard-covers. Even so, I have hard-covers damaged every once in a while. Some hard covers had badly torn jackets.
4. Thus far, I have returned damaged items as instructed.
5. Furthermore, I had appealed to shipment (like writing to them) to pack my books well i.e. to wrap my books in a plastic shrink wrapper. Once in a blue moon I get books wrapped in a shrink wrap, but even so, the shrink wrap was done such that the corners of the TOPMOST book were bent inwards (due the to hasty shrink wrapping or carelessness). As a result, the book was damaged.
6. Other than the packing problems, I had no other complaints against Amazon. I never complained when my orders were delayed for months. I never complained when you say that a book was in stock, and when I ordered, you cancelled my order because there is no stock. I never complained when you cancelled an order because the price was allegedly a “mistake” (too low and couldn’t make a profit?). Why didn't you just pack my books properly? There were even times when I had to re-order the damaged book because your replacement book was damaged as well.
7. I am a book collector, and I will want my books in new or reasonable condition as I had indeed paid for NEW books, not damaged ones. I will accept the book if it has no dents, severe dog-ears, torn or bent covers.
8. Lastly, I have purchase books from you for more than 7 years, and have given you much business. You could at least DISCUSS this issue with your long time customer.
9. This is not the way to deal with a faithful customer of so many years.
I would like the readers to be aware of how unprofessional Amazon is even with her faithful customers. Buyers beware!
Seems like the problem is widespread!