Former TV-journalist who tends to write when irritable. Lover of hockey, everything bagels, and a good Okinawa boba tea.
The Pontoon That Started It All
We've all done it. Scoured the Internet, looking for the perfect gift, saved up to buy an air conditioner in the middle of summer, or splurged on and bought a fishing pontoon. Well, maybe not everyone has gone the pontoon route, but after listening to my husband complain about fishing from shore and catching nothing but a 3rd-degree sunburn, we decided to order from Amazon Prime. It's exciting- you know the truck will pull up, the doorbell will ring, and there on your front porch sits the item you've been tracking for 48 hours.
Or at least, that's what's supposed to happen.
In my case, in the last month, Amazon has lost 4 of the items I've ordered on Prime and has been unable to update or find a solution to the missing goods. Which brings me to today, and our missing pontoon.
We ordered this dream vessel on July 1, with the prospect of "Free 2-Day Shipping" with Prime. I received the confirmation email, and the wait began. After a few days of no updates, I checked the order status. Finally, it was updated to "Scheduled to arrive July 7 by 9:00 pm." It was more than the 2 days it promised, but with the Independence Day holiday, I gave them some room.
July 7 came and went. The 9:00 hour came and went, and when I checked my Amazon account, I noticed that it now read "Delivery scheduled for July 8 by 9:00 PM." Hmm...but where was the tracking info?
The First Sign of Trouble
Today (July 8) I took it upon myself to call Amazon to see why the tracking info was missing. I spoke to "Allison" in customer service, who said it seemed "odd" that there was no tracking, so she was contacting a supervisor. A few minutes later, an energetic Allison advised me that her supervisor would get the tracking number and she would call me back right away. Feeling relieved, I thanked her and went about my business.
As the day went on, I realized I'd not heard back from my friend Allison, so I checked for a tracking number. Nope.
By 4:30 PM I was starting to wonder where this giant fishing pontoon had gone, so I visited the Amazon website again, hoping for an update but instead, using their recommended Customer Service Chat program. Big mistake.
Let's Meet Kyle
The Beginning of a Terrible Friendship
Enter Kyle. One of the biggest mistakes in customer service is not listening to your customer. Kyle is an overachiever in this department. Not only did he ignore me, but he also left me hanging without updating me for almost 10 minutes. As quickly as he appeared, he was gone. Replaced by my second customer service employee whose name started with a "K," Khursheed.
Here's #2, Khursheed to the rescue
Sigh. So, after waiting for Khursheed to step up and do something, anything really, he kept me hanging before making a stealthy exit and passing me off to my next "K" named employee.
Welcome to the club, Kapinga.
Still with me? It's time to be transferred
Aah yes, Kapinga
So before I start on the joys of Kapinga, let me draw your attention to a few issues. First, notice the timestamps on this chat. I am in PST, but the timestamps are reflective of wherever the agents are. My chat times remained constant and correct, the Amazon employees' changed with the wind. My actual interaction with Amazon started at 4:36 PM PST.
Back to my new friend Kapinga.
By now, I was extremely agitated and felt dismissed by Customer Service. No one had done a single thing to help, and at this point, I had spoken to Allison, Kyle, Kursheed, and would be chatting it up with Kapinga at any moment. I'd spent well over an hour from my initial call to Allison to being tossed around by the K staff. Let's see what words of wisdom I was going to be delivered now by Amazon's finest.
Losing my patience very quickly with this attitude
"Crushing all my issues"
So my interaction with Kapinga was, fortunately, brief. I hated her immediately. With her cheeky "Here to crush all your issues today" introduction, I knew that Kapinga was going to follow in her Amazon coworkers' footsteps and do nothing. She did not disappoint.
By now, it had been 29 minutes since the Amazon Customer Service chat initiated. I'd spoken to Kyle, Khursheed, and Kapinga. They all "reviewed" my information and promptly sent me to another person who could "help" but didn't. My humor was gone, I was tired of feeling worthless, and I honestly didn't want to speak to another person with the initial "K."
You may be asking yourself where my brain was as I sat there being discarded by Amazon Customer Service employees. I decided that not only did I actually want to find out about the missing pontoon, but I also wanted to see if anyone anywhere at Amazon could help me. In anyway. Just anything.
Here We Go Again
Unleash the Beast
Justin took no time to dump me off. For some reason they all "review" the notes and then can't help in any way, so they toss you into another queue of helpless customer service employees, just waiting to finish their shifts.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Bhargav...
Silly Little Lies
So, now my good pal Bhargav informs me that even though I have demanded a supervisor, he can, in fact, do the exact same thing as his superior. Oh, and, yeah, he doesn't actually have a supervisor. Little did I know that Bhargav actually runs the entire Amazon Customer Service operation, Yet, I didn't believe his story, so I called him out on it.
This story could have a happy ending, but that would mean that Amazon and their crack Customer Service Department did what they are paid to do- provide customer service. They did not. I gave Bhargav my phone number, and my phone did ring rather quickly. I answered, and then I held on.
...and held longer
Waiting for a "Supervisor"
So now that it had been well over an hour since I started the chat, been transferred to 5 different Customer Service employees, I received a phone call from Amazon and had to wait nearly 30 minutes on hold for what I hoped might be a supervisor.
I kind of felt like I was being put on eternal hold as punishment, so I went back to the chat while I waited to see if anyone was out there.
Where Did You Go?
After 30 minutes of waiting, a Texas accent introduced himself as "Mickey." I heard his kids in the background, so I assume he works from home. I started off the call letting him know I was in a very bad mood, and that he was going to get the wrath of my anger. I explained the whole story. He immediately told me that there were supervisors I could talk to (as he was in fact, one) and that the last guy had lied. (Shocker!) He put me on hold to "look into" the issue with the missing pontoon. About 4 minutes later he returned to tell me that yeah, the boat was missing, yeah...there was no tracking information, and yeah...they had issued a "ticket" to look into it.
I foolishly asked him what that meant Amazon was doing to find our boat.
"Well, they'll contact the distribution center and let you know."
"When?," I asked.
"I don't know," Mickey stated. "No one seems to know where this is. I sure don't."
I took a few minutes to voice my displeasure with Amazon. I filled him in on how they'd lost a weight bench we'd ordered just last week and had no explanation. I mentioned that as a paying Prime Member I was surprised at how little Amazon does to make up for mistakes. I mentioned that it would seem like an online retail giant would actually be able to help someone in less than an hour. I mentioned that it might be nice to give someone some real answers.
He did not respond.
He sat quietly. I told him that normally I would say "Thank you," but I honestly had nothing to thank him for. He let me know he'd just returned from his lunch break. Then he asked if there was "anything else" he could help me with.
I think that in order to have an "anything else" you first have to have an "anything." So, I told him that I would be writing this article, he told me to have a good night.
It's now almost 24 hours after the chat and phone call. It's been 9 days since we ordered the missing pontoon, and the update on Amazon stills shows it will be delivered by 9:00 PM yesterday. It wasn't. No tracking information. No contact from Amazon. I paid a lot of money for a lot of nothing.
Amazon Prime Shipping Fine Print and Jeff Bezos
I did want to mention one other tidbit given to be by Supervisor Mickey. When I told him that I ordered this pontoon because it had "Free 2-day Shipping," he informed me that I needed to read the "tiny" fine print on Amazon's site.
"The Free 2-day Shipping doesn't mean you'll get it in 2 days. It means that they take about 2 days to ship it after the order has been fulfilled."
Talk about transparency. He told me that the 2-day Shipping is a lie, and that it's a way to bait people into buying from them. I used to love Amazon. The deliveries were fast and accurate. The items showed up. Now, they try to blame Covid-19, but they have been busier than any other company on Earth during this crisis.
Jeff Bezos needs to rethink outsourcing his customer service. He needs to rethink a lot of things. As a side note, I was "hired" by Amazon in 2019 to work for their short-lived Treasure Truck. It was during this time that I also discovered that their HR department is outsourced to India. I ended up not taking the position at Amazon, but for 4 months I continued to get documents about my retirement plan, updating my schedule, and a variety of other oddities. By having global operations running the show, Amazon loses touch with the American consumer is has entranced. Everyone I know buys from Amazon. Everyone I know complains about Amazon. The time has come for Bezos and Company to listen to the complaints, retrain customer service, and get a grip on this empire before people like Kyle, Kapinga, and Khursheed destroy it via chat.
© 2020 Lori Orchow