Monday, January 16, 2012

A bone to pick with Amazon alleged 2-day shipping

I buy hundreds of dollars of books every year from Amazon – used, new, Kindle.  For me, for family, for school.  Recently, I needed some leveled readers right away.  As part of my regular English language arts class, I’m working with ELLs (English Language Learners) who need help reading English, and need materials that are high interest but have a simpler and gradually more difficult vocabulary; leveled readers fit the bill exactly.

I ordered several of these books – all listed by Amazon as “in stock.”  Ordinarily, I use the “free shipping if the order is $25 or more,” but this time I wanted the books ASAP.

So I decided to spring for 2-day shipping – which cost almost as much as the books.  But my students have been totally frustrated trying to read age-appropriate materials  published for native English speakers that just have too much new vocabulary.  I wanted my students to have something good to read.  After all, when you select shipping speed with Amazon, bold letters next to 2-day shipping tell you you'll get your items on a date that's 2 days after today; they give the actual date.  (See example, right.) 

But only one book out of 6 ordered came (in 3 days).  Then a second came a day later.  Then nothing.  Eight days after the order, I received an email that the last 4 books just were shipped.  With 2-day shipping charges.

According to Amazon’s friendly and courteous support email, 2-day shipping means it takes 2-days from when they actually ship to when it gets to you; Amazon has multiple fulfillment centers, and items aren’t all necessarily shipped right away.  More than half the order, listed as "in stock," wasn't even shipped for more than a week.  

Amazon's policy certainly doesn’t mean  Amazon ships the day you order and you’ll get your order in two days .  Even though that's what you see when you order. 

Ironically, I ordered used leveled readers through Amazon and also from  at the same time, and virtually all of those have already gotten here.  The shipping for used books from Amazon cost me $3.99/book.  The shipping from  varied, but sometimes was as little as $1.00 per book.

Lesson learned.  Don’t waste your money on Amazon’s 2-day shipping because you’re sure not going to get it in two days.  Amazon did refund the extra shipping for the books that weren’t even shipped out a week after I made the order.  But shouldn't they be more honest about what a customer gets for "2-day shipping?" 

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