A Magical Rabbit from Amazon’s Customer Service Hat

I am lazy when it comes to shopping. Or maybe it’s just that I have so many other things I would rather do. I look for ways to reduce the effort of shopping whenever I can.

So last year I decided to spring for the Amazon Prime shipping program – it seemed like a great tool for a lazy shopper like me. This means I pay a certain amount per year in a flat fee, and for that I get free two-day shipping on almost everything I am interested in buying from Amazon.

And you know what? Now I buy LOTS more from Amazon than I ever did before. Need soap? Order a case on Amazon. Need cat food? Order a case on Amazon.

It used to be that I would only order from Amazon the things that I want. Now I order the things that I need, even if I need them sort of urgently. Because they’ll be here in two days, whereas I would probably get to the store.. sometime later this week or over the following weekend. It’s gone really smoothly – I am a happy Amazon Prime member because it gets the store out of the way so I can get straight to the merchandise.

But recently my order of canned cat food had a problem: half the cans were significantly damaged. Great – now what do I do?

So I check my Amazon orders online, start clicking around on things like “Leave packaging feedback” and “Return an item”. Turns out I can easily leave feedback on the packaging, but that the item is not eligible for return. To be honest, that’s fine with me because I’ve never understood the benefit to a customer in having to package up and ship back a damaged order – I’d obviously much prefer to just get a refund for the damaged stuff.

But in this case it looks like maybe that won’t happen, since cat food is considered a grocery item and grocery items are not considered for return. I am beginning to wonder how much time it is worth spending on the roughly $6 of merchandise (half the order) which was damaged.

But then Amazon pulls another one of its magical rabbits out of its customer service hat: Just minutes after sending my packaging feedback online, during the middle of probably the busiest week of Amazon’s year (Christmas), my half-hearted request for a refund of the damaged stuff is answered with a personally written email, in which I am told that a credit will show on my account in a few days. I am told I don’t have to ship back the damaged stuff (i.e., I can just toss it in the garbage where it really belongs).

Let me be very clear: Amazon did exactly what I as a customer expected. In the business relationship that I have with them as a vendor, they treated me with the same respect that I treat them. Cash for merchandise, no cash for damaged goods. Brilliant!

Now, what else can I buy from this wonderful vendor?