Amazon.com’s Customer Service

This coming week Ashley and I are taking a nice little vacation to Seattle.  We’ve not been a true vacation for any length of time that didn’t involve a wedding of some sort for quite a while, so we’re definately looing forward to it.  We’ve grown weary of our old digital camera we have, and had been considering getting a digital SLR like I’ve wanted for years.

However, the practicality of carrying a big DSLR around Seattle didn’t seem quite right… and I’ve had so much fun doing video snippets as of late… that instead we decided to get a handheld/pocketable HD camcorder.  Though their open-box buy deals, Amazon had a great price on the one I wanted, almost 50% off of the retail, so I bit and ordered it last Weds night.

But this came in the mail instead:

Somehow, someone put the Sanyo Xacti HD700 sticker on a Sony DCR-DVD308 box.

So I emailed Amazon and, as usual, their customer service is far and above the norm for any company.  They offered a full refund (if I shipped it back), as one would expect.  The problem came that it was an open box buy, so they couldn’t simply send me a replacement order.  Instead, I would have to place a new order at full cost.

The full cost of the product from Amazon was still nearly 30% cheaper than Best Buy or Circuit City, so I was going to place the order again… but I emailed them back because one thing bothered me.  I had already paid shipping for the order and – because they sent the wrong thing – I’d have to pay shipping again.  I emailed them back to see if they could pay for the shipping on the new order.

Their response was that they would give mea refund for the difference between the new product and the open box price!  The difference was, obviously, much more than the shipping cost.  Amazon Customer Service agents like to go above and beyond whenever they can.

My only dilemma now is that I did have to pay for overnight shipping so that the camera would get here before we left for Seattle.  On the principle of the matter, I feel I shouldn’t have to pay for the shipping, because it was their fault for shipping the wrong thing.  But on the practical level, the discount for giving me the open-box price is more than the cost of the shipping.  However, I have now paid shipping twice for one order.

It’s an interesting dillema.  On a principle level I’m disappointed about paying for the shipping.  But, for all intents and purposes, the customer service agent went above and beyond and took care of me at a rate better than simply paying for my shipping.

So, while it would have been best for Amazon to get the order right the first time, I have to say that their response time and the quality of their responses have been above and beyond any interaction I’ve ever had with a company.  Thanks, Amazon, for proving that digital communication can work, and empowering your agents makes for happy(ish) customers!

(And, hopefully, we’ll have some great little videos of our trip to Seattle!)

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