Amazon.com’s “Guaranteed Delivery”

October 19, 2014

My wife and I purchase items online from Amazon.com routinely, for both the convenience and cost savings. Since we make so many such purchases, it made sense for us to pay the $99 to become Amazon Prime members and get 2-day shipping for free on our “Amazon Prime” online purchases.

Now, being a prime member with the 2-day shipping, when I order an item I usually get a “Guaranteed Delivery” Date on the order page like what you see below:

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Recently, I made a very simple purchase of a book which had the “Guaranteed Delivery” promise on the order page, and the book didn’t arrive on the promised delivery date. I really wanted the book by that date, so I could take it on a business trip and read it on my flight. So, I initiated a support chat session with Amazon asking about my missing delivery.

The Amazon chat person stated he could only refund my order amount, or resend a new book to me. Both options wereimgres not satisfactory to me, since I wanted the book delivered by the promised date. So, I asked the chat person this question: “Does ‘Guaranteed Delivery’ mean that my order is guaranteed to arrive at my doorstep by the given date?”. The response by the chat person was, “Yes”. However, there’s really no “Guaranteed Delivery” by the true definition of the word, since Amazon doesn’t guarantee anything other than they will refund your order or send you a new item and make you wait longer.

This really perturbed me, because my order would have most likely arrived by the guaranteed due date if they didn’t use the US Postal Service to delivery my book. It seemed that the USPS actually delivered my book to the wrong address, and they have done this on a routine basis. For a 2-Day order, why would Amazon trust the USPS to deliver an order for a guaranteed delivery? If it was FedEx or UPS, I would think the chances of it being delivered on time would be much higher than the USPS.

 

Being frustrated with all of this, I emailed Amazon Support with my complaint, asking that they send me another book at no-cost to me, and fully refunding my charges. To me, that should be the penalty for Amazon deciding to use USPS to delivery my book with a “Guaranteed Delivery” date for one of their Amazon Prime customers.

Surprisingly, I got an email response back from Amazon within 5 minutes stating they would comply and send me a new book with no charges. So my book arrived by Next-Day air delivery by FedEx (after my business trip, of course), at no cost to me.

Now when I visit Amazon’s site I find this message when you click the “details” line next to the “Guaranteed Delivery” statement:

 

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Even by this statement, there’s no true guarantee of anything but a refund of your shipping costs if it arrives late. There is no Guaranteed delivery, period. I understand that such things can’t truly be guaranteed, so why should Amazon make such a statement on their web site?