Amazonian Gripe

Service at Amazon, the great online store I’ve dealt with for years, is either declining or getting selective.

A friend of mine in Indonesia placed an order on June 19, received confirmation the same day, and then…. nothing. She queried the order twice, and I’ve queried it once, without any response. The bank hasn’t received any debit request, and the order has since disappeared from her Amazon account. I’ve tried to send press queries to them, to no avail. And, no books.

Now, we’re all aware of credit card fraud, and Indonesia is a prime culprit. But whether or not Amazon believes this order to be fraudulent, there’s no excuse for not communicating with the customer, who has ordered before from Amazon and expected something better.

It was not always like this: I, who also live in Indonesia, have had no problems with Amazon, and, indeed, have always sung their praises in columns in main because of their good customer service. Once I even had an email opening with a greeting in Indonesian, from a staffer who had once lived here. This seems to be a thing of the past: There’s no email address to write to, and making an overseas call is in most cases not practical. Customer service at Amazon is no longer the personable, reassuring voice it used to be.

Now, of course, one bad apple does not a smelly barrel make. But given Amazon has not responded to my media requests, I think it’s worth pointing out this case as a worrying lesson in the different experiences online customers may get. Live in the West and you get great service; live in a place like Indonesia and you get a deafening silence.

12. July 2004 by jeremy
Categories: E-commerce, Rants | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 comment

One Comment

  1. Jeremy,

    You’re right on about Amazon. Not only is their customer service slipping, but their throughput on orders is lagging by at least one if not two days.

    What does overnight or one day delivery mean? Well to Amazon it means when the ship, not when you order. Lately I’ve been seeing orders take a few days to ship. The largely has more to do with Amazon being a sale aggregator of retailers and customers. Amazon built the model of attract customers and the sellers will join in. If you look at almost every category Amazon is working with partners. And while the consumer may think at first it’s Amazon, many times it’s a third party company.

    Amazon is a shopping mall. They no longer are a shop.