Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Amazon (India) customer service masterclass !!

First, let me thank all the people who supported me on this issue in the last 3-4 weeks. Thank you so much !!

Second, there are few people, two to be precise, who came back asking me if I think I have been a bit harsh on Amazon India, using words. I did clarify that I was overcome with emotions, I did start of as anyone would. asking them where my order was and then I was lead to the garden path by their customer care executives where I lost it and did say a few words. 

For the interest of someone (new) reading this, what are those words ? Cheated, Forged, Fraud. As days went by without any action being taken or anything being communicated to me, I did use a liberal sprinkling of these 3 words in my communications to them and on the social media.

Third, one of those two people mentioned above did think that I shouldn’t have used those words. He tells me that may be they have not responded to your query because you used words !! 

Now, in this post I am going to spell out what actually happened with some of the evidence I have in my hand and I will let you, the reader to make your own opinion about what is right and what is not & also who is and who is not. 

That notwithstanding, let me start with an apology nevertheless…


Now some of you might wonder, some might even abuse me in your minds, some might think I’ve lost my marbles by apologizing to someone who is deemed to have committed a mistake. It’s okay, like they say, “It takes a heart to apologize”. I don’t think I will lose anything doing that.

Now to the core issue.

What happened ? Why did I blow my top ?

On July 03, 2016 I ordered a book with Amazon India (AI). The AI order screen confirmed that the book was shipped to the address I had provided on July 18, 2016.

Late July 28, 2016, when I was checked for the status of this book I found that the AI website had a new status. That the book was delivered on that day, it also said that the book was handed directly to my wife and that she signed for the delivery. But no one from my family had received the book, it was not delivered as the status on AI said...

I subsequently called the AI customer call center and asked them when the book was delivered and to whom. The person who spoke to me very clearly said that the book was damaged in transit and therefore Amazon Transportation Services (ATS) didn’t deliver the book. That they have returned the book back because it was damaged and that he would help me claim my money back.

At this juncture I did ask the person why the status shows that my wife signed for delivery. Isn’t it not misleading (I used one of those 3 words mentioned above) to show that the delivery was signed for ? And also wouldn’t it amount to a wrong (another word among the 3 listed was used here) if someone else signed for the person intended for ?

The customer care person apologized and promised that he would arrange for the refund quickly. At this juncture I also asked for an apology from AI for this misleading status.

Now this is where things go wary, the customer care executive who spoke to me doesn’t take this issue with ATS who actually spoiled / damaged the book. But he took it up with the Book Seller (BS) asking him to refund the money because the book was not yet shipped. This any any seller would refuse because the status on AI itself every clearly shows that the book has been delivered to the customer and it was signed for by Roopa. The problem as mentioned before lies with ATS which AI needs to sort internally. 

The BS on July 29, 2016 sends a message that the book has already been shipped via ATS and hence they cannot cancel the order.

This puts me off because it was AI’s problem and they had to sort it for me but instead they had passed the buck on to the BS who promptly refused refund.

So I took this issue up with the AI customer care again on August 02, 2016. So this lady who I chat with says that she will help me raise a “A-Z claim” against the BS. I stopped her at this point and went on to explain (with a liberal sprinkling of those 3 words) that the problem was due to ATS and hence the problem was AI’s and therefore they cannot expect the BS to return the money. I also urged that she listens to the initial call I had with one of their executives where he clearly mentions that the problem is due to ATS.

At this juncture not satisfied with the direction the chat was taking, I  asked the lady to produce the delivery receipt which my wife is supposed to have signed. And I tell them that we can close this issue the moment they produce proof that my wife indeed signed for delivery.

This is the point I lost it, and I lost it because of the SCRIPTED few words of consolation that the call center executives were repeating. Like I know how you feel, I would feel the same if I were you, we are looking into it, I have escalated it, the teams would come back to you, sorry for the inconvenience etc.

And I took to social media (SM), the first contact with the AI twitter team was illuminating. The person tried educating me about the dangers of putting out personal information on SM. And what was there ? The AI order number. And after much deliberation he asked me to fill a form with the same details they had. What order, what happened etc. After much protests I helplessly filled the form again. And was promised that the case would be looked into soon.

The SM team too blurted out the same SCRIPTED homilies and said their teams are looking into my problem.

As the same pingpong continued, the “A-Z claim” was rejected by the BS on August 07, 2016. I again lost it and took it up with the SM team who send me a very nice, “We cannot provide additional insights” message.

I then took the case to the customer care team and explained why the claim shouldn’t be sent to the BS but addressed by the ATS & AI teams. This time the lady wanted me to appeal the claim and an appeal was filed. I had in my appeal clearly mentioned the backstory. It was something like the following…

The Amazon customer care personnel I first spoke to confirmed that the book was never delivered because it was damaged, possibly by the people of Amazon logistics (you should have the call records).
 I am not sure how you reflect in your status that the book was received and signed for by Roopa Krishnamurthy. It surely wasn't, if you insist that it was then I will be happy to have the delivery receipt with her signature.

After much deliberations and heartburn the claim was duly rejected without assigning any reason or provision of any documents on August 17, 2016

I have repeatedly tried to reach out to the AI customer care and they have refused to talk to me, blocked me and have not answered any of my legitimate questions.

I have been trying to reason out and appeal the rejection again for the last 7 days without any proper response.

My questions to AI are the following

  1. You claim that the book was delivered and was signed for by Roopa Krishnamurthy, provide me the proof if it indeed is available with you as you claim in your status
  2. If you don’t have proof (meaning you have NOT delivered the book), acknowledge your fault, apologize
  3. Refund my money, the Rs. 1307/- I paid for the book
  4. If you are going to reject my claim after all this, I want AI to properly explain the reason why the claim is being rejected and what proof they have to do so

That’s it.

PS: It is another interesting story that one of the AI executives even offered me a short apology and a gift card of Rs 150 as a token of apology. And I thought the issue was close to being solved. This was August 02, 2016 but it was let to escalate by the good guys of AI 

PPS: I finally received a mail from AI some 7 minutes ago that they are looking into the issue. Nothing new, but let's be hopeful !!