Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Amazon Doesn't Always Have It Right!

If you are reading this, I would bet that 99% of you have at some time purchased something from Amazon. We all started when Crown Books stumbled and fell due to a family feud and dial-up moved to the unheard of speeds of 56 kbs. Ah, those were heady days.

We all laughed at the thought of buying books online but then realized after browsing at the likes of Walden Books, or Borders or even Crown Books, Amazon had a better deal. However, that better deal was ultimately the death knell of the bookstore as we knew it. We just didn't know it then. Few book stores remain and to be frank, nothing beats holding a book in your hand as you peruse its pages. No Kindle or iPad equals that experience.

As exciting as Amazon was (to our pocketbooks) they nearly went under when it was realized that not to charge for shipping would eat into their profits. As any online seller knows, you can't afford to eat shipping. It takes a big chunk out of the bottom line.

Then Amazon moved into movies and CD's, big cash cows until Apple brought out the iPod and Napster gave us free file swapping. Before we knew it, they were not only offering everything you could buy in a brick and mortar store, even food now, but were helping others sell their items too. However, it appears that not all of their resellers follow the same rules.

My daughter sent me new speakers for my computer as a gift. The first set never arrived because after a week or two, Amazon got around to telling her they were no longer available. When the second set arrived I marched out to connect them to my iMac. Opening one box to find another I noticed there was no packing slip. Brushing that aside, I opened the second box and as I was getting all the cords together noticed that the connector to the computer had a headphone type green plug. I knew instantly it wouldn't work. And it didn't. Not on the iMac or my laptop. They were clearly for PC computers.

Going online I read one sad comment after another from Mac users and that there seemed to be no Altec-Lansing driver for Mac's. I told my daughter and she said to send them back and pick another.

After more than 30 minutes today, I am unable to return these speakers. Obviously, whoever designed the software seemed unaware that someone would return a gift or that the gift would have no packing slip. Of course there is no phone number so there is no way to even get help from all the numbers, three different tags in fact, plastered on the outside of the box. Not one is an order number.

Our modern society is frustrating. A good part of that frustration is the way companies design how we are to interact with them. Endless times punching numbers trying to get customer service meanwhile being told, "Your call is important to us," or that line I know is a crock, "We are experiencing heavier than normal call volume today. Why don't you call back later." I got that one even at 3 am. If more than one person calls and you have only one person answering, and yes I got one customer service rep to admit he was the only one, you know that while they really want to sell us something, you better not want to return it!

And, I can't return it. I had to send an email to my daughter to see if she has an order number. Otherwise I guess it will sit here unused and unusable in a house that is all Apple.

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