Monday, June 13, 2016

Amazon: making returning a faulty product harder than rocket science

You'll need a comfy chair and cup of tea/coffee/whatever for this one. So, if you are sitting comfortably, I'll begin.

My new sat nav - purchased two months ago - was not working properly, so I needed to send it back to the retailer I bought it from - Amazon.

Naively, I thought there would be somehow that I could contact Amazon, state the problem with the product, and get a new one in exchange [as I would have done had I stuck with Curry's, see Navigating to a satellite navigator made hard ]].

So I went to Amazon.co,uk and found this page, with a link to 'returns and replacements'
 Which took me to this page ...
So I clicked on 'start a return'
Which took me to this page that required me to identify the item I wanted to return, 
... and clicked on the 'return of replace item' link, I got this page ...
 
Which said I couldn't return the product. 

So I went back to the returns support centre page, and clicked on the 'learn more about exchanges and replacements' link,
Which took me to this page ...

and when I clicked on the link to the page it told me I would get help on, it took me to this page ...

Yep ... back to the page I was on previously - from which I had sought help two clicks ago.

So I sought out the 'help and customer service' section, and came across a 'returns and refunds' page - and clicked on the 'replacements, exchanges and repairs' link.
Which took me to this page ...
 Which I had already been to on my tour of Amazon.co.uk [see above].

So it was back to the 'help and customer service', this time; 'about warranty repairs' - and clicked on a useful-looking link
Which took me back to ...
 ... to which I was now becoming a regular visitor.

So I tried a new tack, and found the 'returns policy' page. And there - a good way down the page was a line that said: 'if a product becomes defective after more than 30 days you won't be able to create a returns label using our returns support centre'.

I can't really repeat what I actually said, but it was along the line of, 'well you don't say - that information would have been jolly spiffing to have been told on one of my many visits to that 'returns support centre' page. 
So, thinking I was getting somewhere, I clicked on the 'contact us' link, and got this page [which doesn't look anything like a 'contact us' page to me].
But still ... I clicked on the 'returns and refunds' link, which took to I page where I was asked to identify the item, and when I did so the page showed a link I had seen before: 'return or replace item'. 
This is it I thought: result. 

Oh drat, I said when it took me to that old favourite ... 
So it was back to the returns policy - with the thought that Amazon were actually breaking the law by not providing a method of returning faulty goods. And there, hidden on the left was a little link that said; 'contact us'.
Which took me to this page ...
... for which there should have been a big sign - and link - way back on the second page I was directed to. Note to self: but there wasn't, I wonder why not?

Eventually, I clicked on the 'phone' contact button on the bottom, got a form on which I put my phone number, and immediately I was contacted.

But that is not the end of the story. The lady who rang was very helpful, but obviously in the Indian sub-continent. Now, I have many colleagues who do not originate from the UK. And far many more students who are classed as 'international' - so I am very used to 'interpreting' English spoken by people for whom it is not their first language. But I really struggled with her accent.

Anyhoo ... the upshot was that she arranged for the sat nav to be collected by a courier tomorrow and I would be refunded for it. So, result - I hope.

So if it was that easy for them to do, why isn't that 'phone back' facility made available - and obvious - on the returns page?

Oh ... and she never asked at any time what is wrong with the sat nav - and no where on the email I have been sent does it request that I say what is wrong with it [but I put a note in anyway, 'cos I'm helpful like that :-) ].

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