I’ve been ordering shit from Amazon for twenty years. I’m a Prime member and I own a quite frankly ridiculous number of books. I probably place orders with these guys 40-45 times a year, and the vast majority of the time everything is absolutely fine. I can think of one time where I’ve had major issues with them, and that one probably counted more as a comedy of errors than anyone being particularly malicious or ignorant.
Not so much, this one.
I need a bunch of books for this author expo I’m going to on Sunday. I have zero copies of Searching for Malumba and less than three each of Benevolence Archives, Vol. 3, Balremesh and other stories, and Benevolence Archives, Vol. 1.
I ordered new books– 29 of them, I think– on August 27. The original date range I was supposed to receive them in was the 9th to the 12th of November. I figured that was okay at first, since I’ve noticed CreateSpace orders often ship much earlier than they’re expected to. If it didn’t ship right away, I’d just pay more for shipping.
By the 2nd– last Friday– they hadn’t shipped yet. No big surprise, again; I just upgraded to two-day delivery and the system immediately updated that I’d have everything on the 7th– Wednesday, two days ago.
Wednesday night, I realized I didn’t have my books yet. In fact, I hadn’t even gotten a shipping notification. I’m normally more on the ball about this sort of shit, but you may remember an election Tuesday that sort of took up most of my mental energy. I called Amazon, who blamed my credit card being funny (not in a “you don’t have the money for this” sort of way, but in a “the charge didn’t go through and we don’t know why,” like it was a technical issue as opposed to a funds thing.) They told me to switch my payment method, I did, the person on the other end seemed pleased, and told me the books would ship Thursday and I’d have them Friday.
“Check back with us Thursday if they haven’t shipped yet,” she says. And I do so. And this time, I make certain to do a chat, because those have transcripts. This transcript has not been altered in any way other than an occasional note in italics and to change my name from my actual name to Luther.
Initial Question: I ordered 28 author copy books through whatever you’re calling CreateSpace on the 27th. On the 2nd they hadn’t shipped yet so I changed shipping to two-day, because I need them by Saturday at the latest. They said they’d arrive Wednesday (yesterday) and as of last night still hadn’t shipped. I spoke with someone at Customer Service who said my credit card was an issue (I hadn’t received notification of this from Amazon or my credit card company and wasn’t aware of it) and I changed the card. As of right now the books have still not shipped despite the delivery estimate still beginning yesterday. I need these books by the 10th at the very latest and would like confirmation that they have shipped or a date when they will.
02:09 PM PST Brenda(Amazon): Hello, my name is Brenda. I’m here to help you today. Thank you for being a Prime member.
02:09 PM PST Luther M. Siler: HI Brenda.
02:10 PM PST Brenda: I am sorry to hear about the late shipment of your order, I will help you out.
02:11 PM PST Luther M. Siler: Thank you. I’m not trying to be a jerk about this but the event I ordered the books for is the 11th, so I’m getting a bit concerned about it.
02:12 PM PST Brenda: OI understand your concern. Please allow me 2-3 minutes to check this for you.
02:12 PM PST Luther M. Siler: No problem; I’ll be here.
02:17 PM PST Brenda: Thank you for waiting, due to the initial issue, even after changing the payment information. This order is not processed. I see that you have not still been charge for it. I can cancel this order for you and place a new order using the link below and select the Saturday delivery. Please let me know the order number, I will waive off the shipping fee for you as an exception.
02:18 PM PST Luther M. Siler: Okay. Question for you: because these are author copies through Kindle Direct Publishing, they are print-on-demand. Can you verify that they’ve been printed? Or is it still possible to get them printed in time to get them shipped here Saturday?
02:19 PM PST Luther M. Siler: I can’t order them through those links because I need to order the author copies.
02:19 PM PST Brenda: I see that the one that you have order are paperback.
02:19 PM PST Luther M. Siler: That is correct. They are print author copies through what used to be CreateSpace until it got rolled into KDP.
02:20 PM PST Brenda: Let me check.
02:23 PM PST Brenda: As this book are order through Kindle direct publishing, A member of the team will need to assist you on this. Please hold while I transfer you.
02:24 PM PST Abdul(Amazon): Hello, my name is Abdul. Please give me a moment to review the previous correspondence.
02:25 PM PST Abdul: Thanks for waiting.
02:25 PM PST Luther M. Siler: Thank you.
02:25 PM PST Abdul: Just to confirm are you referring to Physical books?
02:25 PM PST Luther M. Siler: Yes. I’m trying to order author copies of books that I wrote because I have a convention this weekend and would like to sell them.
02:26 PM PST Abdul: I am sorry, You are wrong department. Let me connect you to a member of our Retail team. It will only take a moment.
02:27 PM PST Amal(Amazon): Hello, my name is Amal. Please give me a moment to review the previous correspondence.
02:27 PM PST Luther M. Siler: Sure.
02:29 PM PST Amal: I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t receive your package by the estimated delivery date.
Could you please share the order number?
02:29 PM PST Luther M. Siler: Just a moment, I need to look it back up.
02:30 PM PST Luther M. Siler: (blah blah blah number)
02:31 PM PST Amal: Thank you for providing the order number.
Do you mind waiting a few moments while I look into this for you?
02:31 PM PST Luther M. Siler: Sure.
02:33 PM PST Amal: Thank you for holding.
I’m very sorry about the delay in sending your order.
While looking into this, I found a problem that was preventing your order from shipping.
This is corrected now, and your order already entered shipping process.
Also, I’d like to get your order to you faster to help make up for the delay, so I’ve upgraded the shipping method . There’s no additional charge for this.
(Luther edit: note this. “your order already entered shipping process.” At this point the “Arriving Wednesday” thing disappears immediately from my screen and is replaced by November 9-12.)
02:35 PM PST Luther M. Siler: Okay. When I look at the Your Orders page, it currently says “Arriving Nov. 9- Nov 12.” I absolutely must have these books by Saturday, the 10th. I ordered them for an out of town event on the 11th. Will they be here by Saturday?
02:37 PM PST Amal: Yes, Since I’ve prioritized your issue, this package is expected to be delivered within this Saturday.
02:37 PM PST Luther M. Siler: Should I expect to see a shipping notification tonight, then?
02:38 PM PST Luther M. Siler: (I appreciate your help, by the way. I just want to make sure I’m clear about everything. Thank you.)
02:39 PM PST Amal: Yes, Once the order ship out you will get a confirmation email to your email address.
02:39 PM PST Luther M. Siler: And that should happen tonight?
02:40 PM PST Amal: Yes, the package will ship out within few hours and you will get this notification email.
02:40 PM PST Luther M. Siler: Okay. I will keep an eye out for it.
02:41 PM PST Amal: We really appreciate your patience and understanding in this matter.
Is there anything else I can do for you today?
02:41 PM PST Luther M. Siler: Not at the moment, no.
02:42 PM PST Amal: Please click on the “End chat” button at the upper right corner of this window.
02:42 PM PST Luther M. Siler: Thank you, sir
All good, right? I’m being polite, they appear to have solved my problem, check back in a few hours.
Note that the times are PST; I’m about three hours ahead of this.
Several hours later, I’ve not received a shipping notification. I try again. See if you can pinpoint the precise second I begin to have difficulty maintaining my calm:
Initial Question: I am trying to confirm that order number BLAH BLAH BLAH is going to ship in time to arrive at my home on or by Saturday the 10th. I have been in contact with customer service twice over the last two days about this and the gentleman I spoke with earlier today said to expect a shipping confirmation within a few hours. I have not received that confirmation.
07:01 PM PST madhavi(Amazon): Hello, my name is madhavi. I’m here to help you today.
07:01 PM PST Luther M. Siler: Hi, Madhavi.
07:02 PM PST madhavi: Severe weather caused damage to a sortation center on Friday evening. Deliveries associated with this facility are experiencing delays.
We apologize for the inconvenience and are working to quickly resolve this issue.
I’m sorry for the inconvenience you’ve experienced in this case.
07:03 PM PST Luther M. Siler: It’s Thursday.
So, almost a week ago?
07:04 PM PST madhavi: But still please try to understand, but still I can help you in expediting the shipping charges for you,
We certainly did not expect this to happen.Thank you for letting us know.
07:05 PM PST madhavi: I have escalated the issue to concerned depatment
07:05 PM PST Luther M. Siler: The issue isn’t the shipping charges. I placed this order on the 27th. I changed to faster shipping on the 2nd to ensure that the books were here by the 10th. I spoke with someone yesterday who blamed my credit card and someone earlier today who said that the books would ship within a few hours. No one mentioned a shipping center issue from last week.
07:06 PM PST Luther M. Siler: I don’t care about the charges. I am an author ordering author copies of my own book for an event on Sunday. I’m not trying to get a refund. I *need the books.*
The issue has already been escalated twice.
07:06 PM PST madhavi: I don’t want to make false statements.
07:07 PM PST Luther M. Siler: I spoke with someone named Amal earlier today. Are you able to see the transcript of that conversation?
07:08 PM PST madhavi: yes, Could you please wait for 2 minutes while I look in to this?
07:08 PM PST Luther M. Siler: Yes.
07:09 PM PST madhavi: Thank you for waiting.
07:10 PM PST madhavi: I have made a note to the respective department for you and you will receive the item by tomorrow.
07:11 PM PST madhavi: Is there anything else I can assist you with today?
07:12 PM PST Luther M. Siler: I’m not trying to be a jerk, Madhavi, and I know you’re doing your job and this isn’t your fault. But that’s exactly what Amal told me earlier. Did *he* set up the books to be delivered by Saturday like he said he did, or did you just now do it?
I’m not upset with you, but I am upset. This is the 3rd different reason I’ve been given for these books not being here yet.
07:14 PM PST madhavi: I totally understand your frustration, please give me a last chance to correct this, I am trying my best.
07:15 PM PST Luther M. Siler: All right. I will check back in again in the morning. Thank you for your time, I do appreciate it.
07:15 PM PST madhavi: You’re welcome. Is there anything else I can assist you with today?
07:15 PM PST Luther M. Siler: Not at the moment, no. Thank you.
07:16 PM PST madhavi: I will do my best to resolve this.
Thank you for contacting Amazon. We hope to see you again. Have a great rest of your day. Please click “End Chat” to close this window.
I wake up at 6:15 this morning, check my email, and nothing has changed. Round three! This is the point where it becomes abundantly clear that these motherfuckers have no idea at all what the hell they’re doing.
Initial Question: I placed an order for 28 CreateSpace/KDP Author Copies on the 27th of October. The original arrival date was Nov. 8-12. On the 2nd I switched the shipping to two-day to ensure I’d have them by the 10th which is now tomorrow. The arrival date was projected to be Wednesday the 7th. On the 7th they still had not even shipped. I have talked to multiple customer service reps over the last three days about these books; all have ensured me that they’ve escalated the issue and that I’d receive the books the next day. It is now the 9th and they have not shipped. I *must* have these books by tomorrow because I ordered them for an author expo on the 11th and without them I will not have stock to sell. I need to know if they are printed, why my card still hasn’t been charged, and if I am getting them by tomorrow or not.
03:29 AM PST Nandhini Devi(Amazon): Hello, my name is Nandhini Devi. I’m here to help you today.
03:29 AM PST Luther M. Siler: Hi, Nandhini.
03:30 AM PST Nandhini Devi: I’m so sorry about that.I’ll check and help you with this.
03:33 AM PST Nandhini Devi: I have checked and see that you have been placed multiple quantity for the same items. I see that the items are limited instock of our fulfilment centre.
We already forwarded this to our supplier team we are waiting to receive more item from the supplier.Once we get mote item from the supplier we will ship and send an update by email.
I see that the order delivery date is November 9, 2018 – Monday, November 12, 2018 .
03:33 AM PST Luther M. Siler: They’re POD CreateSpace books. I’ve made this clear to everyone I’ve talked to.
03:33 AM PST Nandhini Devi: The package will be ship and delivery on or before November 12, 2018 .
03:34 AM PST Luther M. Siler: I ordered them on the *27th*. They have had more than ample time to be printed by now.
03:35 AM PST Nandhini Devi: I do understand. We will ship and delivery the package as we given delivery date.
03:35 AM PST Luther M. Siler: So have the three people who all guaranteed me that they’d be here by Saturday lied to me, then?
03:36 AM PST Nandhini Devi: I’m so sorry the agent was given incorrect details. I’ll escalate this issue to our supervisor.
They’ll coach the agent.
03:36 AM PST Luther M. Siler: The first one blamed my credit card. The one from last night blamed weather damage at a distribution center. All three said they’d escalate the situation. You’re telling me ALL THREE lied to me?
03:36 AM PST Nandhini Devi: I assure that doesn’t happen again.
I’m so sorry about this.
03:37 AM PST Luther M. Siler: So I’ve paid for a hotel room and for a table at this expo and I’m going to have nothing to sell because Amazon couldn’t get me POD books that I ordered two weeks ago and upped the shipping speed for a week ago.
03:38 AM PST Nandhini Devi: We can able to ship and delivery the package as we promised date.If you prefer please try to buy a one quantity again with one day shipping method.I’ll waive off shipping cost. Other items will be delivered as soon as possible.
03:39 AM PST Luther M. Siler: I can’t do that because I’m buying author copies. Which I ALSO explained to previous customer service reps.
03:39 AM PST Nandhini Devi: Okay, let me check this for you.
03:41 AM PST Luther M. Siler: Again: I had several days where your website was telling me the books would arrive on Wednesday of this week and they *never shipped*. They appear to never even have been *printed* as far as any of you can tell me.
03:41 AM PST Nandhini Devi: Thanks for waiting.
03:42 AM PST Nandhini Devi: I’ll escalate this issue to our team.They’ll check and take action on this.
The order will be shipped soon.
Once the order ships we will send an update by email.
To make inconvenience, I;ll issue a $5 promotional credit.
03:42 AM PST Luther M. Siler: Is there someone on this team that I can talk to?
03:43 AM PST Luther M. Siler: You’re the third person in a row to tell me they were going to escalate it and nothing has happened.
03:43 AM PST Nandhini Devi: I’m so sorry we don’t have an option to transfer the internal team.We can able to transfer the chat to our supervisor.
03:44 AM PST Luther M. Siler: Please do that.
03:44 AM PST Nandhini Devi: Sure, I can surely transfer this chat to our supervisor, but they will explain you the same thing. Would you still want me to transfer this chat to our supervisor?
03:44 AM PST Luther M. Siler: Yes.
03:44 AM PST Nandhini Devi: Okay.
Please give me a minute.
03:45 AM PST Jason/Supervisor(Amazon): Hello, my name is Jason one of the Supervisor here in Amazon.com. Please give me a moment to review the previous correspondence.
03:48 AM PST Luther M. Siler: You should see multiple conversations with customer service reps over the past three days.
03:48 AM PST Jason/Supervisor: Thanks for the information. Please bear with me.
03:53 AM PST Jason/Supervisor: I’m sorry to keep you waiting. It’ll just be a moment longer.
03:54 AM PST Jason/Supervisor: Thanks for waiting and I’m sorry for the hold.
03:55 AM PST Jason/Supervisor: I’m sorry to hear that your order is not yet shipped. No worries, I will do my best to help you.
By hte way, thanks for being a Prime member.
03:58 AM PST Jason/Supervisor: As per checking here on our record, I’m afraid that we don’t have a stock yet for this Seller. I’m sorry for the inconvinience this caused you. The best option that we have here is, purchase it again directly to Amazon on the website to get the item.
03:59 AM PST Luther M. Siler: How is it possible that these books, which I ordered on the 27th, never even got printed?
04:00 AM PST Luther M. Siler: I can reorder them from the regular site, but if I do that, they’ll be much more expensive and then you’ll owe me royalties for them. These are, again, *my* books. I got 28 books for $108 because I’m ordering author copies. It will cost much much more than that if I order them straight from the site.
04:00 AM PST Jason/Supervisor: I’m afraid that the Seller don’t have it in stock and I don’t want to speculate when it will be.
04:01 AM PST Luther M. Siler: Jason, do you actually know what createspace is?
You keep talking about “the seller” like you guys aren’t the seller.
04:03 AM PST Jason/Supervisor: I’m sorry for the confusion. Amazon is like a Mall and we are allowing Sellers or Merchants to Sell their items and the inventory is coming from them. Amazon is the owner. To make things righ here, you may consider on ordering them and will process you a refund for the difference. I’m sorry for the information provided by the previous representatives.
04:03 AM PST Luther M. Siler: YOU ARE THE SELLER, JASON. AMAZON PRINTS MY BOOKS. PLEASE ESCALATE ME TO SOMEONE WHO KNOWS HOW KDP AND CREATESPACE WORKS. THIS IS NOT A THIRD PARTY ISSUE.
04:04 AM PST Jason/Supervisor: We only fulfilled the items Luther, however, the inventory of the items are coming from a Seller. Please do understand.
04:04 AM PST Luther M. Siler: There’s currently not even a one-day option on these books any longer, because you guys have been lying to me for so long.
04:05 AM PST Luther M. Siler: So “Amazon Digital Services, Inc.” isn’t Amazon? That’s what you’re telling me?
04:06 AM PST Luther M. Siler: You guys BOUGHT CreateSpace. You just folded it in under KDP a couple of months ago. YOU ARE THE SELLER.
04:06 AM PST Jason/Supervisor: If I relate it to myself, I can completely understand how frustrating the situation can be when something like this happens. Please accept our sincere apologies to what happened. The items on this order is sold by “MOD Non-Retail.” The one on the website now is coming from us.
04:07 AM PST Jason/Supervisor: Please place the items on the website and I will process the difference once the item ships out.
04:11 AM PST Jason/Supervisor: I hope we are still connected Luther?
04:12 AM PST Luther M. Siler: We are
Right now I’m at $206.77 for the order and it won’t even let me add one of the books.
04:12 AM PST Jason/Supervisor: May I ask for the name of the book, please?
04:12 AM PST Luther M. Siler: Searching for Malumba.
04:13 AM PST Luther M. Siler: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0990625370/
I need five copies of that one.
04:13 AM PST Jason/Supervisor: I understand. Thanks. Please check this link : https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0990625370/ref=olp_f_primeEligible?ie=UTF8&qid=&sr=&f_new=true&f_primeEligible=true
04:14 AM PST Luther M. Siler: Jason, it’s becoming clearer by the second that you don’t understand the issue here.
I am the author of these books. I wrote them.
04:15 AM PST Luther M. Siler: I know where every single copy Amazon ever sold has gone.
“Endless Quest” does not have any of my books. They are POD through CreateSpace.
04:16 AM PST Luther M. Siler: I ordered these books two weeks ago. You guys never charged my card, guaranteed me arrival on Wednesday, which is now two days ago, never shipped the books, and I’ve had three customer service reps in a row guarantee me escalation and shipping, none of which apparently ever happened.
You’re trying to blame a third-party seller for books that are created and printed THROUGH AMAZON and have no third-party seller.
04:17 AM PST Luther M. Siler: I had someone yesterday blame weather-related damage at a fulfillment center, something no one else has mentioned.
The first person blamed my credit card.
Is there any reason that I shouldn’t take printing of my books to Ingram Spark from here on out?
04:17 AM PST Jason/Supervisor: I’m sorry for the confusion. The original order delivery date is Thursday, November 8, 2018 up until Monday, November 12, 2018. We are only charging you once the order ships out. There is no problem with the card, the only problem here is stocks for the items.
04:18 AM PST Luther M. Siler: And when I changed shipping on the 2nd, why did that not get the books any faster?
And why was I told on Wednesday that my card was the issue? She had me change the card I was paying with and said that fixed the problem.
04:20 AM PST Luther M. Siler: The person I spoke to last night promised me the books would be here *today*.
I have a transcript of that conversation.
04:20 AM PST Jason/Supervisor: Our Shipping method only starts once the item ships out and not the time the order was placed. And also it depends on the availability of the items. We do have copy here, I’m sorry for the information provided by the previous representative.
04:22 AM PST Jason/Supervisor: As I can see here, the availability of the items are “Usually ships in 8 days.” I’m afraid that I don’t have the exact information when the stocks will be coming. However, the delivery date provided is still active that you will received it up until Monday.
04:23 AM PST Luther M. Siler: Monday does me no good at all, Jason.
I need to go. I’ve been sitting here for an hour and I need to get my son up and get to work.
04:24 AM PST Luther M. Siler: I am *very* disappointed with Amazon right now. You guys have been lying to me for several days and your reps don’t understand how your own services work.
04:25 AM PST Jason/Supervisor: I understand. I’m sorry about what happened Luther. This is not our intention. My colleague submitted a report to what happened and we are going to make sure this will be prevented.
04:25 AM PST Luther M. Siler: Eight days from the 27th still gave you plenty of time to get those books shipped. They never even got printed. That is NOT acceptable.
Especially since I escalated the shipping speed.
I need to go. I will be moving future printing of my books to another company.
I spent some time on the KDP forums today and they are full of people who are pissed because Amazon is doing such a shitty job– a noticeably shittier job than the company they just absorbed– getting author copies to authors. And it is really clear, especially once I started talking with “Jason,” that the customer service people don’t have the vaguest idea what the hell Createspace was or KDP is, and the fucker decided to make shit worse by doubling down on his dumbassery rather than escalating me to someone who knew what the fuck they were talking about.
I’m gonna have to show up for this goddamn expo massively shorted on several of my books. That really pisses me off. And then I’m gonna have to move everything over to Ingram Spark, which is going to cost me money, but I can’t have this shit happening again.
God help them if this fucking box isn’t here by Monday, too.