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Anybody else totally had it with Amazon.com?

Asked by ETpro (34216 points ) February 13th, 2013

Being an eCommerce developer, I get to listen to the horror stories of small merchants who are constantly sucked into Amazon.com’s mighty jaws, sucked dry of their life blood, then spit out to die. Mom and pop shops can get some sales by listing their wares on Amazon. They pay a steep commission on sales that drains their profit margins to near zero, but they do move product.

As long as they do poorly, they remain safe from the insatiable, money-thirsty corporate beast that Amazon has become. But start showing some volume on a product, and Amazon figures out where the little guy is getting it, cuts a huge volume deal with the manufacturer, and offers it at a price the little guy can’t match without losing $$$ on every sale. Amazon has found a way to externalize the cost of all test marketing.

Right now I’m doing a website makeover for a small outfit in Alabama that sells optics for hunting and target practice. They get the Amazon bum’s rush all the time. They go to a gun show and spend 15 minutes talking to some guy about a piece of optics, what sort of rails are needed to mount it on the shopper’s gun, etc. Then right before their eyes, the guy pulls up Amazon on his Cell Phone and finds he can get the item from Amazon at below MAP. Amazon is big enough to get manufacturers to waive Minimum Advertised Price requirements. Try calling Amazon and getting a product clearly explained and demonstrated to you, though. You’ll never get past talking to robots.

The last straw for me came with a supplement I ordered. I got flat-out scammed. I ordered it in the beginning of December. Having heard nothing after 2 weeks, I contacted Amazon, and got an automated form email back telling me to contact the supplier directly. I did, and was told it had been shipped a few days back, and DHL had it in New England somewhere but couldn’t say where. Not to surprising, given that DHL suspended US operations 5 years ago. Needless to say, nothing ever arrived. After waiting a month, I contacted the supplier again and was told DHL had returned the shipment claiming my address didn’t exist. So they give me back the $5 or so purchase price but kept $6 shipping (via a company that no longer exists here to accept shipments).

When Amazon’s robot sent me an email asking me to review my shopping experience, I told the truth. I was not abusive. I used no foul language. I’ve submitted plenty of glowing reviews and all have been accepted. But on this first negative one, I got a notice back that my review was rejected because it did not meet Amazon’s writing standards. Apparently sellers collecting free money for doing nothing meets with Amazon’s approval, but a customer’s honest anger at being ripped of does not.

That email tells me that there is a human being somewhere in Amazon. It’s not all robots. A robot couldn’t have found my review objectionable because there were no trigger words or profanity in it. Perhaps humans work there only to shield the evil empire from customers, not to provide customer service or handle legitimate complaints. No worry, Amazon. I’ll never be a customer again, so you can lay off whatever humans you had around just to fend off humans like me. Maybe you can go entirely robotic and save the corporation Jeff Bezos’ $6.5 billion net worth. That should make your robots very happy.

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