Saturday, March 27, 2010

Amazon's gone wrong

Amazon are replacing the Royal Mail with something worse. No, don't laugh. I'm serious.

When the postal strikes kicked off last year and Amazon muttered about taking its business elswhere, I got quite excited. I had visions of Amazon turning abandoned retail units into local pick-up points, or doing something really radical and... Amazony.

Instead, they've switched to The Home Delivery Network, a rather drab courier company. And already the two partners are barely on speaking terms.

The difference between HDNL and the post is that HDNL require a signature. Which means you have to be in. Although, HDNL claim that it's Amazon who are asking for the signature... or, if you ask Amazon, it's HDNL who want the signature.

This means that the Home Delivery Network isn't any use if you're not at Home. At the moment I'm working in a Shoreditch Web Barn (effort hair and posh coffee). No problem, say the Home Delivery network when I call them, of course we can deliver to your work address. Just email Amazon and they'll tell us. Simple.

ME: Can't you do that now? While I'm on the phone?

So (Esther Rantzen tone on), I try "emailing" Amazon. It's not easy. I rootle around their site. Turns out that Amazon are fairly adamant they can't change the delivery address. I'll have to contact the courier. I ring them again.

HDNL: No, you have to speak to Amazon.

I do. I find a phone number. A nice lady is very helpful. No, she can't change the address.

ME: So neither of you can change the address of this package?
AMAZON: Good point. I'll give them a call.

After *a lot* of hold music, Amazon lady tells me that they can't change the address as it's in the wrong depot. But I can always pick it up from the depot. The depot is in Essex.

ME: So there's no way for you to deliver this parcel to me?
AMAZON: *awkward pause* We can ask them to keep trying.

I ask Amazon why this isn't flagged up on their site - Royal Mail are a terrible organisation, but my local postman is lovely and should win an award for actually putting things through my letter box rather than leaving snitty "you were out" cards.

AMAZON: We do still use Royal Mail for some things.
ME: What?
AMAZON: Well, the system decides when you order.
ME: So the system can tell me when I'm ordering? And then I can decide whether or not I want to go ahead?
AMAZON: No.... I mean, there's a fifty-fifty chance.
ME: So what about small books and CDs?
AMAZON: Oh yes. Those will go via Royal Mail. Or Home Delivery Network.

So there you go. Amazon want you to go to Essex. Or stay at home.

This is a whiny dull post, but it's kind of sad when a brilliant company tries to solve a problem with a bigger problem.


Rob said...

Amazing. Home Delivery Network are the worst of the lot.

That said... The flatmate got an email off Amazon the other day with the general thrust that it was "good news" because they'd sent his parcel by CityLink.

It was hard to see in what way this could ever be construed as "good news". CityLink, frankly, suck.

But Amazon suck more if they randomly decide who you get and won't fix it.

Nimbos said...

It's true, HDNL are the pits and the Royal Mail recently closed the sorting depot 3-doors away from me to replace it with one a train ride away with a HUGE queue and short opening hours.

In better news, though, I used to have no end of trouble with Parcel Force - always ending having to pick-up from their "local" depot which is a train and two-bus-rides away in a Charlton industrial hell. Now, though, they have gotten into the habit of dropping any packages for me while I'm out at the local Post Office. Genius!

Skip said...

God, we're thrilingly middle-aged aren't we? But it's all true.

One of the lovely things is that my local postman is great, genuinely. ("Wouldn't fit through your letterbox, so i picked the lock on your catflap, popped it through then re-locked it") and the local depot is a two minute stroll.

The issue with these couriers is that the bit they shit up is the actual delivery - if they just had more depots and let people pop round to pick stuff up, then they'd be fine. Instead of which they seem to offer really good call centres and really terrible deliveries.

Lordie. Next post, I'll talk about mortgages, shall I?

Nairnski said...

I with you. I'd rather the parcel took a week to arrive and was left at my local sorting office. I know where that is - it's... local. Otherwise you have to trek to some god awful industrial estate for all the reasons you've explained above. Using courier companies which require a signature for everything is a 'taking my business elsewhere' offence in my book.

Skip said...

The last time I had anything to do wtih HDNL it was a Virgin Wines delivery which resulted in me being under house arrest for a week trying to get my sodding wine. Which I don't even drink. It was for a party which was long over by the time the wine was eventually delivered.

I foresee a grim future where we all e-work from home and daren't leave our bio-units for fear of missing a delivery.

Anonymous said...

I do like ur article~!!!..................................................


Darling, justx go to the shops.