I'm sure bad experiences happen but compared to driving to the big box suburban wasteland to browse through a limited selection, Amazon is a godesend.
Last time I bought a router from them it was defective. I had to stand in line for over an hour. The clerk was surly and didn’t believe it was defective. Kept opening the box, pulling everything out, looking at all the pieces. Putting it all back. Over and over.
Then he didn’t said he couldn’t accept it because the receipt was ripped - which it was when the check-out person ripped it out of the register. He said they could take it back, but I wouldn’t be able to make any other returns.
I ended up asking for the manager who took another 15 minutes to arrive, argue and get it sorted.
The return took almost 2 hours. Absolutely crazy.
Still not quite as good as Costco or REI, but at least with BB I know I'm getting the good I actually purchased and not some cheap Chinese knockoff.
Here's a 1 TB microSD card . No such product legitimately exists , so it must be a data-destroying counterfeit.
4.5 stars, $80.
That one was easy to spot, but it's my understanding that pretty much every MacBook charger on Amazon is a kock-off counterfeit . They get the case perfect, but the electronics inside are a fire hazard .
I know that it’s not fair to expect customers to distinguish between legit and shady listings, but I consider this effectively a “do not buy this product” warning.
I checked every one of my SD cards when I learned about Amazon's problem with fakes... Turns out I'd bought two fake SanDisk cards. They looked and worked like the real ones but the serial numbers were invalid. Maybe they'd continue working fine, or maybe one day I'd lose 64GB of photos in the middle of a vacation... who knows?
Needless to say, that destroyed my in Amazon. How can they guarantee they aren't selling malicious IOT devices, counterfeit healthcare products, cheap kitchenware made of toxic materials, or even the products of slave labor?
That won't really help. There are prime-eligible counterfeits shipped from Amazon's warehouses due to the Fulfilled by Amazon program. Even buying from a known trustworthy seller is not enough, as Amazon commingles FBA/Prime-eligible inventory from multiple sellers of the same item:
Also: anything food-related that's by a major brand (like Oxo or Rubbermaid) I buy from a local store, as a lot of the Chinese Alibrands don't comply with FDA requirements but are advertised as if they were.
This was 2+ years ago and the last thing I will ever buy on amazon that uses electricity.
Looks like somebody being told by the manager not to accept returns or over return quota or something. Something shady definitely going on there... I never had such experience with local BB store, but I guess it depends a lot on local management.
Took 10 minutes. And even though I returned the opened XBox controller a few days after their return window, they gave me store credit.
I was a happy customer.
They screwed me over on a price match and I ended up getting the whole thing charged back.
BestBuy want to play games? I can play too.
Last few times I've had to return something to Best Buy, it's been pretty painless and quick. They know their competition is Amazon and one of its strengths is its return experience.
Most retail purchases can be returned via the credit card no problem.
For Amazon customers in the EU, GDPR is supposed to help with the "You simply will never know what you did that triggered them" part as they are required to explain what led them to close the account.
This is not typical at all.
The same sort of incentive can be found in a lot of places. There's a pretty niche but healthy market for aged companies, for example. So rather than winding down and dissolving your entity, you can make a few bucks by selling it. And rather than making a new company, you would just buy one of those dormant entities. With multiple incentives, one of the primary being that the established entity will have an aged enough paper trail to pass a lot of fraud checks and credit opportunities that a new entity couldn't.
Immediately thereafter you list a way you can get flagged through no fault of your own because a friend who was flagged shipped things your your address as a gift.
I don't want to have to establish a strong background of years of membership in order not to get treated like trash. I'm not interviewing for a job or a date I just want to give you my money for goods that aren't counterfeit.
When you have a large minority of fakes and problem shipments you are going to have outliers. People whom you shipped 5 fakes/broken stuff in a row.
Banning these people means that not only can I not trust you to sell me a legit good I can't trust you not to turn your back on me afterwards.
Now the fact that they sell fake crap and expect people not to use the return policy is obviously ridiculous. If you're going to continue selling fake crap, then you better be willing to allow people to return that fake crap without consequences. So I definitely agree with your point.
Separate AWS account won't necessarily save you - if they can connect the two by name, address, credit card, etc. they're at risk. If you've got a business, having it under the business name might do the trick, but that's still a risk.
Even when padding is put into a shipping box, often it's a rectangle or two of "air pillow" that doesn't come close to filling the free space. And/or some of the pillows are broken and deflated.
I've become concerned about how they will ship things.
And, with news of their apparent "kill accounts with too many returns" overreach or arbitrary-ness... Yes, ordering from Amazon is no longer a no-brainer.
(Not to mention the counterfeit problem; that, I myself mostly seem to have avoided by paying attention to the listed fulfillers. And the $150 billion versus temp employees who have to pee in bottles and collect benefits disparity.)
Sorry, I reiterate, occasionally in comments, because at this point, I believe bad PR is the only thing I can contribute to that has any impact.
Well, also, starting to make more of an effort to shop competitors, as pointed out in this comment thread. As to that, secure your payments process. For a while, that helped hold me to Amazon.
Kind of defeats the quick delivery convenience/reputation they are after.
Not that I feel sorry for them in anyway. Their stock mixing is basically fraud. The only thing that is more maddening are the corporate submissive boneheads that rise to the defense of the prime service whenever someone has a legitimate complaint.
It is reporting based on:
But that is behind a paywall.
I think Alibris is _especially_ wonderful from a seller's perspective. Their chat support is friendly and efficient, and does not seem to be an outsourced and overworked call center, but actual Alibris employees who can fix things.
I think you are being overly cautious. I've been buying with Amazon for many years and returned a bunch of stuff for various reasons, and only times I had issues were third-party vendors, but Amazon never objected or gave me any trouble with returns. Of course I guess if you actively abuse it they have some triggers, but I don't think honest use has high probability of triggering it.
As for terrible customer service, see the below for my reasons for cutting off Prime:
• Prime shipping is no longer certain to be two days.
• Those which are assured to arrive within two days don't always do so, but I never get a credit for that delay against my prime membership for a failure to meet their SLA even though I'm supposedly covered with some sort of guarantee.
• Prime shipping is no longer certain to source from Amazon warehouses.
• And worst of all: Amazon commingles Amazon-sourced with FBA merchandise. I've had numerous issues with counterfeits from "sold by Amazon" listings in the last two years because of this.
It is shocking how many times something that says `sold by Sony` or `Amazon` yet I press `inventory` on the menu that the extension injects into the product page and surprise, surprise, most of the stock is coming from FBA sellers.
imagine a more consumer-oriented extension that could list whether a given amazon product was likely to have commingled inventory or not - do you think this is possible?
Take a look at the information it displays:
Ignore the price bit, it normally shows the price right but there must be a minor transient issue right now.
But as you can see, Amazon claims the product is sold by Sony. However most of the sellers are not Sony.
As you said, having a customer-oriented variant of this functionality would be an amazing feature for a browser extension.
PS: Been reading HN for a while now. This is my first post.
What used to be a sure thing from Amazon, I now just think of as "maybe".
Having said that the crazy mess (tiny isles and disorganized) and $20 USB cables were Best Buy stores made me give up on them a long time ago. I've visited a few times recently to hopefully get a look at some laptops, but they always only had a collection off odd models and wonky specs.
Increasingly it feels like as a Prime subscriber I pay for shipping twice: once with my prime subscription, and a second time with the shipping cost built in to the price compared to other retailers. I ended up getting an equivalent item from Target, which ended up being cheaper even without "free" shipping.
I bought hangers, HANGERS, from Amazon, shipped and made by AmazonBasics, and they're "Arriving Aug 15 - Sep 21". Uhh? Well now I'm gonna have to go to the store anyway because I need hangers NOW not 5 damn years from now. Also how is it possible to have a whole MONTH for the expected delivery date?
The refunded me the pro-rated balance of my subscription when I cancelled a year or two ago.
You should pop by again and see if it's still the same. The last Best Buy I went to has massive aisle spacing and was highly organized. That doesn't mean I was easily able to find what I was looking for (headphones are scattered around different departments), but what you describe is not what I've seen lately.
Like other people have said, the only reason I go to Best Buy is because I need something right now. (Replace a failed hard drive, for example.) I don't expect to get the best buy; I'm paying for the convenience.
I rarely ever buy anything from Amazon now unless I don't mind when the product comes in, the price is competitive, and the product is not the sort of thing which is often counterfeited. Their Amazon Basics brand frequently satisfies these rules.
To be fair to them, I might have had one package stolen, perhaps by an employee of a carrier. I don't know what happened other than that delivery was claimed to occur but no package appeared. Amazon was kind enough to to resend that one.
I can recall one time where UPS told me to drive to their facility in north Austin to pick up a package. I told them that they were paid to deliver and I won't be doing that. I can recall another time where I got a door tag from USPS that told me to go to a particular post office to pick it up, and it wasn't there when I arrived.
The most annoying part is that I think no attempt was made to deliver a fraction of these packages. I often would not receive door tags, and I can recall one time where UPS claimed they attempted delivery but refused because I apparently was not there where I believe I likely was there. No door tag that time either. The UPS driver seemed irritated at me when they finally did deliver the package.
I can also vaguely recall at a previous apartment (also in Austin) having some problems where delivery was claimed to occur but did not actually occur. That problem stopped at some point.
Even before then, when I lived in the Washington DC area, I can recall having major problems with LaserShip, who would do last-mile delivery in the area. Amazon seemed dedicated to using LaserShip. I recall canceling Prime back then specifically because LaserShip was so bad, and then starting again when I moved and LaserShip was no longer an option. You can read horror stories online about LaserShip. I vaguely recall one instance where they left a package in the rain that made me look them up and not trust them any longer.
None of this is necessarily Amazon's fault. The vast majority of packages that I received were from Amazon, and I haven't had problems with others, however. Might be that the carriers figure Amazon packages are more valuable than other ones.
In contrast, I've had no problems receiving packages at work from Amazon, but my work doesn't want me to receive personal packages there and I don't have a car, so I can't take large packages from work.
I went to a brick and mortar store instead, bought the same product for the same price with a well-defined return policy. I ended up not being impressed with the sound and was able to return it without hassle.
For small items where out of pocket return shipping wouldn't be too expensive I'll go to Amazon, but for large items I'll stick to places with a local presence.
As far as items ordered directly from Amazon, I've found them to only give free return shipping if the item is broken or there's another issue that's Amazon's fault. They don't seem to give free return shipping if I just don't like the product. (At least that's how it is for my account. I've heard some of these policies are different for different account holders!)
I only buy either the business line of laptops from Dell or HP or I'll buy from the Microsoft Store - either online or physical store.
If you buy a “Microsoft Signature” device, you pay a small premium essentially for the manufacturer to agree not to install crap. You might (or might not) get the same from the manufacturer if you buy a “business” laptop. But it all cases, it’s the manufacturer installing whatever crap comes on your PC.
This isn't necessarily true. Some PCs are Best Buy specific models, with extra bloatware from Best Buy (in addition to the OEM bloatware from Dell / HP / Lenovo).
This also affects physical components sometimes. I remember from laptop shopping a few months ago, that the MSI GS63 Stealth laptop ships with a crappier screen specifically for the Best Buy model, where as most other models had a decent screen. This was done so that the Best Buy model would have an artificially-low price in comparison to online retailers.
1. Why would PC manufacturers de-value their own brand like this!?
2. It almost makes sense why Apple can get away with charging a premium. No mystery meat hardware/crapware regardless of retailer.
This explains the second part: it’s less that Apple charges a premium than that they don’t enter low-end segments. If you compare them to equivalent quality PCs (Surface, Signature edition, etc.) there’s not much of a difference.
Most business buyers understand this so I think the managers making those calls think of the consumer and business lines as almost separate brands, with the latter being both more profitable and longer term, and thus less likely to get nickel and dimed.
Buying the business line from Dell gets you better local support and no crapware.
P.S. Gateway still exists?
P.P.S. Wikipedia says Gateway is defunct. How long ago was this experience?
And then when you ask for one that hasn't been "prepared" they look at you like "why would you ever want that?" and when you insist, they'll apologize that they have none of that model in stock that haven't been prepared.
Gateway was bought by Acer and stop selling online and sells (sold?) exclusively through third party retailers.
Support was decent though. The hard drive crashed and I had to ship the entire computer back to them.
I prefer local stores for computers as well, since I know where they work and they know that I know where they work.
Notepad, the regular old command prompt, or IE is not generally considered "crapware". No matter how bad they are.
ETA: With a little research, I believe the primary hardware difference is SSD. SATA in Best Buy version, PCI-e in the Flip S.
As long as the SKU matches. A lot of products tend to have a Best Buy specific SKU which prevents you from price matching on amazon, because amazon doesn't sell the same exact product. I had this happen a few years ago when purchasing a router.
My television comes with a built-in DVR in most stores. But I got it at Fry's, so it has a special SKU and the DVR disabled so it can't be price matched.
If Best Buy doesn't price-match, some people will browse at the store and then buy online wherever it's cheapest.
Uhhh, you for sure will.
First - BB is very aggressive on getting this stuff from you cleanly, i.e. name, addy, phone number - so they can 'track you'.
Second - VISA/MC transactions will absolutely be used for that and they'll try to match up their in-store with online experiences. FYI - Visa/MC/Amex will literally sell your transaction data to almost anyone. I went in to do a deal with Amex, their only concern was selling us all sorts of your buying data.
But it's nice to get stuff 'same day' :)
You are correct with the credit card, they will most likely track you, but you have the option to use cash if you wish.
1. Not provide your email address
2. Pay in Cash
3. Don't give your home address
That is literally the only way you can't be tracked. But there are so many times you are prompted to provide that information:
* would you like a receipt to be sent to your email address?
* would you like to sign up for our debit card and get $40 in savings?
* would you like us to home deliver this free accessory which is unfortunately not in stock at this time?
You have to have Stallman level of rigor if you are serious about not being tracked.
I assume all credit card transactions are sold to third parties no matter the retailer. The only exceptions are large enough companies like Amazon/Google who are in enough categories that they can make more money using your information first party than they can by selling it. It's not that Amazon/Google respect your privacy more than other retailers, they're just sharing it with other departments instead of other orgs.
Any way to opt out of this? I try to opt out of all the sharing I can with my bank, but if it's being sold at the Visa/MC/Amex level, I'm skeptical that helps.
There was an article linked on HN last year which indicated that Google gets 80% of all card transactions. My guess is that it's more by now.
So even with Visa/MC/Amex - 'you are the product'.
Anyone want to tell me how that could happen?
In any case, I called Apple, and they said that the serial number on my headphones was a duplicate and sent me a new set. Range, battery life, and pairing with the legit model are now all great.
Or, a middleman unloaded, knowingly or unknowingly, a shipment of fake shit to Best Buy.
There are other benefits as well. A year ago, I was trying to decide between a 27" 1440p 16:9 144hz monitor vs. a 34" 1440p 21:9 100hz monitor. Microcenter made it super easy for me to just try out both and return one. I suppose I could've done this with Amazon but it wouldn't have been as straightforward. (I went with the latter, for what it's worth.)
Where are you that this is true? This is directly opposite of my experience. I genuinely can't remember the last time a Prime/2-day shipment was delayed. In fact, I'll routinely and deliberately pay a premium to purchase something via Amazon Prime (both within Amazon and across internet vendors) precisely because of the confidence I have in their shipping reliability. No one else comes close, frankly.
That said, in fact I don't tend to buy BestBuy-style products at Amazon very often, precisely because these things are available at competetive prices at retail. Amazon wins for things I don't feel like "shopping" for.
It happens all the time where I live. It's also not uncommon for my Prime packages to get totally lost by Amazon Logistics (I've never had that happen with another courier). At least now they automatically cancel those orders, I previously used to have to call them to tell them what to do when they lost my packages.
My favorite last experience was:
- Amazon saying a package was delivered, it was not since I was at the delivery location...
- Amazon sent me an e-mail the next day saying they were deeply sorry for losing my shipment (unprompted since I didn't report it lost yet) and they needed to contact me regarding refund or re-fufillment...
- Finally a "neighbor" a few streets over came by with my package the next day. So all in all a 4 day delivery experience instead of a 2 day one.
Anyway, I don't know what they changed up about their supply chain, but something is much less reliable than it used to be. My hunch is their move towards more usage of their own "contract driver" model rather than something like FedEx or UPS. But that's just speculation.
I find this experience interesting. Here in the UK amazon offers next day delivery (and in same cases, same day delivery), and often delivers next day even when they don't claim they will.
I have had problems with counterfeits though.
FedEx is hit and miss, depends on the contractor. One just stuffed a package in my mail box and marked it as delivered on my "Front Porch". My mail box is a mile away. Close, but no.
Amazon shipping - I hope it never expands to my area.
In reality, most of the time I don't care when exactly it will arrive, but for that one thing I do, it always is day late :).
The U.S. has next day and same-day delivery from Amazon, as well. It also has two-hour delivery in most cities.
But not every item is available in every delivery window. And not all delivery windows are available in all locations.
One of the advantages of living in a small country like the U.K. is that it's much easier to cover the whole territory. (U.S. is 40x larger than U.K., with 1/8th the density.)
Even though it's habitual for euro-HNers to compare themselves to the U.S., it's more often than not meaningless.
Do they usually have cameras at the face-level or just eye-in-the-sky cameras?
Never thought I'd be that glad to be in the habit of mobile data only (not that there aren't problems there too...)
Software is also pirated on Amazon/eBay-- everything from resold OEM licenses (sans disc) to hacked binaries (sans DRM).
I've been seeing a big uptick in this, as well.
When I asked support, they gave me a response about "we only guarantee two days shipping time". There's no guarantee on order-to-ship time, and I've seen it go from reliably a couple of hours to 2-3 days at times.
This is the competitive advantage that retailers without 3rd party sellers need to further emphasize
it’s also easy to do returns. walk in with product, leave with cash.
Also they can order products from other best buy’s, including geek squad certified open-box.
I like Amazon a lot but Best Buy is doing well for themselves in the new retail era (so far). In some ways, I think Walmart may be a bigger issue for Best Buy because they have a huge selection and a bigger physical footprint.
Anyway, as for physical brick-n-mortal presence, I just wished that I had Micro Center where I live, instead of Best Buy, though. MicroCenter has far more inventories, more interesting stuff (like Raspberry Pis in store) and better prices as well.
A lot of people don't have access to Apple Stores. There are twice as many Best Buy stores in the U.S. (1,001 vs. 500ish).
And unless you're super-nerd, or super-cheap, you aren't going to drop $1k on a phone online.
Also love BestBuy's work from home policy.
After getting a few counterfeit items from Amazon, I'm officially done with them when it comes to electronics.
I know this is a shitty solution (and to be honest, I've never had to do the same with Amazon) but it does help.
Anyway, there was a screwup with the reimbursement, and the one thing I'll give T-Mobile's customer service is that any time you contact them, they text a survey to you afterward, and if you express displeasure through the survey, man, they are all over that. You get a call back shortly after from someone in a department dedicated to fixing customer service issues.
I'm pretty sure it's the very first time that responding to one of those surveys wasn't a total waste of time. I really wish more companies handled it that way.
It sounded like the worst job in the world and it was unnerving how casually he described it as the natural order of things.
How much time do you end up waiting on hold?! Every time I had to deal with Verizon support it was a 30+ minute wait.
Someone expecting the antenna received shirts, someone expecting X received the antenna, someone expecting shirts received X, ....
On that note, it's tiring to read your experience.. I had better help from minuscule ebay sellers somewhere in China..
But really, as someone else pointed out, you should have charged back.
Ordered online, chose to pick up in store.
Drive 35 min to store
Pickup process takes 10-15 min
Drive 35 min home.
Left after dinner, was watching it that evening.
The only condition that would have prevented me from using this model would be traffic, as it could extend the trip by 60-90 minutes and would also increase my stress significantly.
Whereas Amazon would take 2-3 days (maybe more) and I'd be shitting bricks worrying about it getting damaged and being forced through the horrors of shipping a return.
A few days after delivery I noticed a red line running along the top of the screen. Contacted Amazon about replacement. There was some issue with doing a direct replacement so they had me purchase another TV and then refunded the cost.
Dude comes out and picks up busted TV, puts it in box. New dudes come out a few days later with new TV.
All of that is to say - it really wasn't a big deal to order it online. Shipping was still free. Also they took packaging material with them, so it was nice not having to deal with disposing of a gigantic box.
It sounds to me like he got pretty good service and avoided a lot of hassle by doing it through Amazon.
Did they schedule the delivery with you or did they just show up?
"Free" in that it came with your Prime membership which you paid for ;)
They end up paying quite a bit beyond that $100/year fee.
Since then I have bought more TVs for myself and helped friends and family who were reluctant to order online. No bad experience so far.
I saw a deal for a 48” Vizio TV on bestbuy.com for $206 (in 2016, this was a screaming deal). I ordered for in-store pickup. When I went to the store, I saw the TV was listed for sale at $400 or so, with no indication of a better price online.
So Best Buy makes tons of money off folks who wander in, while doing good volume on online sales with lower margins.
But like the original commenter, the thing I love about Best Buy (and other mortar and brick retailers) is the "I dont have to wait on shipping and lost orders" thing.
(we always pay taxes for online purchases, so taxes are a non-issue)
Sometimes, shipping issues are truly not Amazon's fault. Yet still they can impact us.
The other major difference is my "return anxiety". If I get home and my TV doesn't work, I hop back in the car and swap it for a new one (round trip maybe 2 hours).
For both of the TVs, Best Buy tried to sell me insurance. They used the "refuse to take no for an answer" tactic. In both cases I had to say, "if you say another word about the insurance I'm going to walk out." I really meant it, too.
Amazon's shipper lugged my TV up two flights of stairs to a 3rd floor apartment.
I do too but can we say "most" Americans? Are there any stats available on their customers?
I wonder, how many Americans have purchased at least one thing on Amazon? How many have in the past year? What's the average spend per customer per year?
"Most" is almost true if you only look at ecommerce.
"This year, the online shopping juggernaut will capture 49.1% of the market, according to eMarketer's latest forecast on the top 10 US ecommerce retailers, up from a 43.5% share last year. Amazon now controls nearly 5% of the total US retail market (online and offline)."
tl;dr: As of June 2017, 64% of American households had Amazon Prime. 43% of all American dollars spent online are spent at Amazon.
The 43% figure is more relevant, and that's 43% of a relatively small share of all consumer spending, with much of it being done by a small group of large Amazon customers.
So I don't think it's accurate to say most people buy a shitload of stuff from Amazon.
Comically shitloads are pretty cheap and are $210/ton (a big pickup kid) if you’re in New Hampshire . So pedantically, we’re all buying 10 shitloads.
You are claiming that Walmart's revenue is Amazon's. You misquoted.
Still a literal and figurative shitload for the average American household, but Acosta half as much as my original calculations.
"From Our Farm to Your Table" ... hopefully not the composted manure!