It would be great if someone had numbers on how often Amazon logistics are late, as compared to third party services. If their logistics are indeed much more reliable, then I can understand where their policy is coming from. If a merchant wants to use a 3rd party service that is cheaper/faster but less reliable, that does seem like something the merchant should be penalized for. It all depends on their relative rates of reliability though.
Either way, the optics certainly don't seem to favor Amazon here. They may have to restructure their pricing and penalties, to avoid the perception of bias.
I suspect the drivers are given an impossible number of packages to deliver, and there’s a misalignment of incentives where everyone is better off pretending they delivered the package on time. It’s not hard to imagine how this situation would arise when the delivery company is also the merchant, and there’s a command from on high for everyone to get one-day delivery. If the package is marked as delivered, everyone up the chain makes their numbers. @bezos, are you paying attention?
Packages delivered by USPS, the country's national mail carrier, are often marked as delivered 1-2 days before they are actually delivered.
The first couple of times this happened to me, I stepped outside after seeing the delivery notification from Amazon, and got worried that someone had taken the package. But now I know it's a common issue due to the way USPS collects and displays data:
Anecdote time. A few weeks after moving here, someone rang every single apartment buzzer one-by-one at 2:30AM. AM!! I assumed the first was a mistake. The second made me get up. By the third, I was angrily making my way to the callbox. Before I could answer, I heard my neighbor angrily screaming into the phone. Turns out, it was an Amazon delivery driver who clearly had no way to make a delivery at that hour. I suspect they did the mark as delivered “trick”.
That wasn’t the only time this happened since I moved here either. It happened again but this time at 6:00AM. I was expecting a package that day, but certainly not at that hour.
I’m not angry at those delivery drivers. Their job has unrealistic expectations and low pay. What does anger me is how Amazon is abusing the worker pool to the point where people need to behave poorly to accomplish their jobs. It’s pushing Amazon’s inability to deliver onto society. That is pushing the limits of what is acceptable to the point where I’ve recently started reconsidering purchasing from Amazon anytime I shop online.
I agree with you about performance metrics being gamed, wouldn't surprise me.
I don't always get these pictures so I suspect it is Amazon spot checking their delivery people.
They don't need to avoid the perception of bias because they're free to run their marketplace however they want. They have absolutely no obligation to look out for anybody's interest except for their own.
But, FWIW, it totally makes sense for them to have different rules when the third party merchant fulfills orders. Amazon and merchants selling on their platform have different incentives. Amazon cares a lot about their customer experience and has an extremely long-term perspective on customer satisfaction. Many third party sellers are either 1) incompetent, or 2) actively malicious. As a result, Amazon has to structure incentives accordingly whenever they let a third party seller handle part of the customer interaction.
When you get as big as Amazon is, along with the cushy tax breaks and cozy relationship with government that go along with that size, your decisions and business practices need to come under closer scrutiny, the end.
On a slightly different topic, the fact that the seller said he was held to binding arbitration made me very sad. I am super excited for these bullshit "binding" arbitration clauses to get shot down in court, they need to go.
Funnily enough, I notice the same for intellectually dishonest comments that are _critical_ of big tech companies, or at least certain ones. It seems like the fact that you only notice one side of this dynamic is a bias _you_ should examine within yourself.
I'm sorry but this is not true. There are tons of labor laws, just to give one example, that depend on how many employees a company has.
Further, GP also claims that “being a monopoly” is the only scenario in which size matters, but monopoly power is not about overall company size — it’s about market dominance. You can be a (relatively) small company and still exert complete dominance in a market, and engage in anti-competitive behavior that will attract regulatory scrutiny.
That's only true if they don't wield monopoly power.
Personally, I think there's a very strong argument that they do.
It would be interesting to see to what extent courts agree.
For instance, Amazon holds a significant percentage of online book sales—and, in fact, of online retail sales in general; see one of the sibling comments for references.
See there's two points this comment can be coming from, the first one is as a legal statement, like they don't need to do it because legally speaking there is no way that they could be forced to run their marketplace any way but the way they want, and it seems like that is what you mean - but the fact that governments exist means that nobody is really free to run their market in any way they want. There are always restrictions. And if someone were to think otherwise I would wonder what led them to think that.
The second way is as a moral viewpoint, which is what your next sentence "They have absolutely no obligation to look out for anybody's interest except for their own." also implies (as obligations are often referred to in the context of morality, while in a legal context we requirements are more often referred to - at least in the vernacular).
So which is it? Do you believe there is no way they can be legally bound as to how they run their marketplace, or is it just that you believe there is no moral obligation as to how they should run it (or ethical obligation, I actually prefer the word ethical in this case).
This lawsuit is the equivalent of a consumer goods brand bitching and moaning because a supermarket imposes conditions on them if they want to get valuable shelf real estate.
Trying to acquire a monopoly via these practices is also not allowed.
More to the point, Amazon themselves use UPS/Fedex under the hood in addition to their own system. But they hold sellers responsible for using UPS/Fedex if it's late only when not using FBA.
Those numbers are for delivery speed. Not percentage of deliveries that are late relative to the date promised to customers when they made the purchase
VendorExpress was an initiative designed to get rid of 3P sellers and create a direct relationship with manufacturers. It sort of worked. The 3P sellers started pretending that they were manufacturers though. They recently sunset/sunsat/sunsetted that program.
The new program, OneVendor, will give Amazon a lot more control of who sells what and how. And their new Transparency program will eliminate a lot of the middle men playing the arbitrage game all together.
It's worth noting that most of the complaints against Amazon are from middlemen, scammers and arbitrageurs who make a living as leeches. When Amazon destroys their "business", they sue. While it's true that prices on Amazon are going up that's not necessarily a bad thing. You often have a situation where a manufacturer's items are leaking out into the Amazon ecosystem through arbitrageurs. When they finally take control of their own product listings they want to raise prices to parity with the rest of retail. The arbitrageurs lose. Amazon wins. The manufacturer wins. Traditional retail wins because Amazon is no longer undercutting them so deeply. And while the customer does lose, in a sense by paying more, the customer service is greatly increased.
Transparency isn't that new, over a year old by now. And it doesn't eliminate middle men since it requires the manufacturer to label all their products regardless of source.
I’m assuming you aren’t being sarcastic.
A one-day shipping ordeal could turn into a week. A two-day shipping will arrive past its "guaranteed" day for a solid 10-20% of all packages I get. And usually that guaranteed date will suddenly change on the day of. So you're expecting, and nothing gets there.
Basically, if you want to have a guaranteed delivery time on a package, do not use Amazon.
Sometimes they'll just outright lie, say the package is delivered, and it will show up in the next 48 hours.
But I dropped Prime a while back and stopped using them, and am still happy with that choice.
Haven't had that issue working from home but now everything seems to come UPS or USPS; I haven't had deliveries from Amazon drivers. Not sure why.
I feel like this is not unexpected. If on-time delivery is non-negotiable for Amazon then that will be built into the price.
Anyone who builds anything is trying to get permission to relax one constraint in order to facilitate another.