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Amazon customer experience

Original project: Diary
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Update: there is an update to this article, which can be found here. If you read the following, please read the updated one as well.

Prior to early 2021, I'd never used Amazon. Not because I didn't like them or anything like that, I just simply hadn't used it before. But I'd found an item with them that I was interested in, though it was out of my price range at the time. I bookmarked the page so as to come back to it some time later to see if I could start putting some money aside for it. It's a fairly expensive item, one I can't ordinarily afford.

I started saving back in early-2020 by putting a few dollars from my regular fortnightly pay aside. Over time, the item was gradually coming down in price. I'm assuming this was Amazon's pricing algorithm at work here. At the beginning of Feb 2021, I was only 1-2 pay slips away from being able to afford it.

I logged on at the beginning of the week, which at the time was about the 8th of February. I'm not sure if it was the Monday or Tuesday, but it was early in the week. I was starting to get excited because after giving up things to save money for it for as long as I had, I was only a short way off from being able to place my order.

Then, a couple of days later on the 11th of February, I got completely kicked in the guts. I loaded the page to find that the item had gone up by over 400%. 400%! So disheartened, I logged on to their chat to see if support were able to do anything to help out. They're a market place after all, so maybe they accept offers or can do something for the item in my cart, when I was willing to buy it for a price they already had listed it as.

One of the support crew asked if I had any evidence of this, like a screen shot. I was a bit put-off by this - who takes continued screen shots of any market place pricing!? I said I couldn't provide that, but I did have a list of dates with prices, which I had started to write down but then stopped because... why?

I provided support this list. I can tell you as I still have it, that these are the prices of the item and the date that it was this price:

Sunday 29th November, $3,400ish (this one only approximate)
Monday 30th November, $3,390.51
Wednesday 9th December, $3,345.92
Sunday 13th December, $3,297.91.

I haven't made these numbers up. With exceptions to the first one, which was only an approximate because I started recording the prices on the Monday and remembered the Sunday pricing was a little more, all the other prices are good.

Forward to a few days a go. I'm on with support and explaining to them that it would help me out greatly if they could add the item to my cart at one of the reduced prices. In short, they wouldn't do it and did the typical mantra of copy and pasting text and links saying they don't price match.

On a side note, I'm not sure why they would ask me for evidence. Why doesn't Amazon have a price history list for this reason? Or maybe it does but it just doesn't want you to see it. What kind of company like Amazon would not record this anyway? They track every data point available to them these days. I know, because it's part of what we have to do at work sometimes.

I left the chat so disheartened, because I had received no help. I got sent an email asking if the support I had received was helpful, to which I responded with no.

Now we get to today, 2 days later. I've been feeling so rotten because of this, that I thought I'd try and see if it was possible to find a cached version of the page to provide as evidence. And low and behold, I found one. Google to the rescue. I found a cached version of the page from the 5th of February, that clearly shows that not only was the price of the item significantly lower, but that everything I had said was true.

I've even taken a screen shot of this, because if the cached version disappears, which I'm sure it will, then there's probably no other public record of it happening. So I have a screen shot of the new price, and one from only a week ago. It clearly shows over a 400% price hike.

There was no argy-bargy with support, I didn't dig into them. I just wanted to explain to a human what happened, and was asking if someone could help out, instead of not giving a toss. At the end of the second lot of chat, before I could even write a response to say thanks, they closed the chat off and left me with a "Did I solve your problem" question. I don't know where Amazon gets their support crew from, but the two senior ones were just typical people who didn't want to care about the customer story. I also found it odd that one support member said they would put me through to the price matching support unit, when their site clearly says they don't price match.

Why do they even have price matching support, when they just send you a link that says Amazon doesn't price match!? Read it here: Amazon price matching.

Now, before anyone gets in a pickle and says "see, they don't price match", they just did what their company rules are. I wasn't asking for a price match. I wasn't looking at other sites and comparing prices between say, oh I dunno, eBay and Amazon. I was asking them if they could help out and amend the price of the item to what they had advertised only 2 days prior. It's no different from me going to my local market and haggling. This wasn't an item on a 25% sale or something - this was the items price.

I was also taken back when the last support told me they were a market place and this is the nature of the business. What do you mean by that? I can go to a market place here and haggle with the sellers - I thought you were a market place business? And you lifted the price by 400% in 2 days! What kind of market place does that!? Why is it, when you have an item that's for sale at a particular price one day, you won't match your own price only a few days later when you have a customer whose willing to buy your item?

I know my story in itself won't mean anything to anyone else, but I had given up quite a lot to put a few dollars aside each fortnight to be able to buy this item. And when I'm so close and at a price range I can almost afford, you then change it by 400%. I now have evidence of this, but you won't do the market place thing (like what your business is meant to be, right) and make a sale. Come on support, you useless bunch of people. Think about your customer.

For the record, here is what happened to the price and the dates:

Sunday 29th November, $3,400ish (approximate)
Monday 30th November, $3,390.51
Wednesday 9th December, $3,345.92
Sunday 13th December, $3,297.91
Friday 5th of February, $2,941.36
Thursday 11th of February, $13,141.00.

I note in the chat window, they claim "Your feedback is helping us build Earth's Most Customer-Centric Company". I don't know what a customer-centric company is meant to be these days, but in the case of a big company like Amazon, I doubt that includes helping people out or listening to their customer. Thanks for your "support" Amazon support.

You've left me feeling really disappointed with this experience. And, I now can't afford the item I'd been saving up for so long for.