Wednesday, December 21, 2011

3rd Party Shippers & Amazon: Stress That I Do Not Need During The Holidays

Tried to order a gift-card from Amazon last weekend. Got "assigned" a crappy third party shipper called "Ensenda" who are known failures at delivering packages, you know, on time. Surprise, surprise. They managed to be unable to deliver my package even though UPS & FedEx have managed to do so under similar circumstances before.

Attempted to file a negative review on Amazon & received a polite email informing me that Amazon could not post my review because it violated their guidelines. After careful review of guidelines, I realized that yes I did violate the guidelines. Now, I do not contest Amazon's right to have review guidelines. The problem is that the guidelines in question forbid discussion of shipping or packaging issues and my recommendation to buy elsewhere if you are assigned "Ensenda". Obviously, the latter is something Amazon would be opposed to and I wouldn't have any problem removing just that. Except, guess what, I have a shipping & packaging issue. So, clearly Amazon reviews are not the forum to air my grievance. Again, I do not think Amazon is in the wrong for this particular thing.

So, since I have this weblog, I decided that posting here was far preferable to editing the key portions of my dissatisfaction out of my review. I am going to post my review unaltered as I submitted it with the exception of Amazon header information which should probably not be used by me in this context.

2day shipping pointless if you use crappy 3rd party shipper

December 21, 2011
While you would think delivering a giftcard is a relatively straightforward affair, Amazon chose to out-source their delivery of my Christmas giftcard to notorious screw-up delivery service called "Ensenda". If you see this as a shipper for your Amazon sale, cancel immediately and order the item elsewhere!

I ordered 2 items to be sent to my workplace. One shipped UPS & I received with no problems. The gift-card shipped Ensenda and I have not received it. Ensenda attempting delivery to my workplace which was apparently quite baffling for them. They noted in their tracking information that "destination was closed". Yes, my office is closed at 7:30pm. HOWEVER, we have 24hr security and they are authorized to accept deliveries &/or sign for packages. Both UPS & FedEX routinely make after-hours deliveries to my office location with no problems whatsoever.

When I inquired with Security, they said that they do not turn away after hours deliveries and are able to sign for packages. Security provided logs showing no record of an attempted delivery at the time Ensenda stated the attempt was made. Now, my office is shutdown for the year and I highly doubt the package will ever be delivered, much less in time for Christmas. My only options are either tonight waiting in the cold by the apparently intimidating gate of our work property or re-ordering the gift-card in a printed format (that avoids this shipping fiasco) and eating the $40 I spent on this gift-card. Because the package is "en route" Amazon will not let me cancel the order.

In the future, I will avoid ordering physical goods from Amazon as long as Ensenda is a potential shipper (you won't know until the package is en route). The holidays are quite stressful enough without having to deal with Amazon hiring no-name shippers to deliver their packages.

PS - Amazon customer service gave the following excuse: "ENSENDA tracking information shows they attempted delivery on December 20, 2011 but couldn't leave your gift card unattended due to their delivery policies." How exactly is a delivery to a security guard considered "unattended"? If it's good enough for UPS & FedEx, why not Ensenda? And if a 3rd party shipper has more strenuous delivery requirements, shouldn't the customer be informed of that?

That's my super-negative review of Ensenda's performance. Again, I do not have a problem with Amazon guidelines on reviews preventing the posting of said review on their site. It's their site; they pay for the bandwidth so they get to make that call. Thankfully, I have the option (via this blog) to share my review anyway that way the key issue: 'Ensenda shipping sucks' is publicly shared.

My problem is with Amazon out-sourcing to 3rd party shippers with variable performance. I was not kidding about skipping orders of physical goods in the future. I am an Amazon Prime member, mainly for the benefits of 2-day shipping. If Amazon chooses to use a shipper which cannot deliver reliably in 2-days on specious and easily disprovable grounds, then what value-added am I getting from my Amazon prime membership?

Now, I went ahead and re-ordered a printable gift card. I did not get one initially because I think that they look cheap. But cheap-looking & physically present is far, far preferable to slightly less cheap-looking and completely unavailable for Christmas gift exchange. I do not have the time to lie in wait at a closed office for a delivery truck that may or may not show up. Again, I deliver to work address specifically because someone is always physically present to receive packages. In all my years of ordering from Amazon, I have never gotten a failure to deliver at work no matter the time of day. But again, that was with actual, professional shippers and not these Ensenda yahoos.

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