Parents angry at Amazon stuff-up
PARENTS have been left fuming after Amazon Australia cancelled their orders following a pricing stuff-up.
The online retailer told customers who had purchased bargain packs of nappies and baby wipes that the items had been listed under the wrong price.
Yin Wang, a father from Point Cook in Victoria, told news.com.au he ordered just under $100-worth of BabyLove Nappy Pants ($17 per pack of three) and Ultra Soft Baby Wipes ($4.50 per pack of six) for his two-year-old son Leon on December 29.
The order was confirmed and paid, but six days later, he received an email from Amazon saying it had been cancelled because the prices were wrong. The products are no longer available online.
He and wife Xueya Yao, 38, had been so pleased with the deal that they told friends at a local mothers' group, some of whom placed orders themselves.
When Mr Wang spoke to these friends, it emerged that some had received the goods at the discounted price, while five or six others had received the cancellation email.
The 40-year-old dad complained to the customer service department, but was told there was nothing that could be done.
"I thought Amazon really had some good bargains for Australian consumers," he said. "This morning, an email arrived my inbox, I was assuming it would be my delivery notice. However, it turns out Amazon cancelled my entire order.
"I'm not happy ... It's the first time I used Amazon - usually I shop at Woolies or on eBay.
"Unfortunately, my first experience is not that successful."
The complaint is more bad news for the retail giant, which has distinctly failed to impress Australian consumers since its launch last month.
The cancellation email from Amazon reads: "We recently discovered an error that caused the following item(s) to be displayed at an incorrect price. In this case, we're unable to offer these items for the incorrectly posted price. Therefore, we've cancelled your order(s) for these items, and you haven't been charged.
"To help make up for the inconvenience caused, we've applied a $20 Amazon.com.au gift card to your account. This amount will be applied to your next eligible order automatically without entering a claim code.
"At any given time, despite our best efforts, a small number of the millions of items on our site may be mispriced. We're very sorry for any disappointment this may cause."
While Amazon is within its rights under consumer law to do this, many Aussie retailers will honour an incorrect price as a gesture of goodwill. Mr Wang emailed the customer service department asking if it would do the same.
An agent expressed his "sincere apologies" and advised the customer to keep an eye on the website to see if the removed products came back into stock.
"I have also forwarded your complaint/feedback regarding the situation to the concerned department to let them know about your experiences and I'll make sure the appropriate people will take necessary action," read the email. "Should there be any further concerns, please get in touch with us and we will be glad to assist you further. Please be assured that we got your back in this.
"We hope to keep you as part of our valued customer base for a very long time. I hope you'll give us another opportunity to prove the quality of our service to you."
When Mr Wang replied to say he wasn't satisfied with the explanation, he received one more email from Amazon: "Please know that this situation was the result of a combination of technical and human errors, and that in no way did we intend for this to happen. I appreciate the admirable restraint you exercised in your message. My sincere apologies for the time you have spent dealing with this issue.
"I hope you give us an another chance to prove our services. I agree with your words that it's a Amazon fault. However, I don't have any other option to help you with this. If I would have an option I could definitely helped you. [sic]
"I appreciate your patience and understanding."
There is currently a three-pack of 80 BabyLove Gentle Wave Wipes on sale on Amazon for $8.79 and a pack of 32 BabyLove Walker Cosifit Nappies on sale at $15.39.
Mr Wang said he was used to a first-rate service from Australian retailers, and that most would have honoured the listed price or sent him another item for free. He said Woolies often offers half-price deals on these products, so the cost was not absurdly low.
As for the $20 Amazon voucher - he isn't sure if he wants to shop there again after his first experience was "definitely a no-no".
An Amazon spokesperson told news.com.au in a statement: "We're very sorry for any disappointment this cancellation may have caused. Despite our best efforts, with millions of items available on our website, unfortunately pricing errors can occur. In this instance we have cancelled the orders made at the incorrect price and applied a $20 Amazon.com.au gift card to affected customers."