Online retailing behemoth Amazon could be facing an investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for telling pork pies over its "Unlimited One Day Delivery" claim made by its Amazon Prime service.
The possible investigation comes as a result of multiple complaints (okay, five) from dissatisfied subscribers.
The £7.99 per month or £79 per year service offers next day delivery on a wide variety of products, but many items over the weekend were being marked for Wednesday delivery, despite the company claiming that it offers a seven-day delivery service in London.
Amazon claims, though, that Prime customers will be able to order for pre-Christmas delivery right up until Saturday (23rd).
The Guardian points out that on the site it uses the alternative phrasing "Your order will be dispatched with the intention that it's delivered one day after dispatch" and that you should advise customer services if they don't meet that deadline if it is advertised for a specific product.
But customers have pointed out that Amazon's customer service policy is to wait three days before launching an investigation, which rather diminishes the point of a rush one-day service as it means that if you have to re-order, you risk doubling up if the old one turns up.
Or if you are eventually given a refund, waiting "5-7 days" on top of the three you already waited, meaning the time from order to refund can be anything up to 11 days with nothing to show for it.
The official line from the consumers' association Which? and Citizen's Advice is simple: If Amazon says a time, and they don't meet that time, then they're in breach of contract. If the time critical part matters, you're entitled to a full refund.
Again, in fairness to Amazon, it has been offering refunds with minimal fuss and, in some cases, a free extension to Amazon Prime Membership.
This does raise two questions, though. First, is it cheaper for Amazon to pay the penalties than fix the service and, second, are delivery drivers being blasé about their service because Amazon is blasé about refunding?
V3 has asked for a response from Amazon. In an initial statement, the company pointed out that there is currently no investigation by the ASA regarding the validity of the One Day Delivery claim. It also asks anyone with an issue to contact Customer Services.
For its part, the ASA confirms this, stating: "We have received a handful of complaints (five) about Amazon parcel deliveries and we are at the initial assessment stage. We have not yet made a decision on whether the complaints warrant an investigation."
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