Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Amazon's Subscribe & Steal (your gift card) Progam: a review

anyone who knows me knows that if I could live at Amazon.com I would. on my former blog, I wrote too specific posts about my undying love for the online retailer here and here. well, like most things around here lately, things have changed.

since becoming a mother, I've realized the value of a dollar and how diapers and wipes and formula, and pretty much all things baby can be quite expensive. but I feared not, since I love Amazon, and more specifically their Subscribe Save program. To explain, their S&S program allows you to have subscriptions on certain items that are shipped on a monthly basis (or bi-monthly, etc.) with free shipping at a discounted rate. It's supposed to save you money, and it did when I first started using it.

Originally, any item you subscribed to you received 15% off the regular, one-time shipment price. That's how they reel you in. Somewhere along the way they changed it to a mere 5% off, UNLESS you ordered 5 (FIVE!) items in a month. THEN you got 15% off. Unless you keep an item from the old days on  your subscription list and are grandfathered in, then you get the new jipped rate of 5%. Enter Amazon Mom, a free program, so long as you are an Amazon Prime member, that gets you an additional 20% off diapers and wipes. But only diapers and wipes. Not formula, or any other baby necessary item.
It truly pains me to write such a skeptical and angry review of my beloved Amazon, but today was the last straw. I traded in a book of Dave's, for which Amazon gave us an $18 gift card. Pretty nice, eh? They put it on my account literally at 6:34AM this morning. I go in at 9:45AM, THIS MORNING, to buy something for Dave, and it was GONE. What!? Where did it go, you ask? Oh, Amazon took it upon themselves to apply it to my upcoming Subscribe and Save order TEN DAYS EARLY. Did they apply it to my entire order of 5 items? No, they took 1 item, took my gift card and applied it towards that (which was actually listed as being out of stock in the first place) without my knowledge. No big deal, I think, I will call Amazon because they are so amazing.

Except when I call, they tell me they cannot give me it back once the gift card has been applied already, even though they did it without my knowledge. Their only recourse is to tell me to cancel my items, which I won't even get to reorder, since they are out of stock. I tell them I won't do that, since it's their mistake. As a "one time courtesy" they will refund me my gift card once my items have been shipped from my order, which is who knows when, since they charged me for my order 2 weeks early.  Personally, I think this is extremely underhanded, due to the fact that they so clearly picked one item and not my entire order to begin processing. The Amazon staff person obviously had no idea there is outrage across the internet for this Amazon issue, because she told me it was a glitch. Not satisfied with her knowledge of the situation, I emailed Amazon additionally. This is the lame response:


I'm sorry for any inconvenience you have experienced.
Unfortunately, we don't have option to pay for a Subscribe & Save order without using account Gift card funds.
When shipping your Subscribe & Save orders, we always apply any Amazon.com Gift Card balances or eligible promotional codes already redeemed to your account before charging your credit card. I apologize for that.

You can find information about paying for Subscribe & Save orders here:

I've forwarded your message to appropriate department and I'll make sure the appropriate people in our company see your message to improve, as I know they'll want to read about your experience, so that this will not happen again in future.

It is always important for us to hear how customers react to all aspects of shopping at Amazon.com. Strong customer feedback like yours helps us continue to improve the selection and service we provide. We take this kind of information seriously as it is valuable to us in helping us to continue to improve our program.

We look forward to seeing you again soon. 

I'm not delusional in thinking I'm going to make a difference, or that my no longer using the S&S program is going to impact Amazon. But I'm pretty disappointed that such an amazing retailer would resort to such a sneaky and obviously consumer unfriendly practice. Why would anyone want to use their birthday gift on Amazon, only to have it applied towards their monthly shipment of toilet paper if they can't use it fast enough?

All this is to say, goodbye Amazon Subscribe & Save. This being the second time this has happened, I'm done. Your minuscule savings of 5% and your ambivalence towards my hard earned gift cards are no longer my concern. Shoppers beware.

No comments:

Post a Comment