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A very long story of a simple Amazon deal and why Amazon is the best!

(İngilizce yazmaya alışık değilim ama bu hikayeyi mümkünse geniş kitlelere duyurmak istediğim için ingilizce yazmaya çalıştım.)

I've been long waiting for The Sopranos' Blu-Ray release. At last Amazon announced it few months ago. I first hesitated to buy it because I was afraid of my countrys problematic customs regulations.  I live in Turkey and a simple movie cd can be a pain in the ass once it is stucked at customs office; and yes even a simple movie cd can stuck at customs in my lonely and beautiful country.


At christmas period Amazon reduced the items price  down to $110 with a considerable standard shipping rate. I couldn't help myself buying it. I bought it on December 2nd, 2014 with expected delivery date of January 9th, 2015. Amazon has always been loyal to its delivery deadlines. But this time it did not came on  time. Amazon's chat agent insisted that it will arrive within 24 hours. But it did not...

On Jan 12, I  had another chat session with Amazon and the  agent told me that it will definitely arrive on Jan 21. He refunded the shipping cost for my bad experience even I did not asked for it. It was kind of Amazon but I wrote few sentences reproaching them for  the extended delivery date in the comments box  we always come up with after every chat session. I really did not expect it to be read or considered a bit. But I was wrong! I received a kind email from another Amazon representative. He was telling about Amazon's deadline policies and he refunded 20% of the item cost. It was a little shocking, I should admit.

The day came! On Jan 21 I got to my office and found a little paper which was from UKİM (customs division of our national post office PTT). It was briefly saying that there was an international despatch sent  to my name which had stucked at customs clearance. And yes it was The Sopranos Blu-Ray set, since I haven’t ordered anything else... But the claimed reason was much more awkward than anything I would expect. The little paper was saying that the package contains some drugs and I need a valid doctors prescription  to claim  the item.

UKİM gives just two simple phone numbers and they are unfortunately just simple phone numbers. They do not belong to  a call center, just few stuff answering two phone numbers. Turkey has a population of nearly 80 million people. Now you can imagine how much customs clearance cases there are to be solved and how much it is impossible to find the given phone number available at any time. They also give a single fax number to which they want someone to send the desired documents (in my case doctors prescription etc.) and nothing else.

But I was frustrated and I was decisive to reach UKİM… I called the phone numbers constantly for 3 hours. I had no chance to talk to a person. I wanted to inform Amazon about the situation. I described the chat agent my problem and asked whether there would be a mistake or not… The agent told me that there may occur such  problems and they are sending a replacement. I was shocked for second time! I thought that Amazon had already known that the package was sent wrong and now they replace it. Also the previous delay incident was because of that.

First, I was relieved… Amazon sent the replacement with fast priority shipping and the expected delivery date was Jan 28. But something was bothering me. I was feeling that the possibility of UKİM to make a mistake was much much higher than Amazon. And I wanted to hear the truth from UKİM. I tried to reach UKİM one more time. I called it for 1 more hour and by a great chance I reached a kind lady who listened to me and understood my problem.  She left to check the package and told me to hold the line  for about 10 minutes. 

She came back and told me that they are very sorry for the inconvenience but some person may have made a terrible mistake and accidentally tagged my package as a drug and they will soon send the item to me. This was a third shock wave! By looking at UKİMs business approach till that time, there was still a possibility that I would never receive the item. But what was going to happen now? Two Sopranos sets by paying for just one set? This was unethical for me! OK I am aware of the fact that Amazon wouldn’t go bankrupt for few dollars but this became my personal problem...

It was about one and a half hours after our last chat and it wasn’t late to inform Amazon about the situation. I told  the new random chat agent about the whole situation. I suggested to hold the replacement package for a while since the customs may send the item. The agent told me that  it is not a problem since I have already paid for one item and  if I receive both items  I can keep them both. This was fourth shockwave for me. Fifth shock wave was a  $5.00 promotion for my next amazon purchase which the agent gave me for my kindness to inform them. 

As a result I received my original order on Jan 28 and the replacement on Jan 29...

This is actually a bit long customer satisfaction story. There are two samples staying at opposite sides of customer satisfaction. There is Amazon which has extremely customer oriented policies. You can reach an Amazon representative at anytime. They just trust the customer. And there is our UKİM which itself a total problem. I can not figure out why we even have that separate department. It is nearly impossible to reach anyone at UKİM if you don’t go mad like me and call the phone numbers constantly for about 5 hours.

I guess this story can be directly used to point out both the best  and the worst case customer satisfaction.

P.S. I have been lately told that mostly does not ship items to Turkey just because of various customs clearance, lost packages problems... I hope Amazon will not globally apply this to Turkey in the future.


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