Amazon advise shutting up shop if you can’t deliver

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With more snow falling across the country today once again airports are closed and it’s likely that come Monday couriers and Royal Mail will be once again fighting to delivery parcels and letters on time.

Amazon have issued advice to their sellers on how to handle the disruption to their businesses, making it clear that it’s up to sellers to ensure parcels are delivered within buyer expectations.

They advise sellers to contact buyers about the status of any parcels which may be delayed and to be realistic about transit times as well as heeding courier’s advice on the effect of the weather. Should sellers feel that they can not meet Christmas delivery promises they suggest temporarily removing products from sale either by setting listings to inactive status, or by reducing available quantities to zero.

Amazon’s suggest to stop selling if you can’t meet your delivery promises goes much further than eBay, who simply suggest keeping buyers informed of any delays. Closing your business to sales due to the weather is something many online businesses would be reluctant to do. However staying open could result in a string of Amazon A-Z claims which would close your business permanently, so closing for a few days and missing out on the busiest selling days of the year may actually make sense.

75 Responses

  1. I have remained open and have simply stated in all listings and on the website that whilst dispatch is taking place normally UK customers must now expect any purchase made to arrive after Xmas and maybe not until 2011 at the earliest. Customers are to buy with these shipping expectations in mind.

    Whether this is the right or wrong approach is anybodies guess. Whatever, sales have slowed significantly in the last 2-3 days anyway so maybe Xmas buyers have given up buying online for this year.

    Not sure of course if Amazon have a feature that enables messages to be placed directly in listings so this could be a factor in any decision.

  2. I wonder if Amazon take their own advise and close themselves. My level of service is better than Amazons, I waited two weeks for a CD I ordered after Christmas this year in January 2010, no snow just along wait.

  3. The customer says;

    LISTEN, YOU, MATE, I paid you on Bl**DY time & I want my F**king Stuff, NOW….I don’t care a f**cking SH*T if the SNOW is 10 foot deep.
    I want IT NOW.

    DON@T think I will forget this, YOU STUPID SELLER, I will give you really bad feedback, I WANT THE STUFF NOW, NOT after XMAS.

    YOU STUPID SELLERS want to learn HOW TO RUN a BUSINESS, a little bit of snow & you’re all crying about not delivering MY STUFF

    I PAID FOR IT & WANT IT NOW.

    PS: I told the POSTMAN the same this morning, as they put him in the ambulance, after he slipped & broke his back, whilst walking up my UNSALTED path (the STUPID SH*T, should have been MORE CAREFUL).

    I PAID FOR IT & WANT IT NOW.

    PS: TO all MY BUYERS…….I would assist you with Royal Mail, but regretfully I am too far away to do much……Royal Mail won’t accept emails from the BAHAMAS & I am just about to go to the Bar for a G&T with the money you paid me.

    ANYWAY you only paid ecomony post so that’s what you get…

    HAPPY CHRISTMAS to you all…

    GERRY007 says: written as light hearted script/joke, so don’t take it to seriously (including any buyers that are reading it)…ha,ha…IT’S NICE & HOT HERE, Cheers.

  4. we just got a neutral buyer saying it took a long time, the silly bugger even said the weather may have been the cause in the comment.

  5. Setting listings to inactive status doesn’t stop orders coming through if it is already in their basket and then finally decide to pay. We have had our listing set to inactive for most of the week as we have been so busy with emails about items sent between 6th and 13th but have still received orders.

    As soon as a buyer opens a claim no help for them. As you have 5 days to respond to an A-to-Z Guarantee claim e-mail notification, I leave to the last day to respond and by then it is normally showing as delivered or is by the time Amazon look at it so the claim is rejected.

  6. We have had our Amazon and ebay Holiday setting on for two days now – the grief factor had reached a point were it outweighed any benefits.

    When there are more emails asking about delivery times and chasing up dispatched orders than sale orders then its time to call a halt.

    Hoping to reopen a few days before Christmas when delivery in time for Christmas just isn’t an option – perhaps Christmas eve – who knows.

  7. Last Christmas I was taking orders right up to Christmas(mainly for items the customer wanted flor themselves so did not mind if it arrived after Christmas). This year orders just about dried up completely. Trouble is this bad weather could last until the end of March. I doubt if any of us can afford to close for perhaps 3 months. After all while we are concerned about Christmas for Presents etc. But after Christmas many orders are for such as Birthday Presents and again they are wanted by a specific date and even if for the customer themselves many are not interested in our problems in getting them delivered.

  8. Take the orders, dispatch promptly, that’s all you can do (well apart from don’t use DHL, they’ve sucked most for us recently, that’s just packages received, we don’t ship via them anyway). Buyers who are blissfully unaware can enjoy their stress, once a package is dispatched there’s little or nothing the seller can do.

    The other thing, which one should always do anyway, is optimise the packaging for the contents, we get too many small items in big packages.

  9. Every buyer is a pleb , until they prove otherwise. Most are very brave via email, and would not kick-off half as much on the high street.

    Just don’t take it forgranted/assume you have a well ajusted reasonable buyer.

  10. Sunday Midday 19th December Just had a Delivery from a Courier. So it does appear as if some are trying although we do not have any snow around me although it is trying. I went out this morning to get my paper and in the next village(we do not have a shop in my Village) it was snowing but so far not here except for a couple of flakes. Date on Delivery Note 16th December from Manchester. So it can be done.

  11. If Amazon buyers would email me just once that would be ok, asking me over and over again were is their order is getting beyond a joke. Our 7 day average response time is showing at 7.8 hours but that clearly isn’t good enough for them, I’d be interested to know what Amazon’s response time is?

  12. Would love some help please!!!

    Ebay have removed special delivery from my listings (fully understand that) though they state expected delivery from me is 2-3 days!!!!!!!
    I cannot get through to ebay to ask how i change this.
    I am writing to each buyer offering a refund if they needed their item by xmas but said i will need to know before i post.
    We post items within 24 hrs of buying so i am so stressed out can anyone please for the love of Xmas advise me what to do?
    My email is [email protected] Thanks so much

  13. I also have written to every buyer who havent left feedback who bought in the last 2 weeks but i dont know what to do to correct expectations

  14. Dear eBay – please help us!

    You should definitely suspend Despatch DSRs for transactions through December. All the hard work sustaining eTSR could be undone by just two or three – I hate to say it, ignorant – buyers who, despite our most earnest efforts in pre and post-transaction communication, fail to see how two significant bouts of freezing weather and blanket snow should prevent them getting their item within one or two days.

    The couriers are really struggling, and even if the buyer purchases from an area hitherto unaffected by the snow, chances are the hubs en-route have been affected. Christmas or no Christmas, the courier system is a mess presently.

    I manage a category leading store and sales have been poor the last few weeks.

    Despite our best efforts and pre-emptive communication some buyers don’t seem to grasp that delays due to weather are beyond the couriers control, let alone ours!

    Essentially, will the seller is responsible for the transaction, we cannot be responsible for acts of God. Is nationwide blanket snow not such?

    Do the right thing eBay and help my blood pressure return to normal.

    Merry Xmas all!

  15. Dear eBay – please help us!

    You should definitely suspend Despatch DSRs for transactions through December. All the hard work sustaining eTSR could be undone by just two or three – I hate to say it, ignorant – buyers who, despite our most earnest efforts in pre and post-transaction communication, fail to see how two significant bouts of freezing weather and blanket snow should prevent them getting their item within one or two days.

    The couriers are really struggling, and even if the buyer purchases from an area hitherto unaffected by the snow, chances are the hubs en-route have been affected. Christmas or no Christmas, the courier system is a mess presently.

    I manage a category leading store and sales have been poor the last few weeks. Quite fortunate, in some ways!

    Despite our best efforts and pre-emptive communication some buyers don’t seem to grasp that delays due to weather are beyond the couriers control, let alone ours!

    Essentially, in my view, the seller is responsible for the transaction, we cannot be responsible for acts of God. Is nationwide blanket snow not such?

    Do the right thing eBay and help my blood pressure return to normal.

    Merry Xmas all!

  16. I think if anyone is buying from amazon or ebay during this time of year they should allow for delays anyway. Its the busiest time of year for post which could mean delays. As for the weather, this just adds to the problems. A delivery I had the other day from dhl was delivered to me at 8pm which was a bit late in the day, but they were trying their best to catch up due to the weather.
    My advice if you are buying at this time and in this weather is: dont be annoyed about a late delivery. If you order something, you may not receive it untill after xmas. Its just fact. Its not the seller’s fault, unless they have totally assured you that it will arrive in time. You should just think about the fact that you have left it late to order and you should go and buy from the shops instead to ensure you get it before xmas.
    If you are selling however: Yu should explain in your listing that due to the time of year and weather conditions, you can not guarantee when the item will arrive. But also keep the buyer informed of when you sent the item and if there is tracking etc. The more the buyer hears from you, the better. Communication is better than not hearing anything! I hope this helps.

  17. It really doesn’t matter a dot if you send an item 1st class, 2nd class, next day recorded or wrapped if shiny £10 notes. If the roads are closed it makes no difference other than to profits.

    Before placing our shops on holiday setting we sent the last few batches of goods 1st class, even though we state that we post 2nd class. I honestly didn’t expect the packets to be delivered any quicker, it was solely to try and reduce the moans and groans “If you had sent it first class it would have arrived in time….”

    I have tested 1st and 2nd class delivery times and there is no difference other than in the mind of the buyer.

    I have good mate who runs a post office and he has told me some horror stories about recorded next day mail arriving a week late (Because of the Snow).

    I thought I was a moaner, but blimey some of the grief we are getting about non delivery of goods makes Victor Mildew look like ‘Job’

    It really is a sad state of affairs when small business stop trading at the busiest time of the trading year because our transport infra structure cant cope.

  18. Well Amazon should listen to their own advice!!!

    A am a prime customer, live 45mins up the road from the warehouse. Ordered on Tuesday and still nothing, no reply to email telephone message says they can’t handle my call….helpful!

    I wonder how long we would be in business doing that…

  19. Those of you that have read any of my comments will know that I love a good moan about ebay and in particular Customer Support.

    Just received a Neg from a customer who seems to think that because they only live 10 miles away (As the crow flies) they should have received their goods regardless of the snow.

    I have emailed this customer several times, but they are bigger moaners than me.

    Well CREDIT to CS – Feedback removed after I spent sometime explaining the grief I have had.

    My experiences with CS haven’t always been so productive, but on this occasion I say a BIG Thank You.
    Blinking eck I’m saying Thank you to ebay (Never thought I’d be saying that!)

  20. You should all meet up together like the dead poets society and have a good old cry. Depressing reading some of these comments. Yes there are bad buyers but also bad sellers which no seller seems to admit.

  21. IMO, a large, or at least disproportionate number of ebay buyers feel they have the right to steal by lying with regards to delivery of their item/s.

    I know this for a fact, proven beyond all doubt and have evidence to support it.

    My evidence is that we sell a lot more via our websites, and I have only ever once had a buyer say that their item has not arrived via a website sale.

    Sales via eBay, INR is hitting around 2%, this goes up during certain seasonal periods.

    Why? eBays system of feedback, DSR’s, Paypals ever growing promotion of “buy now, pay never” mentality, constant messages to the buyer saying “remember to leave feedback, unless you have had a problem then remember to claim a refund”

    eBay does nothing to deter fraudulent actions by buyers. It may say they act on member reports etc but we all know this isn’t “generally” the case.

    eBay deals in what it says are “facts”, and in eBays eyes the facts are what the buyers says, end of story.

    I am not paranoid and I still sell a lot of items on eBay because it still maeks us money, it has taken a long time to not let the lying ba$tards get under my skin…and sometimes I still let rip on the odd message to a buyer but my advice would be to rise above it and so long as it is still making money, then carry on.

  22. This is the area of greatest concern ever for eBay sellers right now in the whole life of eBay.

    This is the worst shipping exerience for eBay sellers in the whole life of eBay.

    Odd that last year eBay made feedback concessions and this year they have not.

    The feedback from buyers here probably has the ebay management team patting themselves on the back for a job well done as their strategy of no concessions appears to be working.

    Every dog has their day and sellers have long memories.

    One word.

    Tesco.

  23. Just noticed on ebays announcements that VAT is going up to 17.5%. I could have sworn that it has been 17.5% for years and it was in fact going up to 20%. Perhaps the fact that ebay is a foreign company has caused them not to notice that in the UK the VAT is at a differant level than it is in say Luxembourg. Another point this time for the Government. When VAT went up to 17.5% it had previously been 15% and the 2.5% was supposed to be a temporary measure that as soon as they had raised so much money would be reversed. Can I ask when this is going to happen or is this yet another Governmental Terminalogical Inexactitude.

  24. vat is 15% in lux, perhaps it’s going up to 17.5%.

    Goverment has already said it will not go down again……Whoever is in Big Ben, do you honestly think they would put it down again.

  25. We all know vat will never go back down from 20%. We are all suckers who sit down and take it. We’ll never all take a stand against it. In another decade or 2 it will rise to 22.5%. The country earns more on 1 item than any other company involved in the chain. example…. Manufacturer produces a DVD. They manufacture for Warner Bros, so sell the dvd to WB and vat is paid at 17.5%. WB supply the dvd to a wholesaler so another 17.5% vat is paid, wholesaler supplies the dvd to a small business so another 17.5% vat is paid. The small business sells the DVD to a private individual and another 17.5% vat is paid.

    Now that is a lot of 17.5%’s

  26. VAT = VALUE ADDED TAX……Only the increased value (ie; the amount each buyer adds) is subject to the additioal VAT…
    That’e why there is imputs & outputs.

  27. Does this mean eBay are putting their fees up?

    Or are they aborbing the increase in VAT?

    Ebay seem to have removed the VAT announcement as it is no longer in the news section. VAT may be a sensative subject for eBay.

  28. Amazon telling my customers that they are entitled to a full refund if it has exceeded the delivery estimate is not exactly helpful. I wonder if they are giving refunds themselves.

  29. I ordered from Amazon on 17/12 with a 2-3 day delivery now my gifts will not arrive until the 29th and my accounts was debited today and I’m too skint to rebuy everything again what should i do?

  30. Cyanic that I am, it seems obvious to me, that if ebay allow buyers to hammer DSR’s than sellers will recieve smaller discounts on FVF’s and ebay will make greater profits from this quarter..

  31. We sell items both on ebay and Amazon, We sell stuff online, all orders are mailed out in the next Post but since the beginning of December 3 separate days mail has taken over 11 days to deliver, today is the 22nd and none of the 10th December’s mail has shown up at its destination.
    I got close to the root of the problem today, I got connected to Royal Mail, Managing Directors office today, whatever that is? and the unfortunate truth is to do with Royal Mail delivery targets.
    Any mail that may have suffered a delay, say due to weather and misses the target is then ignored while fresh mail that can meet their target is sorted.
    This enables their delivery targets to be met and all their delays are buried into mail that has already failed target. ( official – Royal Mail, Managing Directors Office this morning) therefore mail is not being sorted and delivered in order. During December I have 3 days mail that has took at least 11 days to arrive, 10th of Decembers mail still hasn’t been delivered, the same thing happened on isolated days during the recent postal strikes where deliveries of 2 weeks were evident. The mail is 2nd class PPI mail, which I am presuming takes about 2 days in the system, so this mail looks like it has sat around for 10 days or so. Whilst the 10th of Decembers hasn’t been delivered the 19th of December has. The guys out delivering in this weather have my sympathy, but not sorting mail and delivering it in order takes minimal organisation and makes fools of everyone outside the Royal Mail loop.
    A complaints Manager last Thursday all but confirmed the practice of doing the new mail and “pecking” at the backlog.
    I have already emailed my MP, I intend to find out the Minister in charge and I intend to campaign in the new year for the practice to be made public and for the 99% 2nd class delivery achievement to reflect the real situation.

  32. Amazon- Interesting Company – the most interesting bit is that you cannot rate them directly as a seller, so if they do not set their stall to holiday mode and many others do, it will increase their sales volume and if the product doesn’t get delivered then so what no comeuppance for them – A ‘friendly bunch’ whose only real interest is themselves. I’m not really fussed ref Amazon.

    I too was hoping that eBay would adjust DSR’s in regard the weather conditions, but if not and any adjustment to seller status (downwards) occurs (dsr’s neg, open cases etc) then of course the fee discount given will be less at a time when sales/fees are at their highest. A reasonable business model but only from an eBay point of view. I very much lik eBay.

    Buyers – Mostly reasonable, but are still in the’instant mode’. They buy something on line instantly, they pay instantly, the have confirmatory emails instantly, (Where is my item – should it not appear through my screen instantly?) – to be fair most buyers are reasonable, but there are a few who expect personal delivery by lear jet to the outer hebrides same day delivery, as long as they haven’t got to pay for it, cos if they do it needs to be quicker than that.

    Feedback – If you are a buyer try this one: NEGATIVE: Though you did nothing wrong, I am giving you this negative feedback to teach you that the universe is arbitrary and unfair.

    Happy Christmas

    Brian

  33. Cheeky gets at Royal Mail have sent me a letter today saying my mail bags are over 11KG, no they are not. Spend the time sorting and delivering not sending stupid letters to me.

  34. All of the problems caused that are not Gods work(ie the weather) is because of a non functioning marketplace. So in order of my least favourite people

    1. Ebay have introduced DSR’s in such an arbitary manner that I don’t really want anything to do with them. From nonsensical postage dsrs for free postage to only ever suspending them when the damage is done and the feedback is left. They are no longer worth while for me for large numbers of items. Ebay is a private company with a monopolistic position. I cannot leave them feedback.

    2. Unlike Ebay, Amazon are sellers and their performance can be judged. Some of my courier delivery items from Amazon have taken 3 weeks to be delivered during December. While I have no control over the post Amazon do have control over some courier deliveries. Yet I cannot rate them or even contact them without constantly writing a new email(cannot reply to E mail)
    When I sell through Amazon I can be left negative feedback for deliveries that do not arrive in 14 days even during this recent turbulent period and I can be forced to refund when its at least 90% sure the items will turn up. If I don’t get a pop I will pay for the loss as Royal Mail will refuse compensation despite the fact I spend hundreds of pounds with them. Amazon is a private company with a near monopolistic position. I cannot leave them feedback.(apart fom about the packaging thanks!)

    3. The Post Office will not guarantee delivery unless a premium is paid which costs more than many of the items I sent. They will not compensate me unless I get a pop for every item which can only be obtained from fewer and fewer number of outlets. During December they have taken 3 weeks or more to send me items AND deliver them. The Post Office is a public company in a monopolistic position. I cannot leave them feedback.

    At the end of the day its upto an individual, if how they earn their money is worthwhile or not, however none of the three above, which most of us need to make a living are genuinely operating in a competitive market and the results on our business are clear, it suffers. It would be very interesting in a (fantasy) world to see how they behaved if they had genuine competition or just subjected themselves(by way of feedback) to the same standards that at least two of them require of us. My New Years resolution is to build a competitor to one of them in 2011 or more likely just shut shop next year as soon as the first snow falls and only open up when its all gone!

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