What The Tech: Amazon Prime delivery delays

CHARLOTTE, NC — Billions of dollars worth of goods are in transit after Amazon’s annual Prime Day shopping event ended on Wednesday. For many Amazon Prime members who expect their orders to arrive quickly, that doesn’t always happen.

Prime members pay $139 a year for a subscription that promises discounts and free 2-day shipping. Most Amazon packages arrive within this window, but during Prime Days many shoppers find that their packages won’t arrive for 5 or more days.

For example, I bought an Amazon Echo Show 5. Once I put it in the cart, I see that it won’t be delivered for 3-6 months. Which give? Items that sell out, like this one, cannot be delivered or even shipped until Amazon has them in stock. According to Amazon’s policy, 3-6 month delivery still falls within the 2-day free delivery promise because the 2-day shipping clock does not start until it leaves the warehouse and is in the hands of the delivery company. So don’t expect any relief, but you can cancel this order at any time before it ships.

If a product is in stock and doesn’t arrive within the 2 day promise, you can ask and Amazon might try to make amends. Amazon policy doesn’t state it, but if you’re looking for Amazon’s delayed delivery, Amazon Prime customers can chat with a chat bot and plead their case. If you ordered the item for a gift and it didn’t arrive on time, explain it and ask the bot for help. You’ll probably chat with a real person at some point, and if you’re polite, you might get a little Amazon gift card as an apology. Many shoppers report receiving a one-month extension on their Prime membership after a package didn’t arrive on time.

Again, be polite. Since there’s nothing on Amazon’s website that says it’s obligated to offer you anything, a representative may be nice enough to add $3-5 to your account to make up for the delay or extend a one-month Prime subscription.

If an item needs to be shipped late or you don’t need it within 2 days, you’d better choose “No Rush Shipping”. You will receive $1 for each item ordered for a digital purchase such as a Kindle book or music.

Non-Amazon Prime members can get their shipping costs refunded if they don’t arrive when Amazon says. The policy does not specifically address delayed deliveries to Amazon Prime members and nowhere on an order does it say 2-day delivery is “guaranteed”.

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