Yesterday I made the mistake of believing Amazon.com's "Saturday delivery guaranteed for X amount extra" hype and ordered a last-minute gift (what or for whom, I'm not saying, since they might be reading). Amazon does a great job (with UPS's cooperation) of making their two-day delivery guarantees throughout the year, so I thought they would come through with this gift as well.
Then I found out they were using DHL.
There are delivery services... and there is DHL. I believe their name is derived from their primary method of moving freight: Donkey Hauling Luggage. I have had only a few really bad home delivery experiences... and all but two of them involve DHL. What makes that odd is that DHL only delivers about 5% of the packages I receive, and yet they account for about 90% of the delivery problems I have racked up over the years.
Imagine my surprise when the package didn't show up by three this afternoon, as I was told it would. I logged in, ran the tracking info... and the package was still in Ohio as of 2:27pm.
Called DHL. "Guaranteed Saturday deliver only means it's guaranteed if we get it there," the phone jockey explained. I asked for that to be repeated, and it was.
Wrap your head around those words. "We only gurantee it if we do it; if we fail, we don't guarantee it."
Called Amazon. "Oh. Well, we'll refund your extra costs for next-day delivery." I spent a little time explaining how inadequate this was; Amazon solicited my business with this Saturday guarantee, I ordered based on that, and they screwed up by hiring a known-problem delivery company. "Let me let you speak with a supervisor," the Amazon phone jockey said... and he then put me on hold.
For two hours and seven minutes.
Now bear in mind, I wasn't just sitting there holding the phone; I clicked over to speaker phone and worked on Comic Shop News, so I was doing what I would have been doing anyway. I actually forgot at one point that the phone was still on; after a while, the tinny droning recording blended with background noise. It wasn't until the phone began to beep, indicating the battery was dying, that I consciously realized that Amazon wasn't going to talk to me about this; I'd been "phone-dumped."
Thirty minutes later, I drove to the newly-opened Merchant's Walk Sears (a standalone store that harkens back to the Central Plaza area Sears that was a highlight of Rome shopping in my childhood) and bought the same gift for the same price. And when/if the DHL shipment shows up, I will be refusing it. I called Amazon and told them that, and listened to their apologies, and accepted their gift certificate to compensate for my inconvenience... but I reminded them that this was indeed their fault, not DHL's. DHL did exactly what DHL is famous for: they failed to deliver. Amazon knew that this was their reputation, and they hired them anyway. That makes this an Amazon failure, not a DHL failure.
I have told Amazon that, from here on, I will refuse all DHL shipments from Amazon, regardless of whether they arrive on time or not. I no longer accept DHL as a viable Amazon offer; the phone jockey told me that I wasn't the first to do this, and that they actually had an option that they don't advertise that allows customers to specify that a carrier can not be used.
Maybe if enough people make the same Amazon call I did, they can make Amazon realize that they're the ones who get customer-service fleas when they lie down with delivery dogs...