Sunday, December 23, 2007

DHL Doesn't Deliver

Yesterday I made the mistake of believing'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...


Anonymous said...

Having the same problem, order placed with Amazon last Sunday - all coming two day ship. For whatever reason, Amazon divides this few hundred dollar order into three units. The UPS unit arrives on time as promised. I am still waiting for the two DHL shipments. One unit was actually in NH where I live on Tuesday but for some reason got sent to Rhode Island. Both packages were in Rhode Island Saturday and described as out for delivery at 9 am. Have not received the packages - it is a long drive from Rhode Island. Tried to email my questions as the phone shut off on me as well. Email response was that I would receive a reply within two business days - after Xmas! Please tell me how to specify for Amazon not to use DHL.

Lanny said...

Shipping has become increasingly difficult for my work over the last year.

We stopped using UPS and went with Fed Ex due to problems with them. Fed Ex has now become VERY difficult to deal with when they blow a delivery.

On top of staggering costs, it seems that customer service has gone to way of the dodo.