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A Rant on Amazon’s Super Saver Shipping

Mostly to save my Tweeps from a half-dozen tweets venting my frustration.

I ordered a HDHomeRun networked tuner and a chunk of ethernet cable from Amazon on Friday morning, June 12. The tuner was ordered from Amazon proper; the cable from whichever of their providers had it the cheapest. I opted for Amazon’s super-saver free shipping, both to save the $6 and because I didn’t have enough $$$ on the gift card I was using to pay for shipping.

Additionally, I ordered a RAM upgrade for my Mac Mini from newegg.com on Tuesday evening, June 16. It came with free shipping.

Now, as to arrival times.

The network cable shipped the same day I ordered it, and arrived in the mail on the 16th. Snappy response, well done to the Amazon retailer.

The RAM shipped from Newegg on Wednesday June 17th, and arrived this morning via USPS. 5 days, including the weekend. Not bad.

Amazon finally got around to announcing that my tuner had shipped on the evening of Tuesday the 16th. So it took them three full business days to even get around to shipping it. And the USPS tracking number they gave me says that yes, they entered the tracking number into the system on the evening of the 16th. However, the arrival scan for the package doesn’t show up until the afternoon of June 19th. So between the time they boxed it up and the time they actually got it to USPS was another three business days.

Now they’re telling me that the anticipated delivery date to my home in Iowa (from, per the tracking info, someplace in Kentucky) is not until Thursday, June 25th – a full two weeks after I ordered it, and a full nine days after they told me it shipped. I know the USPS isn’t the fastest carrier, but hey, that’s just awful.

I have had better shipping service from Amazon in the past – maybe this is just a fluke. Or maybe it’s part of a strategy to dissuade customers from actually choosing their free shipping option. Either way, it’s pretty awful.

End rant. Carry on.

16 Comments

  1. I had the same thing happen. I ordered an insinkerator to replace my failed one. I ordered it more than 2 weeks before Memorial Day weekend, when my parents would have my daughter so I could have some uninterrupted plumbing time (uh, yay?).

    Finally, the Wednesday before Memorial Day weekend, I got a notice that it shipped. I called Amazon (well, went to a web form, and they called me).

    To be fair, the guy offered to order a new one, and they’d comp next day shipping on it (returning the superfluous one for a full refund).

    Instead, I just went to Home Depot and bought one, since the price difference wasn’t sufficiently large to risk. Got it, installed it, waited a week for the amazon one to show up, and then returned it for a refund.

    It kinda sucked.

    I too was VERY careful to order from Amazon itself, and not a sub-retailer.

    –Jason

  2. Travis Travis

    This is why I have Amazon Prime. The $80/annual fee it worth it to get free two-day shipping on everything and 3.99 overnight on every single item.

    • I did the trial period on Amazon Prime, but at the time just couldn’t justify the expense – didn’t order enough from Amazon. My wife has started purchasing more stuff from Amazon lately, though, so we should go back and reevaluate – might be worth it now.

    • Kari Kari

      Yep, we’re Amazon Prime fans, too. It ends up saving us a ton, since I would always tack extra items on so that I could get free shipping. AND there’s no tax, so as long as we plan ahead a little bit, we can get good prices on birthday and Christmas presents. Delivered to our door. In just a day or two.

  3. Haus Haus

    Thanks for posting your rant. Similar story here, a month later, and my delays mirror yours almost to the day. I ordered a headset July 13. Got a notification of shipment by USPS on July 15. July 20, USPS finally says “Electronic shipping info received” – meaning (based on my experience) they don’t even have the package yet. Tracking on Amazon shows “Arrival” at Location: “—” July 19 (Sunday). Hmmm. Amazon says delivery expected July 23.

    For free shipping, of course I expect a lower service class. But I agree with you that in the past it seems Amazon’s super saver shipping was faster than this. Perhaps they’re just really busy, or they’ve reduced staff in a weaker economy.

    Have to laugh at the Newegg thing – I used their free shipping option once, and from Whittier, CA to Northern CA (1 day by USPS or UPS), they managed to route the package through DHL and then the USPS with DHL’s new ultra-low-cost service, and I think it took 9 days to get here. I think it was RAM; a couple of bucks of postage would probably have been cheaper. Same thing happened with a cell phone battery from another online store a year ago.

  4. I use Amazon Prime, They still ship by any carrier including USPS and Ground services but only if the package can make it in 2 days or less. They also had used Next Day service just to make sure the package make the two days deadline. I make over 10 purchases a month at Amazon and never had an issue. I can even upgrade to next day for $2.99 or Saturday delivery for $6.99

  5. Craig Craig

    I think the whole Super Saver Shipping is designed to allow Amazon to show as the lowest shipped price in the shopping sites, yet be so slow as to dissuade anyone who has care at all about how fast it arrives from actually using it. It seems quite obvious that they intentionally delay the order processing. The same item with normal shipping will be shown to ship the same or next business day. With Super Saver Shipping, that same item won't even be shipped for 4 or 5 business days. At that point, their order tracking shows that USPS has been notified of the shipment, implying that it's in their hands; but I suspect that what's really happening is that the item is on a truck to a forwarding location where it is transferred to USPS, probably several days later.

    I'll NEVER use Super Saver Shipping again. It's the worst shipping ever, next to FedEx's horrible SmartPost disservice.

    • Craig Craig

      I just found out my radio, being shipped via Super Saver Shipping isn't really in the hands of USPS at all… it's in the hand of … oh my Lord… FedEx SmartPost. Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The tracking number shown as belonging to USPS on the Amazon website is either really FedEx's or jointly FedEx's and USPS's. SmartPost (how inappropriate is THAT name?) is a forwarding service, just as I suspected. So now, after 9 days, the radio is still in FedEx's warehouse in Earth City, MO. I'd demand a refund of my shipping costs if I'd paid anything for it.

      So, Amazon, stop besmirching the name of the United States Postal Service by claiming that a package is in their hands, when indeed it is in the slovenly hands of FedEx. Give me UPS door to door!!

  6. Amazon Shipping Stinks Amazon Shipping Stinks

    I just this past sunday placed an order for a used ipod touch for my daughter. I paid slightly more so i could get it from amazons warehouse and not a reseller. Log in monday afternoon…”not yet shipped”, logged in tuesday afternoon…”not yet shipped”. Then i remembered i had see this before the last time i took free shipping on amazon for some K cups. So i did like i did that time and sent a complaining email. Within an hour of the email my status changed to “shipping soon” and the purchase had finally posted to my account. A couple hours later i got a response stating the order was changed to 2 day shipping at no cost to me.

    I can see holding a bit on $30 worth of kcups, but i waited a week for it to ship hoping to get them so i had coffee that weekend. That order like this recent one shipped almost instantly after complaining about the overly long hold time. My beef this time isn’t so much with wait times, i wanted free shipping and they said 5-8 days vs 3-5 for paid…fine. The problem i have is they make it appear like it’s normal while they know it will sit for days before it ships then shipping time on top of that. They most certainly are not very clear and upfront as to what the free ship option actually means.

    To reaffirm other rumors, the first time they did mention the full load truck thing, but they didn’t this recent time. I pick free shipping because it’s there and saves me a few bucks, but it’s not saving me anything if i have to go through hoops or make other accommodations when i finally find out its going to be weeks or months for my order to arrive. Thats something amazon shoudl be clear about when your ordering. They would probably get more people to pick paid options by doing so then by what others suggest is a deceptive process to psychologically force people to pay next time.

    Screw you amazon, i got burned twice. As far as i’m concerned free super saver shipping doesn’t exist and will NEVER be part of my comparison pricing efforts.

  7. Jesse Jesse

    A few months ago I pre-ordered an album a few weeks in advance from Amazon for 9.99. I ordered it along with a few other items and chose the super saving option. The pre-order was shipped on the day the CD was formally released but it took 1-2 WEEKS to get here! Most annoying thing ever!

  8. Schmat Schmat

    Yes, sign up for Prime – Because we should all have to pay an annual fee for prompt processing?!? Super saver shipping used to be a strategy to get you to buy from amazon, rather than another retailer who was selling for less on Amazon. Generally, the processing time was the same, and shipment was the same. Not so much anymore. Now, you can expect an average of 5 FULL BUSINESS DAYS before they even process the order. Granted, then it enters the shipping channel, which is still usually prompt.

    This is NOT free shipping. Free shipping means you use an inexpensive method, but generally process within a reasonable time frame. Amazon is slipping, and generally trying to discourage use of the free shipping method, while giving the appearance of offering it. Buyer be warned.

  9. Ed Ed

    I’m also wondering if they are trying to discourage using the free shipping. Recently I tried ordering two items using the “one-click” ordering that I’ve used for years. However when went to review the order (to request the super saver shipping and change the quantity for one of the items) only one of the items was listed. The other item I had ordered was listed in my account as a separate order entirely. Since neither item individually cost enough for the free shipping, I couldn’t request it. However if they had been listed as part of one order the total would have been enough. This never used to happen. I’ve been buying from Amazon for years, and all the “one-click” items would always be there in one order. Could this be another recent tactic to make it more difficult to get the free shipping ?

  10. James James

    I think I have reached my last straw with Free Super Saver Shipping. I ordered a 320GB hard drive for my Xbox 360. I placed the order around 10:30 am MDT on July 23, and I received an email around 10pm MDT on July 25 that the hard drive shipped. I noticed that it was being shipped through FedEx Smartpost (I never heard of it before, but I have had good experiences with FedEx, so I wasn’t upset). After some research, it seems that Smartpost is not the same as regular FedEx. I live in Albuquerque, NM. My hard drive shipped from Phoenix, AZ. However, after two days the tracking info said the package had arrived in Denver, CO. This made ZERO sense to me! Albuquerque is almost exactly the halfway point between Phoenix and Denver via highway travel. How in the hell does Amazon save by shipping my package an additional 440 miles to Denver and back? Ineffecient and unnecessary. Now, Amazon’s prices on items are often significantly less than retail stores. I think I am going to purchase an Amazon Prime membership and will try to do the bulk of my shopping online. But all I know for now is that I am done with Super (Idiotic) Saver Shipping!

  11. Christina Lis Christina Lis

    I feel your pain…I ordered a book on 10/14 and got the shipping notification the next day…it’s 11/5 and I STILL haven’t received the book 🙁 Ridiculous to say the least.

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