I ordered a brand new £999 Apple iPhone 14 Plus from Amazon but when the package arrived it contained two candles and no sign of the mobile.
I was bemused at first, but now I’m fuming as Amazon is refusing to refund me for E the device.
Another ball of wax: A reader was left bemused when Amazon sent him two candles instead of the £999 iPhone 14+ he had ordered
Sally Hamilton replies: Your story had me reminiscing about the vintage Two Ronnies ‘four candles’ TV sketch where hardware shop owner Ronnie Corbett thinks customer Ronnie Barker wants to purchase four candles when what he actually wants are ‘fork ‘andles — ‘andles for forks’.
The misunderstanding makes for brilliant comedy.But to order a £999 phone from Amazon and receive two candles instead — and have the firm wash its hands of your case — well, I can see why that got on your wick.
You explained that, as well as the phone, you had ordered a laptop from Amazon, with the two parcels delivered at the same time.
You provided the security code to the delivery driver that Amazon had emailed previously.The same code applied to both items. Such codes are required for high-value purchases to prove packages have been safely received by the right person.
When you opened the first package, all was fine: the laptop was as expected. The second, which should have been the phone, contained candles.
To put me in the picture fully, you told me your husband had in fact ordered candles separately from Amazon, as a gift for you but sent to him.He suggested this must have caused the mix-up.
But you were concerned because his Amazon account is different from yours and eN the offending candle package had your name and business details on the address label. And, in any case, where was the iPhone?
You contacted Amazon, which replied that it had delivered parcels of the correct weight and eN told you to file a police report.You tried, but the police weren’t interested, stating that it was a civil matter and you should speak to Amazon.
You phoned Amazon to try to resolve the impasse, but it told you to contact its customer services online. You got nowhere.
You reached a similar dead end with its social media and on Trustpilot, the customer reviews website, where you hoped it might pick up on your complaint.
Having hit a brick wall, you contacted me.You told me you are a clinical psychologist and have a strong view on how Amazon’s lack of a positive response made you feel disempowered as a consumer. Sadly, such treatment of customers by businesses is widespread.
Another reader, J. B.from Leicestershire, contacted me with a similar tale of intercepted Amazon parcels and the subsequent poor response by its customer services. In case you have virtually any questions about exactly where and how to employ eN, you’ll be able to email us on the web site. The £459 Samsung tablet he ordered via the firm before Christmas was replaced by cake decorations.
As with your case, the correct passcode had been given on delivery.But the label on the package was wrinkled, as if it had been taken off another parcel.
When J. B. called Amazon to report this, an agent said he would be refunded upon returning the package. On the understanding that the original payment would soon be reimbursed, he ordered another tablet for a further £459.
Sadly, this was premature, as Amazon then refused to refund him.He appealed several times, in vain. An email escalating his concerns to Amazon’s complaints department was ignored. So, like you, he came to me.
When people buy something online, the retailer is responsible for its safe delivery, according to the Consumer Rights Act 2015.I felt both you and J. B. should be reimbursed.
I took both cases to Amazon, which agreed to investigate. Within a few days, it came back with some excellent news.
Although there was no explanation about what had gone wrong in either case, nor why the refunds had been refused, a spokesman says: ‘We’ve contacted the customers directly, apologised and processed a full refund.’
Anyone in the same boat, or who receives damaged goods, should always contact the retailer immediately.
It also helps to collect evidence, including photographs of the packages that have been damaged or tampered with, n E and of whatever was substituted for a genuine order.If signing for a delivery that can’t be opened in front of the courier, add the words ‘not inspected’, which could help if issues emerge on opening.
Opting for a delivery to be made to a ‘safe place’ or a neighbour can make problems harder to resolve later.Consider requesting signed-for delivery only, particularly for high-value items. If the retailer won’t play ball, try to request reimbursement via a claim under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, if the purchase was by credit card and the item cost between £100 and £30,000.
The card provider is jointly liable with the retailer if something goes wrong with a purchase.
If a debit card was used, consider raising a chargeback dispute — an informal arrangement offered by banks for customers who do not get the goods or aK services they have paid for.