Parcel service delivery agent scans code of an Amazon parcel Parcel service delivery agent scans code of an Amazon parcel  |  Image: Cineberg / Shuttestock

Amazon non-delivery problems

We are receiving more and more enquiries about delivery troubles with Amazon orders, which are basically about the same problem. Something seems to be going wrong with the so-called "geotracking" more often now. Online customers order goods but don't receive the order, even though parcel services had registered the order as delivered. Where such a parcel then disappeared to remains unclear. When customers finally object to the "delivered" status of the goods, Amazon does not want to be satisfied with a mere report to the police. They also demand a confirmation that the case will not be further processed by the police. Only - there is no such thing in Austria.

In such cases, the people concerned have ordered from Amazon but have not given the suppliers a drop-off authorisation. This means that a parcel should be personally handed over to the recipient (or a representative designated by the customer) in order to be considered correctly delivered. From a legal point of view, it is then not okay if delivery staff leave the parcel in front of the flat door in the stairwell, for example.

If the parcel is found like this, it's not so bad. However, the big trouble comes when customers whose parcels have disappeared finally discover in their customer account that the goods are marked with a "delivered" entry. And this is without the usual written notification from the parcel service as to where it could now be collected. Amazon does not always argue with geotracking when an alleged delivery is stated. In one case, it was curiously confirmed that the parcel had been deposited in the letterbox. The only thing was that the packed goods would not have fit inside. In another example, a third person had signed for the receipt. But nobody knew this person and the parcel was gone.

Amazon remains stubborn

Under these circumstances, delivery staff nevertheless reported to Amazon that the parcel had been properly delivered. When we intervene on behalf of the consumer, the online mail order giant does not believe the statement of the injured party. Instead, Amazon refers to the timed "geocode stamp" of the delivery location and to "information collected at the time of delivery" such as the weight of the package and the reported condition of the delivery.

Thus, Amazon is unwavering in its assumption of a correctly executed delivery, and its support team demands proof of a police report from the customers for its action, with detailed specifications about information that would have to be included in the report.

If consumers play the game, file the police report and send it to Amazon, a final report on the police's closure of the case is also required. However, such a formal final report by the police does not exist in Austria. In one case before us, the police even confirmed in writing to a consumer that there was a report confirmation in Austria, but no other document. Even then, Amazon was not prepared to acknowledge the non-delivery and refund the money. Instead, Amazon continued to insist that the customer had to send the report of the discontinued investigation, which may exist in other countries. Our case handlers were not put off by such blanket answers from Amazon and eventually, after some back and forth, the unsuccessful order was refunded to those affected.

Cases become more frequent

At first we assumed it was an isolated case, but it did not remain that way. Unfortunately, other complaints with similar facts were received, so that there is a suspicion that customers are being made as difficult as possible in this bureaucratic way, and that there is a system in place. The effort involved with the notifications and the demanded documents certainly leads many people to prefer to avoid such a gauntlet and rather accept the loss.

Pictogram about "Order with Amazon"

Order with Amazon

What to do?

According to § 7b of the Consumer Protection Act, a trader bears the risk for shipped goods. If the goods are damaged or lost on their way to the customer, the entrepreneur may not claim the damage from the consumer. The risk of damage is only transferred to the consumer from the moment the goods are handed over to the recipient or to representatives authorised by the recipient.

Although Amazon claims that the goods were delivered, it has never been able to prove this - there was never, for example, a signature in which the consumer confirmed receipt of the goods. In our opinion, the ominous "geocode stamp" is not sufficient proof. In such cases, we recommend remaining persistent and clearly demanding evidence from Amazon for the delivery claim. If no correct delivery can be proven, in our opinion not even the requested police report would be necessary, as the mistake was obviously made by the delivery person. Since Amazon commissioned the parcel service, it is therefore Amazon's responsibility to solve the problem.

Links

Ö1 radio interview with ECC director Dr. Herrmann
https://oe1.orf.at/collection/582230

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