Amazon (Canada): More stellar customer service

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Movies, Technology
April 22nd, 2013 • 1:42 pm

As a long-time customer of the Amazon (France), Amazon (US) and Amazon (Canada) web stores, I must say that I have always enjoyed stellar customer service, and my latest experience is no exception.

Back in December 2012, I took advantage of a special offer at to order a copy of Martin Scorcese’s Hugo on Blu-Ray that was available at a special price of $9.99. The discounted item happened to be a combo pack that included both the Blu-Ray and the DVD version of the movie. The availability line said “Usually ships in 1 to 2 months”, but I was not worried about that, as I was in no hurry to get the movie. I ordered another item with this one and was able to take advantage of the free shipping for orders above $25.

The other item was in stock, and so sent it to me within a few days, even though it meant that they would have to ship the two items separately, at additional cost to them. (They often do this even for orders with free shipping.)

After a couple of months, however, started sending me automatic messages saying, “We’re still trying to obtain the following item[s] you ordered…” and so on. Based on my past experience with such situations, sometimes it does indeed mean that they are still trying to get it and eventually they do, but sometimes it’s the first sign that there might be some problem with the availability of this particular item. In the past, I have had items like this on back order for a few months, with regular updates saying “We’re still trying…”, and then finally after six months or so I would receive a message saying, “Sorry, it looks like we won’t be able to get this…” and cancelling the remainder of the order. (Even if, without this missing item, the initial order didn’t qualify for free shipping, they don’t charge you anything else and just cancel the remainder of the order.)

In this case, I decided to wait another month or two. And then finally last week, after receiving yet another “We’re still trying…” message, I decided that it definitely didn’t look good for this particular item, especially since the page for the combo pack at now clearly indicated that this item was only available from third-party sellers.

I did find, however, that the Blu-Ray only version of the same movie was still readily available at, albeit at a slightly higher price of $14.99.

So I decided to try and contact Amazon’s customer service via the web site:

This is about the “Hugo (2011) Combo Pack (Blu Ray/ DVD /Digital Copy) [Blu-ray] [Blu-ray]” item that you’ve been trying to obtain and deliver for the past four months (order no ******). Your supply of this particular item has obviously run out and I suspect you will never get access to it again.

Since there is a “Hugo (Bilingual) [Blu-ray]” currently available and in stock at

couldn’t you just replace the item ordered by this replacement item and send me this one instead for the price specified on the original order ($9.99)? I don’t need the DVD version of the movie, only the Blu-ray. I only ordered this particular Blu-ray/DVD combo item at the time because it was the cheapest option available.

Please advise.


Within six hours, I had received a reply by e-mail saying:

Thanks for writing to us at

Per your request, I have swapped the ASIN of your item to (ASIN: B00ANB327Y) in your order and honoured the same price of $9.99.

And sure enough, within a couple of days, the item was shipped and I got an e-mail confirming the charge of $9.99 + tax for it. I received the package in the mail today and everything is in perfect order.

I honestly wouldn’t have been shocked if they had rejected my request and simply instructed me to order the Blu-Ray only version at $14.99 if I really wanted it. But they didn’t, and I for one really appreciate their flexibility and responsiveness. Of course, I have spent lots of money at Amazon over the years and it is possible that their customer service representative was able to see this history and decide that it was definitely worth accommodating my request in this particular case.

Nonetheless, I can also report that there have been several other situations in the past with the various Amazon stores that I shop at where they were just as accommodating. And this is something that, to me, is a strong incentive to continue shopping for books, movies and music at Amazon, even though I am perfectly aware that the picture is not entirely rosy, especially for warehouse employees working for such big on-line retailers.

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