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Friday, August 01, 2014

The Amazonian quest to find a lost ark.

This is the Redacted transcript of a letter I just sent to Amazon's press team, copying in an award-winning consumer champion from the Daily Mail.

Dear Sirs

 I hope you can help me with my query, not just because I am a journalist but also because I have asked my fellow journalist Tony Hetherington to look into this with a view to a story.

He is copied in above, as are my friends XXXX and XXXX XXXXX.

 Please let me preface this with two things: I love the concept of Amazon and, secondly, I must apologise because twice in a row when I have been live chatting with your colleagues, my iPad crashed and cut me off mid-flow. I would not have ended a conversation so abruptly so please pass on my apologies for that to Monica and Kamal.

The issue is this: XXXX and XXXX are in hospital with their baby daughter, who has a serious heart problem. Yet they still were lovely enough to think of me and send me a gift (probably card making craft) for my birthday.

On Wednesday I got home and saw a 'we tried to deliver' card on my doorstep from Amazon. I live in a house, address: (Full Address Given). The card came with a tracking number: (Tracking Number Given). The card said Amazon would try again tomorrow (meaning Thursday). The card explicitly states I can contact you for redelivery.

What it does not say is that only the sender can do this. Now I guessed it was from XXXX and XXXX. It could have been from anyone. How on earth can a recipient of a gift ever get their gift if a tracking number cannot be used by the recipient? System fail...

 That evening I chatted online with Monica, who said she could see the order and said she could help redirect it but I would have to provide XXXX's email and full postal address for security before she could allow me to request a redelivery to my place of work at XXXX. Just as I was sending her their address, the screen crashed and I could not get back into chat.

The next day there was no card from Amazon at home. I thought this was weird so I texted XXXX, even though I did not want to bother her while she was staying at the hospital while her baby is recovering. The husband texted me back: 'Amazon left it with 29a'

There is no 29a (our street name). Only a 27 and a 31. Both neighbours are lovely and would have given me the parcel, if they'd had it. Immediately alarm bells rang as there is a place half a mile or so up the road called 29, The Market, (our street name), with a different postcode of 1R something. This is a Family Choice corner shop run by a nice Indian family.

I immediately went online to chat with your helpdesk and got someone called Kamal, who completely went against everything that Monica had told me. In fact, he said there was no order from XXXX XXXX (which cannot be true), failed to acknowledge that the order had been totally misdelivered and did not apologise at all. He didn't let me finish my explanations and kept asking me questions, the answers to which I had already provided. Just as I was explaining that I had no order number as I was the recipient, the screen crashed again. Very irritating on both counts.

I took to twitter, hoping Amazon Help could arrange some email or phone correspondence that would not have to involve XXXX or XXXX at this time. No dice. They kept referring me to your online form

Thing is, I have tried this twice already and got nowhere with this, because I have no order number. I'm being sent round in circles, like a broken drone. (Did a drone deliver the parcel, by the way? Because that might explain a lot!).

Still no apology, by the way, or acknowledgement that your courier delivered my birthday present to the wrong address.

My husband and I did some research today. We went to 29 The Market, (our street name). We had to get a bus to get there. Evidently not at all near our house.

We spoke with Mr Kumar in the shop, who told us where 29a was. He said we would not like it 'as it is full of druggies and always getting raided'. He said 'if your parcel has gone there you will never get it back'. I saw the look in his eyes. It was the look of a man in fear of what lived above him. Evidently he has seen dark, terrible things. Unspeakable things. Things no shop owner should see.

I digress, however.

Well we went round the back, up some rickety stairs covered over with a corrugated iron roof. It looked like a derelict bordela's fire escape. I am glad my husband was with me, it was not safe. It was littered with filth, stank of old drugs and beer and cigarettes and only had half its windows intact.

It even had its door scarcely boarded up after what could either have been a raid or a drunkard deciding to make a cat flap with his foot. Indeed, the only redeeming feature about this place was a freshly minted cat shit on the side of the step.

Nobody answered our repeated knocking.

I enclose some photos of this drug-ridden residential souk to which I was led in my futile quest to find the parcel you lost.

Question one: Why would you come to the correct house on Wednesday but a completely different address on Thursday?

Question two: Why provide a tracking number and tell the recipient they can contact you to redirect, when they cannot do so without an order number?

Now I guessed it was XXXX and XXXX. Other people getting random parcels have no idea who sent it or how to get an order number. I also enclose a photo of the card which suggests I can redeliver by simply calling or contacting. This is apparently only true if you made the order. Not if you happen to have nice friends who send you birthday presents.

So we have reached an impasse.

1) I have no birthday present, because it has gone into an illegal Dusk til Dawn B&B and will never be seen again.
2) I have had to involve XXXX and XXXX on this quest, when really, their priority is their baby, not chasing up a parcel
3) I have had conflicting information from two of your help-desk staff and keep getting sent back to the same form where I will no doubt be told the same thing over and over like a Groundhog Day for the technological age.
4) I have had no acknowledgement or apology.

Therefore, please may I suggest the following is not unreasonable given the circumstances and the fact the error of misdelivery lies with you.
1) Please refund the delivery charge back to XXXX and XXXX for the lost parcel.
2) Please supply XXXX and XXXX with £75 worth of vouchers for themselves in compensation for the hassle and stress they have been put through at such a time. Please would you apologise to them? Thank you.
3) Please package up another exact same copy of that gift order, free of all charges and delivery fee, and deliver it to my place of work at the (Provided). Please deliver to that address w/c Monday 4 August.
4) Please consider how to amend your system to be fairer to the recipient of gifts, especially where the sender may be unknown.

You can verify this with XXXX and XXXX who are copied in. Thank you for your help in this matter. 

Mermaid of Moorgate (Full name and address provided)
Photos: 1) The door. Nosferatu, are you there? Yes but I am still tripping out.
2)Room with a view? Yes, and some poo, some litter, and some other weird stuff.
3) The roof terrace. Not quite the Kensington Roof Gardens.
4) My card delivered on the Wednesday, with tracking number. (Image was provided)