Amazon India Will No Longer Offer Refunds on Mobile Phones

Amazon’s ability to offer impeccable customer service and a straightforward returns policy has made it a global leader in online shopping. This ensures consumers have a loyalty to Amazon’s store through peace-of-mind shopping. There’s even been situations when the company has honoured misprices which has cost them money in the short-term. However, the company’s management looks towards the larger picture and knows more money will be made via repeat or future purchases instead of an individual mistake. While this kind of returns policy is absolutely fantastic for the consumer, some users can abuse it and send back perfectly functional items on a regular basis. Admittedly, I’ve returned products because they haven’t met my expectations or I’ve change my mind. However, it’s important to find a balance and consider each purchase very carefully.

In the US and Europe, Amazon can charge a restocking fee depending on the item’s condition if it’s not faulty. Honestly, I haven’t really seen many situations where this applies, and Amazon staff tend to refund the full amount including shipping. This policy doesn’t apply in the Indian market, and reports indicate some customers have been abusing the refund policy quite badly. As a result of this, Amazon India will not longer accept any refunds on mobile phones, and only replace them if the item is faulty. The updated statement reads:

“All mobile phones that are fulfilled by Amazon, purchased on or after 7th February 2016, will have a replacement only policy. Mobile phone items that are fulfilled by Amazon will no longer be eligible for refunds,”

It’s a shame that the minority who abuse Amazon’s return policy has spoilt it for the rest. Also, this is a fairly strict line from Amazon and could deter users from using them in the future. It makes business sense though if the amount of people abusing the system is costing them a lot of money. Please remember that this only applies to the Indian store, and consumer protection in the UK, and Europe explicitly states that a refund must be offered even if the items don’t meet your expectations.

Amazon CEO Dismisses Criticism of Company’s Working Enviroment

Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon has strongly refuted claims by the New York Times which described Amazon’s working conditions as deplorable and could result in psychological breakdowns. For example, Bo Olson, who worked in books marketing said,

“Nearly every person I worked with, I saw cry at their desk.”

Bezos doesn’t recognise the portrayal of Amazon in the New York Times article and released a thorough statement to employees:

“Dear Amazonians,

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to give this (very long) New York Times article a careful read:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/16/technology/inside-amazon-wrestling-big-ideas-in-a-bruising-workplace.html

I also encourage you to read this very different take by a current Amazonian:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/amazonians-response-inside-amazon-wrestling-big-ideas-nick-ciubotariu

Here’s why I’m writing you. The NYT article prominently features anecdotes describing shockingly callous management practices, including people being treated without empathy while enduring family tragedies and serious health problems. The article doesn’t describe the Amazon I know or the caring Amazonians I work with every day. But if you know of any stories like those reported, I want you to escalate to HR. You can also email me directly at jeff@amazon.com. Even if it’s rare or isolated, our tolerance for any such lack of empathy needs to be zero.

The article goes further than reporting isolated anecdotes. It claims that our intentional approach is to create a soulless, dystopian workplace where no fun is had and no laughter heard. Again, I don’t recognize this Amazon and I very much hope you don’t, either. More broadly, I don’t think any company adopting the approach portrayed could survive, much less thrive, in today’s highly competitive tech hiring market. The people we hire here are the best of the best. You are recruited every day by other world-class companies, and you can work anywhere you want.

I strongly believe that anyone working in a company that really is like the one described in the NYT would be crazy to stay. I know I would leave such a company.

But hopefully, you don’t recognize the company described. Hopefully, you’re having fun working with a bunch of brilliant teammates, helping invent the future, and laughing along the way.

Thank you,

Jeff”

Now both sides of the story have been publicly revealed, it’s virtually impossible to know the inner workings of Amazon without becoming an employee. Although, a documentary from the BBC shows insider footage as an undercover journalist experiences the Amazon workload. I would highly recommend watching the video, despite its poor quality as it really is quite shocking.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4aRz7NqTOo

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information.

Tech Influence In Abandoned Shopping Malls

This may not be the typical tech story, but this links into a potential disaster which is sweeping the colossal shopping malls of the US.

Many years ago shopping malls were the quintessential symbol and a church to the excesses of consumerism. These glorified shopping centres stretched out over much square footage with the aim of offering consumers just about anything under one roof. But over the years, consumers have found it much easier to point and click on an item they wish to purchase online before having it delivered to their door.

The decline of shopping malls has been chronicled by a photographer by the name of Seth Lawless who has written a book entitled “Black Friday” This excellent photographer has included images which he has taken of abandoned shopping malls in the Rust Belt states of Ohio and Michigan. As the image below demonstrates, the desolate shopping malls are akin to games such as Bioshock and Fallout.

That same shopping mall has also been snapped in the midst of winter; the image looks beautiful but obviously answers the question of the stability of the roof. Shopping malls for me will be extinct in time to come, as consumers, we have become accustomed to the simplicity which shopping has become, why would we plod around a mall for four hours while looking for the same thing. The Internet is becoming bigger and bigger but those same items which are available in the real world are shrinking.

Images Courtesy of CNN Money, Seth Lawless and pinterest

Thank you CNN Money for Providing us with this information

Amazon Reveals Dash Buttons for Ordering Specific Items

On today of all days, Amazon has decided to reveal its totally audacious yet completely real new innovation: the Amazon Dash Button. With a Dash Button, Amazon Prime customers can order their favourite goods with just the press of a dedicated button, branded with the product’s logo.

http://youtu.be/NMacTuHPWFI

Each Dash Button has an adhesive back, so can be stuck near where the product is usually stored or used in the household. One press of the button pushes an order to your Amazon account; the button remains dormant while the order is being processed, preventing accidental multiples, and any order placed pings a notification to the user’s smartphone, so they can cancel if made by mistake.

The Dash Button follows on from Amazon Dash, a barcode scanning device for Prime users to re-order items from the online shopping giant, and Prime Now, a one-hour delivery service that has already rolled out to four US cities.

Source: BBC

Facebook Trial ‘Sell Something’ Button

Facebook is trialling a new sales system, offering users the ability to officially sell goods on the social media site. The feature is only available to a handful of members, and only through Facebook Groups. The option appears next to the familiar ‘Write Post’ button, marked ‘Sell Something’.

Facebook has made it clear that it takes no responsibility for goods bought or sold, and offers no kind of buyer protection. A statement issued to The Next Web read:

“We are testing a new feature within Facebook Groups to help people better organize posts about items they’d like to sell to other people on Facebook. This is a small test limited to select Facebook Groups that have active selling communities today.”

Source: The Next Web

Google Pulls Amazon App From Play Store Searches

A possible dispute between Amazon and Google has resulted in the regular Amazon app for Android being removed from Google Play Store listings.

Back in September, Amazon began offering Android apps for download via its app, which seems to have riled Google. Though the Play Store is often more lenient with the apps it allows for download – certainly more so than Apple’s App Store – anything Google sees as competition for its own app service is highly regulated. Speculation suggests that this is the reason the Amazon app has been excised from Google Play searches.

A  search for “Amazon” on Google Play brings up a stripped-down version, called Amazon Shopping, that has no integrated app store, but the old Amazon app is still available for download from the Google Play Store through this direct link, and from Amazon’s website.

Source: CNN

New Google Ad Patent Would Offer Free Taxi Service

Google is always looking for new innovations, and new ways to push the boundaries of the common way of advertising. It looks like Google has a new patent out that encompasses both new innovations and a new way of advertising. The new patent is for an ad service that would offer a free taxi to the store from which the retailers advertisement you just clicked on online. An abstract of the patent logged by Google is;

“The invention involves automatically comparing the cost of transportation and the potential profit form a completed transaction using a number of real-time calculations.”

This new patent heavily relies on expensive purchases, for someone say looking for a new car or an expensive tech item such as a new TV or computer this service would be great for. However I don’t think it’s viable for say someone looking for a toothbrush or another low-cost product. Google has always been interested in real-time calculations and with this new patent Google has gone onto explain the depth involved in the real-time calculations that would take place;

“The calculation may consider various factors including a consumer’s current location, the consumer’s most likely route and form of transportation (such as train, personal car, taxi, rental car, or shared vehicle), the consumer’s daily agenda, the price competing advertisers are willing to pay for the customer to be delivered to alternate locations, and other costs. In this regard, the customer’s obstacles to entering a business location are reduced while routing and cost calculations are automatically handled based on the demand for the advertiser’s goods and potential profit margins.”

While this new patent seems to be focusing on giving psychical store owners a fighting chance against online stores that offer discounts over the common brick and mortar stores. It will be interesting to see if customers would rather save a certain percentage by shopping online or have the feeling of importance by having a car sent out to you by the store who is competing with the online market and therefore signalling each customer out rather than just appealing to the masses like an online store would. Would you rather shop online and save a little off the recommended retail price, or feel important having a car sent out to your location to go shopping?

Thank you CNET for the information provided

Image courtesy of Digital Spy

Amazon To Start Shipping Items Before They Have Sold

It sounds like Amazon have their heads in the loony bin with their latest idea, as the company announces that they’re working on “Anticipatory Shipping”, a procedure that the company hopes will speed up order shipping times on many of their popular items, at least until they finally get their drone delivery tech off the ground.

The new system will see Amazon ship items before they have been ordered, their system will flag highly sought after items in each geographic region before anyone orders them, the item will be packed and shipped to that location and then redirected to their specific customer once an order is placed. Rather than shipping items to customers blindly, which would be stupid, they’ll be sending them to a central location near to you. So if you live in London for example, a warehouse near you may have that item on the way to them in bulk and will automatically have the parcel redirected to yourself, meaning the parcel has already undergone a significant part of its journey to you, speeding up delivery time in a big way.

So no, you won’t be getting that CD a day before you ordered it, but you may get it several days earlier than you expected! Which is still pretty awesome.

Thank you Geeky Gadgets for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Geeky Gadgets.

 

Amazon To Compensate Customers For Late Deliveries

Amazon has offered gift cards of $20 and offered to pay the shipping cost of customers who have been affected by problems at UPS and FedEx. Amazon looks to be setting their cross-hairs on UPS and FedEx blaming them for the delays that customers have been receiving. Amazon spokeswoman Mary Osako released a statement saying;

‘The Amazon fulfillment center processed and tendered customer orders to delivery carriers on time for holiday delivery. We are currently reviewing the performance of the delivery carriers”

Although not all is bad for Amazon with their “Amazon Prime service signing up more than 1 million customers at the back end of December. “Amazon Prime” offers customers a free two day shipping service and streaming of television shows and movies for a flat rate of $79 a year.

Walmart is also offering gift cards to customers who did not receive their gifts on time. Walmart did not immediately release a statement, however a direction to the UPS website was given to customers. The website statement from UPS was “UPS experienced heavy holiday volume and is making every effort to get packages to their destinations as quickly as possible”.

Many have seen this latest hit of delays in delivery come down to the fact that more and more people and finding it easier to just do their holiday shopping online, with analysts expecting online shopping to jump up between 13-14% this year. These delays could be due to the fact that retailers are still adjusting to the shift in customer behavior with more and more people feeling comfortable just doing their shopping online.

Thanks to The Australian for the information provided

Image courtesy of GottaBeMobile

Amazon UK Increase PlayStation 4 Pre-Order Price By £53.49!

Demand is heating up for next-gen consoles and as we approach Christmas there will be less and less units available to meet demand, leaving many Christmas shoppers without a console in time for Christmas day.

I’ve had mind pre-ordered for months, so fortunately my price is locked at £349.99 and I’m sure many other people are reaping that same benefit. However, if you’re coming late to the party then you may find you have to pay a lot more to get a console this year, Amazon UK have added a whopping £53.49 to the price due to increased demand.

This could be the first sign that stock is running low, many retailers in the US are literally out of stock now, despite Sony having exceeded expectations in terms of manufacturing. While other retailers may be charging less, expect a counter move very soon as stock runs low, or even out completely. Beyond this your last hope of one in time for Christmas could be paying over the odds on eBay.

I don’t mean this to be a jab at Microsoft because I’m not biased on this, but it is funny that even with the price hike due to low stock, it is still cheaper than the Xbox One.

Thank you Amazon for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Amazon.