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Selective Amazon delivery delays pummel some RVers. How about you?

By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Just how “prime” is Amazon Prime? When the big, sell-you-nearly-anything company recently announced price increases for its Prime membership, social media reaction was swift. Words and phrases like “greed” and “record profits” were frequently used. Some suggested dropping memberships. Still, it seems like the love affair with the giant merchandiser will see few people actually cancel. But from our own experience, despite having a Prime membership, seeming selective delivery delays are more than just irksome. Are you a victim of Amazon shipping delays?

Quartzsite/Amazon phenomenon

Our home base is smack in the middle of the snowbird RV capitol: Quartzsite, Arizona. This winter, as COVID began losing its grip, the number of snowbirds shot way back up. For snowbirds whose buying habits include drops from Amazon, you no doubt experienced a Quartzsite/Amazon phenomenon: Delivery delays.

We’ve lived in Quartzsite for many years and, until COVID came calling, found our “order-to-delivery” times were great. Order today, and within a few, short days, the UPS guy was dropping off our stuff. When the pandemic set in, shipping times decidedly increased. We could understand that—the pandemic turned all aspects of life upside down. As we worked through the pandemic, delivery times got better—and a few months back, it was “back to normal.” For a short time. Suddenly, Amazon’s speedy deliveries ground to a halt. For us, order-to-delivery times ran typically 10 or more days.

“Two-day delivery”—After it’s out the door

Frustrated, we repeatedly called Amazon for explanations of these delivery delays. We were always assured that yes, as Prime members, we’d have “two-day delivery.” But the two-day clock would start when the item shipped. But why does it take so long to get the order out the door? Then the vagueness would set in. “In some cases we have to wait for the item to be shipped to us from the seller, then in turn, we ship it to you.” Interestingly, even Amazon-branded items were slow getting down the pipe.

But other folks, in other areas, weren’t having delivery delays. They’d order their stuff, and bingo! It was at their door. So we sniffed around. We’d look up an item we wanted to order, and see how long it would take to get to us. Then we’d change the delivery address to somewhere other than Quartzsite. In nearly all cases, the same item would arrive at a different location far faster. Is there a curse on Quartzsite?

Here’s a chart of five different Amazon items. We’re showing delivery times for these same items to relatively nearby ZIP codes. Quartzsite, and next-door-neighbor Bouse, Arizona, are consistently quoted 11- to 12-day deliveries. Go 40 miles north to the next town, Parker, Arizona, and those same items get delivery estimations of four to no more than six days. Go west to Blythe, California, 25 miles away, and the typical delivery is in just three days.

Items and delivery times to nearby communities

Item Quartzsite, AZ Blythe, CA Lake Havasu City, AZ Parker, AZ Yuma, AZ Bouse, AZ
100 pack of Amazon Basic AAA batteries 12 days 4 days 3 days 5 days 5 days 12 days
Camco TST liquid holding tank treatment 11 days 3 days 2 days 4 days 4 days 11 days
RV water heater thermostat replacement assembly 11 days 6 days 3 days 6 days 6 days 11 days
Amazon Basic Care hand sanitizer 11 days 3 days 2 days 4 days 4 days 11 days
Starbucks medium roast K-Cup coffee 11 days 3 days 2 days 5 days 5 days 11 days

 

Amazon—Too big to care?

Why is it that Quartzsite and Bouse are on the “dirty end of the stick” when it comes to Amazon delivery delays? We reached out to Amazon headquarters, first, asking if perhaps there was a “hangover” from COVID. “We’re wondering if Amazon is still ‘prioritizing’ shipments due to the COVID situation and, if so, which categories are considered ‘high priority’ and hence ship faster.”

An Amazon insider told us that the company had put work-arounds in place when the pandemic developed. Part of this was to predict product demand, then push sellers to get the items to Amazon warehouses. It also claims to have “invested” in both personnel and transport equipment to “ensure we have more options in the ways orders are delivered to customers.” Still, the bottom line on delivery delays is this: “There are still instances where One- or Two-Day delivery promises might be a little longer than customers might expect, but we continue to meet those promises and are working hard to eliminate those disruptions.”

But what about communities like Quartzsite, where “One- or Two-Day delivery promises” turn into nearly two-week ordeals? No comment. Multiple requests to Amazon for an explanation of these serious delivery delays fell on deaf ears—we never got a response. It would seem Amazon is, perhaps, too big to care.

How about your delivery times?

What about you? What’s your typical “order-to-delivery” time frame? More than 2,000 RVTravel.com readers responded to a survey on this at the end of February. Some 32% said their Amazon delivery times were “much slower.” But is it the same for the city just down the road from you? If you’d like to check up on Amazon, follow this link to instructions on how you can compare your delivery times to those of other neighboring communities.

If you’re finding your delivery times are unacceptable, you can try and complain to Amazon. We’ve found calling Amazon customer service representatives is usually much faster for problem resolution. Their phone number is 888-280-4331. We’ve also found that in some instances, ordering from another source is quicker. We’ve found many RV-related items on walmart.com, often at as good, or sometimes better, price, typically with true two-day delivery. Yes, we’re stuck paying for shipping unless we meet the $35 minimum order requirement for free shipping. But at least we’re not stuck with delivery delays.

Amazon promises two-day deliveries. Fair enough, true “on the road” shipping times may indeed be going out to all Amazon Prime members. But why is it members in some communities are stuck at the back of the line before they ever get on the two-day truck?

##RVT1043b

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Bradley Crandall
5 months ago

I am not at all happy with amozon.
I ordered a water heater thinking I could downsize but six gallon heaters don’t fit.
I believe I read where it would.
I also thought If something was wrong I could return it.
No way 359.00 dollars down the drain.
This on top of a late delivery.
I bit the bullit and ordered a larger one and again I sit home day after day waiting.
It’s late as the last one was.
I guess amazon could care less.

Allan
6 months ago

Even in Canada, in city they do not honor their 2 day shipping promise most times. When you call, email, the attitude is they don’t care. That’s what it boils down to, make promise but won’t honor it, so what.

Spike
6 months ago

I don’t have Prime as it’s zero value to me. If I have an Amazon order it’s always been “free shipping” because I always meet the minimum requirements for it. I would say the average delivery time to my home in SE Minnesota is 5 business days…usually faster than their quoted time of 7-9 days.

I shop across suppliers for everything and buy based on total delivered price. Many times other suppliers are less than Amazon at product price plus shipping. In short, there is no such thing as free shipping. You just pay for it one way or the other.

Truckman
6 months ago

It would be nice if we could even get 2 day after it was shipped. There is nothing we use from Prime as far as videos and books so their raising prices is only for their benefit not mine.

Jack
6 months ago

I’ve been a prime member for a few years but I recently noticed when I started to place an order that they tacked a delivery fee onto the total. I had ordered razor blades prior to this and saw the same thing but somehow managed to avoid that charge. I called Amazon and was told that the item I wanted to order came from a third party or something and they had a delivery charge. I told them that their ads stated free two day delivery but they still wanted a fee. I cancelled the order and am considering dropping my prime membership.

Stella
6 months ago

Not just Quartzite for sure. We also, are very disappointed shipping delays of the past 2 years. Initially we were understanding as Covid turned everything upside down. We kept our Prime membership in support thinking “this is a temporary problem…they’re Amazon….they’ll fix it”.

Nope, didn’t fix it and turn around time eroded further. The hike in membership seems insulting and frankly, I’m glad to see the issue addressed publicly. Perhaps public pushback from the Prime membership community will help prompt reaction from our favorite mega-store.

Ultimately I believe Amazon has opened the door to competition. I’m not a Walmart shopper but placed my first order with them last week when Amazon dropped the ball again. I would be a reluctant Walmart shopper but whoever can meet customer demand wins. Fix this Amazon>!!!!!

Dunromin
6 months ago

Is it “possible” that Amazon is in league with herding people into stack-n-pack cities??

Spike
6 months ago
Reply to  Dunromin

Are you suggesting people would move into a packed city just to have faster Prime delivery??? Too funny! :-)))))

Joe
6 months ago

Yesterday I looked up an item I needed. Amazon and walmart.com – exact same price. Amazon said I would have it on Wednesday – 4 days. Walmart said it was in stock at the local store. I went to get it on our regular shopping trip and it was nowhere to be found. I ordered it on walmart.com and said customer pickup. I thought they might find it somewhere. Well, they didn’t find it either and this morning, (Sunday) I received a text saying it was not in stock and I could have it shipped to our home for free – on a $10 item – and they would deliver it tomorrow! So free shipping in 1 day on a $10 item was not bad. It doesn’t always work out like that, but Walmart beat Amazon on this order!!

The Lazy Q
6 months ago

They should have and should still automatically refund every prime membership cost until they can meet the requirements of THEIR contract. Going on 3 years and they still cannot meet their contract requirements. Add in most boxes now being delivered barely hold what is inside. Just the other day I had one thing delivered with no box lol.

Montgomery D Bonner
6 months ago

It is not all amazons fault. People quit working in October-November in Record numbers, those same people drove trucks, worked in restaurants, a variety of job and left them. Dec it stabilized, but picked up in Jan 2022. Now throw in fuel costs, not having labor folks to do the deliveries, and there in is your problem. I am canceling my Prime because I got too much stuff now. Going to get rid of some of it, and not going to get more.

Irvin Kanode
6 months ago

Before COVID, we were getting most Amazon deliveries in two days with those from a regional warehouse in 1 day. Now nothing in less than 4 or 5 days. It’s not shipping delays since these are the delivery dates shown in the shopping cart.

Chollyb
6 months ago

We are near Tucson and are observing delivery delays also on Amazon orders. My observation is that UPS items arrive on time while FEDEX are repeatedly delayed from 3-5 days. Three weeks ago, I had a wine shipment that was out for delivery for 4 days. That is a lot of time for wine to spend on a delivery truck. I called and the local office said they were short on drivers and that orders were “unusually heavy.” Meh, excuses. In short, it may not be just an Amazon issue, but another supply chain /transportation failure.

Mike Albert
6 months ago
Reply to  Chollyb

With FedEx, we had an order from CA to Philadelphia region. It was a secure package so someone had to be home. First message was three days, and we had someone wait at our home. The second message was package would arrive by 7 or 8pm. The next message was package delayed and would be there in two days before 8. The next message was three more days. Bottom line, the two day delivery promise took over 19 days to deliver, after the shipper paid for two day. Their response was that fed x has been doing this. Amazon shipping is no better. At least Amazon shipping days are within the days they quote and they come with updated and earlier arrival dates in my locations of Punta Gorda Fl and Bucks County PA.

STEVE
6 months ago

I have Prime but hardly ever use the quick delivery service. Sometimes it is necessary but not often. 3-4 days is good enough. I keep prime for the audio/video services.

BWO
6 months ago
Reply to  STEVE

We use both the streaming services and the shipping, so I figure it’s still a great deal. Both of my other streaming services increased last month as well. It’s called inflation and it is alive and well.

As for deliveries, I still do quite well with Amazon and I live in a small rural town.

Dan
6 months ago

Psst. You do have the option to shop elsewhere. We always get great service from Amazon. If there is a delay they have always emailed that message to us and sometimes we get better than 2 day delivery. Last Sunday we ordered a new phone cover and the order page said it would be to us the next day, and there it was in our mailbox on Monday. Maybe it’s because of where we live. Who knows? Also, we get to watch quite a bit of different TV shows and movies, all free with Prime.

Mike Whelan
6 months ago

We dropped Prime. For us there was no value add. Our deliveries still are in two maybe three days and free by just following the rules to qualify. On most items even though the delivery date says 4 or 5 days we often receive the shipment in two days. Our experience has been great with Amazon and we save the needless Prime cost.

Dunromin
6 months ago
Reply to  Mike Whelan

Thank you for that information.

Ron
6 months ago

Never get two day delivery with prime.

Fred
6 months ago

We’ve been fulltime for 12 years, & for much of each year, we don’t plan ahead for more than 4-5 days. So, early in our travels, Prime was a great feature at around $70/year. But after the second price increase to around $90, deliveries stopped being reliable. So, we cancelled Prime & have found we can manage just fine without Prime. Why pay for all of the features added onto Prime over the years, when all you want is the delivery feature? If Amazon offered a Prime delivery feature without all the other features, at a reasonable price, & could reliably deliver in 2 days, I might subscribe again. But once we cancelled & adjusted our thinking & order planning, we found we really don’t need Prime. Most of our orders arrive in 3-5 days without Prime. At checkout, it says 7-10 days, but usually shows up in 3-5.

Dunromin
6 months ago
Reply to  Fred

Thank you.

Sherry
6 months ago

I am over Amazon and their promises. I cannot remember the last time I actually got something in 2 days. Lately I have not received things I have ordered and paid for with no resolution from Amazon. I find that the two day rule may apply in big cities but not smaller or rural area. This also looks like a terrible waste of resources to have something shipped to amazon then to me. Not a big fan of Walmart and I have had a few problems with them but for the most part walmart is less expensive than Amazon, and either pick up in the store or have delivered to the house. The problem I have with Walmart is buying something and the day it is suppose to be delivered I am notified that it is not in stock and not coming. As for the $35 dollar order for free shipping this is not a problem.

Seann Fox
6 months ago

Amazon delivering less for more$$$$

Imdoodah
6 months ago

Soon after Amazon’s first price increase for Prime membership, our 2 day shipping ceased to exist on virtually every item we ordered. When I called to complain, I was told the same thing – it was to be 2 days after they shipped it, not 2 days after I ordered it. The entire first year we had Prime, everything we ordered was on our porch in 2 days. We stuck around for another year and the time for delivery of our orders just kept getting longer and longer. We cancelled our membership and really haven’t regretted it. We get many of the same items from Walmart or individual companies faster and cheaper. When we travel we use the order on line, pick up at the store option and that’s even better.

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