Shipping error - what to do?

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Janet H

Certifiable Executive Chef
Staff member
Jan 17, 2007
Pacific NW
I recently ordered a paring knife. Not an especially fine knife; in fact, it was intended for my camper. Today it arrived and it's not a pairing knife and it is a really nice knife; clearly amazon made some sort of error. Instead of an off-brand 3-inch paring knife, I got this lovely 6-inch chef's knife in an awesome color. I am reluctant to open the box. It will feel wonderfully tempting and oh - that new knife smell! Heck, it will probably even wash itself!

Would you keep it, contact Amazon, give it to someone wonderful as a gift, put it in the back of the closet, and wait for enlightenment? Or???

On one hand, the "right" thing to do is to contact Amazon about the error. On the other hand, Amazon can afford to handle the error without you so why bother. You have to do what you'll be able to live with.
I'll tell you what I did. I wanted a small number 2 brush (for painting), from a high quality brand usually around $25. What arrived was the correct brand but a larger 3/8 inch dagger brush worth about $36. I let amazon know for the return. Returned it and asked for another. They again sent me a 3/8 inch dagger brush....because it was in the bin where the number 2 brushes were located. I returned it again, notifying Amazon, and ordered the number 2 again. They sent me a 3/8 inch dagger brush, which I kept and I love that brush. I haven't gotten around to ordering the number 2 brush. The 'pickers' are the people getting the orders out of the bins, they don't care if they are the wrong knives and until that bin is empty, they won't refill it with the correct knife. I did the 'correct' thing, but..does it matter if they don't fix the problem? So do what you think is right for you, since Amazon doesn't actually care.
Twice I've ordered something and got the wrong thing. In both cases they just told me to keep it. And send the right thing. In on instance, I got something I never even ordered. I contacted them, and once again they told me to keep it. That one turned out to be a watch worth $150. We donated it to a charity to use as a gift for a fundraiser. This was awhile ago, not sure if they changed there policies.
I would just keep it. Amazon is notorious for just throwing away the stuff that is returned to them. Okay, that's an exaggeration, but it's environmentally terrible to return it. The original and the seller won't get very much back or it. It will probably cost them more to get it returned and send out a new one.

I only just found out a lot of the returns just hit the landfill. I'm horribly upset with that. Surely they could find a market for it somewhere!

I return a lot of things because once I have them in hand I know they are not what I want. The returns are something I check before ordering. It's not like I'm in the store and can see/feel/try the item before buying.

Of course I want my money back but I'd rather donate to charity before landfill. So now I don't quite know what I will do in future.
we've also had some Amazon shipping errors - only once did they ask me to return the item - which shipped back at their expense. the other times they simply said "keep it, we'll ship the proper item." not had a double/triple shipment of the same wrong item tho . . .

from what I understand, the returns go to a warehouse - where they are collected into "grab bags" - pallet sized grab bags . . . and are sold / auctioned off. the buyers sort thru the stuff and resell what they can. since Amazon does sell "used/returned" items, one presumes that Amazon does selectively extract (high value?) items for resale.
I agree with Aunt Bea.

Once I sent my friend a cute, framed illustration that read, "If I stirred it, it's homemade." It really is her motto. What she received was this. She called me and said, "Um....I know it is a joke, but I don't get it." I said, "You say it all of the time!" It honestly took 10 minutes for me to figure out that she did not receive the correct gift. Amazon said, "You sent a gift. Let her keep it." And they sent her the correct gift. Nice of them.

When Halloween was near, I sent her husband this and advised their couple's costume was now complete. He loved it. She refused. :LOL:
When we moved here from our townhouse I ordered 3 items from Wayfair - a rug, a pantry cupboard and a stand-alone spice rack. I had changed the address in their system but the stuff never arrived. They said it was sent and to reorder. I did and it arrived a few days later. We got a call from our previous neighbours that the woman who bought our place was trying to get in touch with us. It turned out that the first order was delivered there. We picked up the stuff so she wasn't burdened with it.

I contacted Wayfair asking where to send it. They said to keep it. It wasn't worth it for them to get it back. We are talking about close to $300 worth of stuff. So, we ended up with two of everything.

I am not saying amazon would be the same, but I have heard other stories similar to ours.
We ordered a crossbow and bolts from Amazon, and received two yoga mats. Amazon was trying to make us pacifists? When we told them about receiving the wrong order, they asked us to return it. We cancelled the original order. Then we got a message from Amazon to return the bolts which we never received. After an explanation, Amazon believed we hadn't received the bolts, and weren't lying. We haven't ordered on Amazon since.
Last year I ordered a few plants from " Proven Winners", which is a popular and reputable plant company. After 2 weeks of not arriving ( and checking the tracking which said it was in their NJ facility for the 2 weeks), I contacted them. I told them I dont want plants that have been sitting in a box in a warehouse for 2 weeks. They told me that when they arrive, I should take a picture of them to show them that they were in bad shape, and they would send new plants. I laid into them and told them that its extremely unlikely im ever going to get them , so Ill have nothing to take a picture of, and even if I do get them , I dont want unhealthy plants. They finally agreed to send me new plants ( the old ones are probably still in Jersey). When I got the new plants and they finally bloomed, they were the wrong color, and now , too late in the season to get the right ones to replace them. Needles to say I was kinda Pissed off.

Another time, I order a really nice shirt online from a fancy high end company. I received the shirt on time, but hit was the wrong size. I checked my order to make sure the error wasnt on my end ( and it wasnt). I then sent them an email, with my exact order showing them it was their fault. They told me to she the shirt back, and once they receive it, they will then send the new one. I said, why are you holding my shirt hostage because of your incompetence. They would budge. I did what they said, and Neve bought from them again, which is ashame, cause the shirt and all their stuff in their catalogue is really nice. Until covid, I wore a shirt and tie to work every day. 2 times a year, I would treat myself to 5 - 10 shirts and ties. They screwed up by treating me poorly.

Now I just wear scrubs, so I save myself a lot of money ( and aggravation too). I have since donated all my shirts and ties ( but kept my favorite ones).
Throw the wrong knife into your knife drawer, reorder the knife you want, and hope they don't screw it up a second time. I had a lot of problems with Amazon. Not wrong items, but leaving the packages in the wrong place and having them disappear. I would just tell them their delivery driver screwed up and they'd reship. If it showed up at my place like 4 days later, which has happened more than once, I just keep my mouth shut.
OR Throw the wrong knife in your knife drawer, reorder the knife you want and hope they DO screw it up a second time, so you can give a nice gift to a cooking friend/relative.
I was once sent two lots of the same item. (Delivered together astonishingly!) I was only charged for one and I did consider attempting to return one of them, but they were not expensive items and I decided to wait til they discovered their error. They didn't. (Or if they did, they didn't care.) So I kept both.
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