Amazon Inadequate Packing Materials–Books, Items Damaged in Three Different Purchases–Report them to the Better Business Bureau!

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Whoa, has anyone else had terrible shipments from Amazon, with books and other items damaged? This has happened to me THREE TIMES IN A ROW due to Amazon using insufficient packing materials. I’m now going to send all the items back and demand they send me new, adequately packaged versions and reimburse me for my time and energy to repack this stuff and wait for the new shipments to arrive. Example: a thin picture book, packed in a flimsy bubble wrap mailer with no cardboard inserts or other stiff protection to keep the picture book from getting all bent up. A coffee table book packed in a huge box with an inadequate number of “Fill Air” bags. Etc.

This is so totally unacceptable, as Amazon has years in e-commerce and the shipping business/order fulfillment field, and should know not to send flimsy picture books in simple bubble wrap envelopes, and not to send nice art/coffee table books in big boxes with inadequate packaging which can’t keep the heavy books from rattling around and getting banged up (especially when they are packaged with other, heavier items). Heck, the most inexperienced eBay seller knows to put some sort of cardboard in to keep such objects from getting bent and to fill boxes to the brim with bubble wrap, Air Fill bags, or styrofoam peanuts. Amazon is obviously cutting corners here trying to save some money on shipping and packaging costs. I know I can’t be the only one getting damaged items–leave a comment if you’ve received damaged goods from Amazon too!

I’m going to ask them to give me new items for free, as I can’t believe that I have to pack these items up, go to the post office, and ship them back, after spending weeks waiting for the items to get here. That’s time and money you’re costing me Amazon, and I’m sure the same thing is happening to other people.

DO something about it–file a complaint online with the Better Business Bureau!!! Any other ideas?

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61 Responses

  1. I have shopped at Amzon for several years. This past six months, most of my shipments have arrived containing damaged items. Today, I returned a book for the second time. Apparently, the CEOs have decided to save some money by no longer using packing material. One more experience, and I will close my Amazon account.

  2. Yes, Amazon has repeatedly sent damaged books…I would NEVER buy books in this condition at a store. Can you see the photos above, thin softcover books sent in a mere bubble wrap with NO hard cardboard protection…AMAZON YOU ARE RIPPING US OFF. This is a classic collective action problem…we should start a boycott/petition.

  3. I also have had a lot of bad experiences with Amazon.

    I do no live in the US, so I only buy books from them (they only ship books, CDs and DVDs to international destinations).

    They are doing a _terrible_ job packing them, and they always arrive damaged to a certain degree. For example, one hard cover picture book I ordered from them was wrap in a carton envelop with no isolation or bubble wrap what so ever. It arrived damaged, and this is a _picture book_, that should look good.

    They are horrible. The also don’t let me talk to someone who is in charge. They stop everything in the Indian customer service representatives level.

    For people who live in the US there are alternatives. But I am stuck with them.

  4. This is still an issue, believe it or not. I’m shipping back over half of my purchases (and I order several items per month) because of inadequate packaging. What’s worse, the replacements I get are often packaged no better than the originals, so I end up sending them back twice and wasting a lot of time and effort.

    I’m hoping that Amazon straightens this out soon, because I’m on the fast track from “disgruntled customer” to “former customer.”

  5. This is happening to me, even for international shipments (I’m in the British Isles). I am receiving books that are loose (and rattling around) in a cardboard box. Sometimes, a book is shrink-wrapped to a cardboard backing, but this only protects one side of the book and, nearly always, one or more corners extend past the cardboard backing. Keeping track of what’s going on with multiple shipments and returns is a nightmare. I’m on the verge of giving up on amazon.com for books.

  6. I have had many bad experiences with Amazon using too little or no packing material. Scanner came boucing around in a ludicrously large outer box with no packing material inside. Twice I ordered a large External Hard Drive Array and it came the same way, bouncing around inside a large box with no packing material. Latest incident was a $350 camera. Same thing. Every time I tell Amazon and they give me the same form letter about being sorry about this and that. I told them to get with it or I will shop someplace else. It’s either ignorant big corporation bean counting egg heads making decisions that will result in lost sales and lost jobs or lame 80 IQ shipping clerks without a clue, care, or concern for anything.

  7. I ordered a $60 DVD boxed set from them recently, and was shocked to see it arrive in a flimsy bubble mailer – I hadn’t ordered from Amazon in a while, and orders had always arrived boxed before. I knew the DVD set was damaged before I even opened it, from all the gouges and creases in the packaging. When I called for a replacement, I stressed to the Service Rep that I wanted the replacement set shipped in a box to avoid another damaged set, and was assured that it would be. Sure enough, just got the replacement – in the exact same flimsy bubble mailer, in even worse condition than the first. I’ll be returing both sets for a refund, and taking my business elsewhere.

  8. I was told by an insider at Amazon that they don’t care. They are saving so much money on packing material that they can afford to replace the items that are getting damaged. They are so short sighted that they do not understand that in the long run they will lose business they will never get back. I am done with them. I order through their affiliates still because they seem to care. But never again from Amazon LLC. They don’t listen. They don’t care.

  9. I , today, received a box set of books that was destroyed, dents on all ends from the shipping process. No packing materials. An initial offer of 10 percent off or return. After complaint and phone call.They are now sending me a new set by second day mail. This seems like a waste. These books were substantial.

  10. Today I received a digital camera with no packing material whatsoever. The Amazon box was smashed like an accordion and the camera’s packaging was bent and creased all over the place. It’s unbelievable that they would ship such an expensive, and sensitive, electronic product with no packing material at all!

  11. DON’T BUY FROM AMAZON!!!!!! DON’T BUY FROM AMAZON!!!!!! THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT THEIR CONSUMERS… THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT YOU…. I WAS RIPPED OFF 5 TIMES WITH INAPPROPRIATE PACKAGING… THEY SIMPLY DON’T CARE…. CUSTOMER SERVICE IS SO GONE IN THE U.S… SHAME ON YOU AMAZON!!!!!

  12. Here’s a link to make complaints online to the Better Business Bureau!!! https://odr.bbb.org/odrweb/public/GetStarted.aspx
    Do it!

  13. Today I received an expensive digital SLR camera and peripherals that I have spent months saving for. It all came in a large box WITHOUT ANY PACKING MATERIAL. Can you believe that? I am so pissed off.

    The actual packages take up only a third of the volume of the box, meaning the whole time they were in transit, they were getting bounced around and God knows what. Photographers are paranoid about their cameras getting dropped, and here they are f9890*ng shipping cameras with no packaging!!!

    This is supposed to be the most reputable retailer on the web???

    I’m sure they’ll give me a refund or reship if I request it, but this is such a hassle because I already waited weeks for delivery, because they are constantly out of the product. Now it’ll be weeks again if they reship.

    I guess if you want to buy digital products and cameras buy them from retailers who know that they’re dealing with fragile products. I’ll probably use Adorama or B&H now. I’ve learned my lesson.

  14. My last two book shipments from Amazon also contained damaged books. I buy a lot of paperbacks and I get the buy 3 get on free deal. Amazon does not do exchanges, only credits for returned items. If I return the damaged book I get NO credit. They say it is the free book and no refund. Is this some kind of scam by Amazon to get rid of damaged paperback?

  15. I used to order numerous books from Amazon, and they all came through fine. The last few orders were sent in such lousy packaging, though, I invariably ended up with some dented books. Because of this I hesitated using them, but have the “Prime” free shipping, and needed a book ASAP for school that I can’t buy locally. So I ordered it from Amazon, and lo-and-behold — it came in a flimsy bubble-wrap envelope, and the book looks like someone dropped in on its corner (the cover and all inside pages are terribly bent). I’m not happy, but unfortunately I can’t return it as I need it.

    Besides the high probability of damage in transit, I suspect this book might have been damaged before even being shipped, given that the envelope didn’t have the same bent edge. If that’s the case, then Amazon has really stepped over the line. I take very good care of my books, and I would never buy a book in this condition willingly. I think I’m through with buying off Amazon — I just can’t trust that anything I buy from them will be arrive in decent shape.

  16. I have bought many, many books from Amazon over the years. I’ve given them a great deal of business, I guess out of habit, but I’ll be looking for another store to buy books from in the future. The books are almost all damaged. Amazon UK is no better. I’ve been ordering facsimile edition collectible books not available in the states and paying heavily for them. After paying full shipping charges, I receive the books via Deutsche Post with the thin, perforated box ends open and of course no packing material, so the books just jostled around until they broke open the ends. It’s amazing I got them at all. The covers are dented and the dust jackets torn. I requested a replacement and their policy stated they would refund return shipping since it was their fault – it said that on the form as I was printing my shipping label – but they did not refund the return shipping. So add another $15 that I spent to get the same books I originally ordered that arrived damage due to their poor packing. Enough of this. I’m finding another store that will offer the new releases for sale. And will buy my domestic books from another store as well. I am tired of dented books with torn dust jackets for no reason.

  17. By the way, the replacements are often damaged as well, sometimes worse. I have a cart full of books I want and will be buying them elsewhere. They literally throw expensive books in boxes with nothing to protect them, they bump against each other and the box until they are dented and torn. But also I have noticed what the other commenter stated, I believe they are shipping some of these books already damaged! I love my books and handle them with care and keep them for a lifetime. Enough with the damaged books from Amazon. I have a cart full of books I was intending to buy and I’ll be buying them from someone else.

  18. vchia, that is horrible what they did to you! That was the last straw for me, I can’t buy from a store who would treat someone like that.

    I was also breaking large orders down into smaller ones to minimize the likelihood of damaged books.

    Enough, no more. I’m only sorry I didn’t stop giving them business sooner. I got into a bad habit is all I can think of for a reason. But that’s all done now.

  19. I am having the same problem with Amazon. They used to package things so well! In three years, I only returned one item, and it was not because it was damaged in transit (it was a DVD that skipped). Now, in the past three months, I’ve had to return four books. Most recently, I received an expensive coffee table book that had a four-inch tear in the dust jacket. I printed off the return request, and they overnighted me another copy of the book. I was pleased until I discovered that the “replacement” copy was in even worse condition than the first book! There were three tears in the dust jacket, and the cover was all scratched up. Both of these books had been thrown into a large box with no packing materials, but I’m not sure if the tears happened in transit or if they were damaged before even being shipped. I have an Amazon Prime membership, so I’ll still be ordering books (and returning a great deal of them, it seems), but once my Prime membership expires, I’m no longer going to be an Amazon customer. It’s ridiculous.

  20. I think Amazon is awesome, except for the fact that paperback books often arive damaged due to their packaging system. They use a piece of cardboard on the bottom with snipped corners, place the books on top, and then tightly wrap all the books and cardboard with a thick tough plastic wrap that damages the corners of the books. I now try to buy paperbacks at the bookstore or other online seller. I haven’t had a problem with hardcover books. I am a Prime member.

  21. Amazon have become a disgrace. I have shopped with them from their earliest days, but not any more. Books used to arrive in mint condition tightly wrapped to a strong piece of cardboard. Now they just throw the books into a box, throw in some plastic air cushions on top and send it off. I am in AUSTRALIA. Virtually all my recent purchases from Amazon arrived damaged. By the time I got them, the return period had expired. As a previously loyal customer, I sent an email explaining the situation. Got back an obvious cut-and-paste stock-phrase letter telling me to use the packaging feedback radio button, as if this in any way solves my problem! Emailed a goodbye letter, got back another reply from a different individual using the same stock phrases. Cut-and-paste is wonderful. Amazon, do not outsource to India. It never goes well. Goodbye Amazon. You were great in your day.

  22. Well, it’s 2010 and nothing has changed. I am also a Prime member and I probably return about 75% of the books because of damage now. Rarely does the replacement arrive in better shape. After two returns, they just automatically refund your money. I consider amazon.com more of a “used book store’ and a “scratch and dent” discount chain for books. They no longer sale new mint condition books. When ordering your book, consider it scratched, dented, and used and weigh the price accordingly.

  23. The book in the photos are in good condition compared to how I receive my books from Amazon… you should consider yourself lucky… ha. Yes, Amazon don’t have a clue about how to properly pack books.

  24. I dont care where or which department the blames lies but…AMAZON, BUCK YOUR IDEAS UP!! WE are paying customers…WE dont expect to open up packages (sometimes for the eighth time in a row to find smashed up books bent torn or bent). If you put CONDITION AS NEW…THEN I EXPECT CONDITION AS NEW!! Total incompetence and poor disrespect.

  25. It’s as simple as that: Amazon did their calculation and came to the conclusion that the packing material and time to properly pack books cost them more than the reimbursement to customers who actually complain because of how the books arrive. The fact is, most customers are suckers and they don’t complain when they receive damaged books. If EVERYBODY will complain, then Amazon will be forced to change its policy.

    Received a damaged book from Amazon? COMPLAIN and DEMAND a replacement or a REFUND.

  26. I am so glad that I found this site! I have come to expect that any book I order from Amazon will arrive damaged, and it’s nice (but sad) to see that I’m not the only one! My husband is one who would just live with the dented, scratched, and otherwise damaged books. But I am very picky, and expect that if I am paying for a NEW book, that I should receive a NEW book. Today, I have officially decided to stop buying books from Amazon after having received TWO damaged paperbacks today (they arrived seperately, and both had bent corners). This company has no integrity if it puts cost-savings above giving customers the very best. It’s a real shame.

  27. Well, at least you got a box. Apparently, I didn’t even get a box. They gave me a stupid cardboard folder. Most of the books are damaged yet I don’t want to return them since it’s so expensive to ship it to them.

    I’m not going to buy from Amazon again unless their prices are much cheaper. I’d rather go to a brick and mortar store where I can see what I’m buying.

    • Tooze, if you receive a damaged book from amazon, you do not have to pay for return shipping – they will give you a return postage label that is paid by them.

  28. Nikon Buyer, I finally know what you mean. I just bought a Canon Rebel T2i DSLR and the packaging was terrible. It was just the Canon box inside a huge empty box with NOTHING else inside to cushion it. No air cell bags, no little styrofoam pieces. The Canon box within the box was even slightly scratched. I also order a canon camera case and that thing was cushion by 2 long air cell bags. I don’t need that for the case, I needed for the camera. I’ll keep my camera though because my wife is about to have our baby 🙂 and I can’t waste time exchanging camera. It has worked, I did a few sample shot since getting it and I’m happy the lens and everything else worked fine.

  29. Just received a fine acoustic guitar that could’t have been packaged more carelessly. Wrapped in a very thin foam sheet, then placed in a guitar box with no additional padding, then in a large flat box with a long crumpled sheet of paper that does little to keep it from sliding around. Needless to say it arrived with a significant cracked area on the guitar front body. Surprised that they took about 5 seconds to wrap an expensive instrument. The funny thing is that the guitar headstock has a card signed by all the craftsmen who made the thing, all to be destroyed in an instant.

    • Identical Amazon replacement guitar was packaged in the exact same manner and also damaged, two loose back braces. At least Amazon is reimbursing me the cost of having them repaired. Caveat Emptor if you buy musical instruments via Amazon.com!

  30. I ordered a set of books by an important photographer. Was not cheap but I was looking forward to years of enjoyment. The order arrived in a sack, obviously put there because the shipping box was practically destroyed. The books were inside with next to no protection and all the corners were dinged. The slipcase is dirty and torn. I’m in Australia and they expect me to pay return shipping which will be very expensive and then they will refund me $3.99 of that.

    This is what really annoys me – surely they know that people look forward to books they have ordered. They must be aware how many people they are disappointing and yet obviously don’t care. A couple of dollars of packaging would have ensured my books arrived safely.

  31. I received a badly damaged DVD. I have had no luck talking to customer service and getting a satisfactory answer. They offered me a replacement DVD and said they would pay shipping to send back the broken one. What bugs me I the time, effort and hassle it’ll take me to mail back the broken piece of junk that I wont be compensated for. Has anyone just said “screw it” an not mailed back the broken item ? I don’t want to waste my time for free. What would be the repercussions ? Do they double bill you ?

  32. Boots, if you get a replacement copy of the DVD and don’t send the damaged one back to you, Amazon most certainly will bill you for both of the DVDs. You have to send the bad one back.

  33. I no longer order from Amazon for three reasons.

    1. When you place an order and it deducts money from your account and two weeks later you receive an email saying your shipment was delayed because the item wasn’t in stock even though it said it was on the page you ordered it from… yeah, that’s a problem. I can understand mistakes happen, but two+ weeks of my time should be compensated in some way, not to mention, why two full weeks to tell me? If it’s a gift I’m screwed. I know why two full weeks, they know we’ll cancel the order if we’ve not already invested that long of a time in waiting.

    2. Super Saver Shipping. It used to take a week, now it’s 2+ weeks, and I live in DC. Also, seems like every time I add a non-saver item to my cart, then two or more savers that qualify it never takes all the qualified shipping off the bill, a portion of it will remain. Why are their errors never in my favor? The only way to even save money with Amazon anymore is to use super saver shipping, otherwise you’re paying more than retail when S& H are factored in.

    3. Packaging. they were great, then a few years ago they forgot how to pack. Utterly atrocious, only way to describe it. I would order textbooks and they would toss in a $150 book into a 2′ x 1′ box with no padding. the corners would be smashed and I got very little in resale. Try ordering electronics, no different, toss a $999 camera into a 1′ x 1′ x 1′ box and that’s good enough.

    My guess is they have good insurance on their risk of returns so they end up being reimbursed on returns that are actually sent in, those that aren’t are just profit.

    Amazon will never see me again, I’d rather pay slightly higher prices (if at all, ever look at some of their toy prices where it’s 200% retail or more?) and get a non-damaged item.

  34. Amazon presents their use of virtually no packaging material as an effort to help the environment. Are people so stupid to believe that? It’s obvious they simply want to save money, not the environment. In the past (7 years ago or so) Amazon used to put a carboard backing to all their books, which prevents it from arriving damaged. They stopped doing that.They simply want to save money, regardless of disgruntled customers. 99% of the books I have received from Amazon since 2004 arrived damage. I am not joking – maybe one book out of a 100 arrives damaged. And t his is not the fault of my local post office, it’s Amazon’s fault. Do Amazon really believe that placing a 1000 pages hardcover book inside a big box with a couple of airbags around it (which always arrive deflated) and then shipping it abroad (which takes a month to arrive) will result in the customer getting a new book? Ha. Unfortunately, living abroad, I don’t have many other alternatives, as the books I order are not available locally in my country.

  35. I meant of course that 1 book out of a 100 arrived Undamaged.

  36. Amazon packaging practices sucks. The books always arrive damaged, particularly in the corners.

    I guess most customers, especially the ones like me who do not live in the US don’t have any better alternative.

    They count on it.

  37. I just had 2 $300 dart boards arrive damaged. The second one I could see right through the board. A huge hole! The third replacement they were not going to allow me to reorder. I chatted with an online service rep and she agreed to next day shipping. The third one arrived in good condition. The UPS driver asked how my dart tournament was going. I told him I didn’t order 3 dartboards in one week for that reason. I ordered cause the first two were destroyed. There wasn’t any packaging besides the actual box, no tape, nothing.

  38. I just got some books from Amazon.co.uk today and one of them had a bend and tear in 2 pages a bit like the right hand picture in the middle row above. It annoys me so much that I have to go to the trouble of packaging the item up, paying the postage, sending it back, monitoring whether I get the postage refunded, wait in another day for the replacement delivery etc. I’m totally sure they BANK on most people not being bothered, and wouldn’t be surprised if my book was damaged before it was sent to me but they thought I wouldn’t return it probably.

    It’s all very well them saying that they pay postage, just print out the label etc. I don’t have a printer!

  39. Recently received 2 books from amazon and disappointed by the quality. Cheap paper and the middle pages are all cresed. the 2nd book had ink stains in the middle pages. They should be checking the quality of their books before mailing out. disgraceful! These would not be sold in a bookshop in this condition.

  40. lately I’ve noticed a trend of receiving books with smudge marks, dirt marks, and sticky finger prints on them. Often big dark smudge marks or fingerprints on the sides of books. I’m giving up on them.

  41. Amazon Customers,

    I just got done reading all of the comments on this page. They were all very helpful and I want to thank everyone who took the time to write them!

    Disclaimer: This is the first complaint I’ve written about any company ever. I have ordered at least 200+ books, not including teas, coffee, and other physical merchandise, in the past from Amazon with little to no problems. However, apparently, the quality of their goods offered and shipping has diminished substantially over the past few years (based on the above feedback), particularly in these last couple months (based on my personal experience).

    I too have had a very unfortunate experience with Amazon over the past couple of weeks here. I made a purchase about two weeks back for four books (all paperback). They were packaged in a box way too big for their actual size when combined together. The thin strip of “fill air” bags were completely pointless because all but one was completely deflated when the package arrived to me. Each of the four books was either dented badly in at least one, if not multiple corners. One book was smashed in badly on the actual outside binding part of the book, which caused a ragged ripple to run a few inches down the book’s spine. Another had a huge red streak (a smudge mark) running sideways across 3/4 of all the book’s pages. I requested a refund for three of the books and figured I would try a replacement for the one I really wanted.

    In the meantime, before the books described above arrived, I actually made another order for three more books (also paperback, but completely different books from those originally ordered). I just got back tonight from an out of town trip. The replacement book, along with the newly ordered three books had arrived! I was so excited! Everything was sure to work out this time. All wrongs would be corrected and I could go on to enjoy my new books!! Unfortunately, that kind of thinking was just too good to be true…The box with the three books in it looked in such bad shape that someone had already almost opened it. The box was dented and dinged up badly and looked like it had gone through the wringer. This box also contained some air filler bags that were completely deflated, thus providing no protection during shipping. I opened it, too my utter shock, to find a book I hadn’t even ordered! Specifically, it was supposed to be the 2002 red cover version of the Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution book with his picture on it. But no, it was a completely white cover with some shoddy skinny writing across the entire front (with no pic). It looks like a cheap mass market version or something ridiculous. All books were dented and smashed up in the corners pretty good. The two other books had black smear marks running across the front covers. One book also had a black smear running across the actual book pages, while the other looked like it literally had black and green mold or fungus growing on the corner of a good amount of the books pages. Hurriedly, I went to open the replacement book. Surely Amazon had taken the time to assure that the actual replacement was in tip top shape. Oh, how I should’ve learned by now! This book was by far worse than the original book sent. It was literally dinged up and dented in, with the cover torn up in multiple places. And this replacement was shipped in a box that tightly fit and formed around the one book alone. This leads me to believe that the book was not damaged during the actual shipment, but was in that condition before it was sent. Sadly, if this actually true, then I also believe that the other seven books sent to me were likely in bad shape before being shipped, only to become more damaged during the actual shipping process.

    At this point I was pretty sick to my stomach. I called in to speak with a customer service rep this time. I must note that she was extremely friendly and helpful. However, at first, she tried to reason the poor quality of the books must be because they came from 3rd party Amazon sellers. But alas after we both checked to verify, all books had in fact been shipped from Amazon LLC. Then she told me that people in the past have complained about items shipped out of their Kentucky office. But she never did tell me whether mine had actually shipped from this location. I did ask that if I requested a replacement of these books if I could get assurance they would be sent from another office location, but she said that unfortunately (not a surprise) I couldn’t be guaranteed that. I was very pleasant with her on the phone, but so fed up with all this crap that I just asked for a refund for all five additional books received. Now I have to package them in three separate boxes and pay for the shipping myself, only to get reimbursed two weeks from now.

    Long story short, ha, I’m done ordering books from Amazon. In the past, it’s been hard for me to justify paying much more for a book, plus taxes on top of a higher book price, at the Barnes & Noble’s 30-45 minutes away from me. But I’m at the point where I’m sick and tired of going through the process or printing off labels, packing up books, and spending my own gas money driving to ship them off back to the company, only to go through the process yet again! It is interesting to note that I probably only sent back damaged books several times in the past, but 8 out of these last 8 books being damaged, dented, destroyed, and even moldy has really left an impression on me. From now on I think I’m going to come to appreciate holding a physical product in my hands and being able to inspect it before making the purchase. At the same time, I can support my local bookstore(s) and the people who work in it. Paying the extra couple of bucks will be worth this comfort in my mind. I likely won’t be as trigger happy as I am ordering them online anyway and will probably save money in the long run. I hope that my rant will help somebody out there as all your comments have helped me. Thanks again!

    Regards,
    Mike

  42. Oh, additional note…

    My mom just reminded that back in December (how could I forget lol), Amazon actually threatened to deactivate my account for sending back multiple Dragon Ball Z Dragon Boxes because almost all of them sent to me were damaged. After resending Box 3 in and continuing to order a replacement (after 2 times) they sent me a derogatory email that said if I sent back one more item there would terminate my account. I feel that after being a loyal customer since 2005 this was a despicable move on their part. I guess this is the end of our relationship.

    Thanks everyone again for reading!

    Mike

  43. Hi all, I agree that Amazon’s standard is falling so fast for the past few years. They used to be really good. The only occasion I had to return goods is when the courier company fouled up. But now Amazon won’t use sufficient packing materials to ensure books will arrive in good condition. As I live in the Far East, the cost of return of prohibitive.. I just had to send back four books and I had to pay more than 40GBP, for which Amazon is reimbursing only 8 GBP! As I don’t have a ready access to a Waterstone’s Bookshop, buying UK books are going to be ever more expensive and inconvenient now. Are we going back to the 1990s? In any case, kindle books are the only things I will get from Amazon from now on. Maybe that’s what they are trying to do: gradual phasing out of paper books?

  44. My own experience mirrors those of everyone here. Just got off the phone with Amazon “Customer Service” to complain about the latest encounter. Ordered “Prometheus: The Art Of The Film.” As a working artist I order many “Art Of…” books, large oversized art books, expensive special editions and blu-ray disc sets. My first copy of “Prometheus” arrived in a box that had clearly suffered extensive damage and was moving around inside when I picked it up. I’m sure that many of you can relate to the feeling of sickening dread I felt inside as I hoped against hope that the book arrived in good shape. No such luck. Significant crushing on all edges including one gouge that went deep into the cloth cover. No way could this book be considered “bookshelf new” or “near fine” condition. Yes, I am a collector and VERY picky about the condition of my books but I’m not THAT picky; this book had been, as others have described, put through the wringer. I request a return label and replacement which arrived today…pick up the box and was hopeful because I couldn’t hear the book moving around. The box was roughed up a little bit but nothing that indicated what I would find inside once I opened. it. Beneath the air pillow that was holding it in place, this book had not only the usual crushed corners but what could best be described as a gouge looking like a bit in the middle of both covers. In other words, the gouge went across the span of the book, from cover to cover, deeply into the cloth. I was literally shocked; I’ve never seen a book arrive in this condition before. I checked the box because it did not indicate that the book inside would be in this shape. Sure enough I could not find the kind of damage externally to match up with the devastation inside, leading me to believe that the book shipped with at least some of this damage already present.

    I don’t know if it was a customer return or if some smart ass at the fulfillment center was annoyed by receiving a message about extra packing and decided to “show me” by destroying the book and then shipping it for laughs. Whatever, I called CS and voiced my compaints bitterly. As usual, received all of the apologies for my time, reassurances that my business was appreciated and was told that my issue would be “escalated” and forwarded to “upper management.” Right. I’m beginning to feel like those people victimized by “customer service rep” Peggy in those Capital One commercials.

    After reading all of these comments and complaints I’ve come to the conclusion that Amazon must make more money off of this merry-go-round of shipping & returns than they would from satisfying those of us who want our books and merchandise in fresh, new, unspoiled condition and are repeat customers. They must make more money from reporting the losses to the distributor, publisher, UPS, USPS…and then I believe they are re-selling the spoiled merchandise to resellers who then flip them at significant discounts because after all they’re “used.” Many people are not like us who demand satisfaction. They are willing to live with bent edges or other damage just to have a “reading” copy to toss around or for their kids to mark up. I don’t know, I don’t have proof of this…but its the only answer. Amazon must be COUNTING on us returning these books where they then receive some form of reimbursement or credit, then make more money by reselling them. All pure profit. They couldn’t care less about books OR their customers. I think as much as it hurts I’m going to have to forego these wonderful discounts and buy new off the shelf because this has to stop somewhere.

  45. What is really really annoying is that cheap books I bought at airports and carried in my travel suitcase without no padding or any protection whatsoever end up in better condition than ‘new’ books from Amazon.co.uk these days!

  46. Eddie, I agree with everything you wrote. However, I also think they have insurance to cover cases when books arrive damaged, so make money also from that, and not just from reselling damaged books. Actually, I think that about 90% of the books Amazon send arrive damaged in one way or the other, it’s just, as you mentioned, many people just want a reading copy so don’t really care. However, I’m a collector and buy expensive books and comics collections, and for me to receive a $150 book damage (and then receive the replacement in even a worse condition) is a tragedy. Amazon sucks.

  47. Fed ex called a few minutes ago and informed us that we had a empty tore up package from amazon!!! Im so mad right now!!

  48. And so it’s March, 2013 and nothing has changed. I just received $300 of jewellery books, in a big box with 2 of those bubble packing pillows and they are scratched and dinged up to hell. They look like they have been bouncing around in the back of a car for a few years.

  49. I have had several issues with damaged books from amazon. Yesterday I received a book in a large envelope completely bent in half. A few months ago I bought a expensive gardening book and it took them three times before I got one that was acceptable.

  50. I am a collector of scientific books and textbooks, and I take very much care of them. It always annoys me when I receive a brand new book in a poor condition. The last occurrence just happened 2 weeks ago: I received a big math book, value about 100 US $, put in an oversized box with almost no protection material. Guess what ? The book arrived in poor condition. I agreed with them to send it back, with shipping costs from my country of about 60 US $ (!), and they would send me another copy with fast delivery. This replacement copy arrived a few days later, packaged in the same poor condition, with even bigger damages. When I unwrapped the book and discovered the poor condition, I really got mad about this. It’s such a pity, because for other aspects, e.g. choice, look inside and customer reviews, they are doing really well.

  51. Same story. Maybe I am crazy but I have had better luck when I order about 4 or more books. It seems that they pack it a little tighter and use more method to the packaging material. It really is just hit and miss. Sometimes it comes with zero to minimal damage, sometimes it gets sent back. If I want it in good condition, I head to the book store. If I am apathetic, I go with Amazon.

  52. Every year I do a large shipment of textbooks and I order them 8 at a time. The packaging quality has been slowly deteriorating and this year took the cake. All three boxes arrived in gunny sacks by USPS because the boxes had fallen apart in transit. When I complained to customer service, they offered to replace the 7 books that were damaged but return shipping would cost $200 (I live in Malaysia). I didn’t trust that they would refund the shipping even though I had their email confirmation on it & judging by the comments here, I was right. So I ordered another 3 books thinking there would be more care and again, the box came in a gunny sack. Luckily, the books were not damaged. I just ordered the same book by expedited shipping (it was late, btw) and it came in a cardboard envelope similar to the early days of Amazon with no damage.

    So my conclusion after reading this page: buy from Amazon only as a last resort and don’t hope for any customer service.

  53. Fortunately, I haven’t had problems when buying books on Amazon from Mexico since May 2012, as well as dvd’s. All of them have arrived in excellent conditions, even when it has been a single one wherein they have used bags with bubble inner. But I’ve just bought two acrylic items which were sent in different shippings. They both were placed within oversized boxes with no packing material, so they got broken in transit. I do like buying on Amazon, but this little details will make me think twice to buy fragile items. I must say that I’ve had good experiences with customer service, though. I hope they take into account this kind of facts soon, otherwise they may lose customers. Kind regards.

  54. I have received countless books that were damaged in some way. This seems to have been a trend that started recently. I’ve received plenty of flimsy paperbacks placed into those awful yellow envelopes, which caused them to be creased to varying degrees. Just recently I received a large hardcover that was packed in a box that was way to big, so it was able to just roll around inside, and there was only one Fill-Air bag placed on top of it, providing almost no protection. The book came with damage on the front cover, battered corners, and creased pages. Absolutely unacceptable. I now only buy from Amazon if there is literally no other option.

  55. I recently ordered a book for the first time from Amazon. It is a paperback book that is intended as a gift. The book was packed in a flimsy bubble mailer, with no cardboard or backing to protect it. The front cover is creased in the upper right corner. I have called eight bookstores in San Francisco, and none of them have the book in stock. The book is to be hand-delivered on Monday (it is now Saturday night), so my only option is to give the creased book. Thanks a lot, Amazon, for your cheapskate shipping methods. Oh, and I will buy my books from Barnes and Noble next time—even if it costs more.

  56. I have had the same issue. I once returned a book 8 times and gave up on the process. I’ve taken my business for books to Barnes & Noble, who have so far sent me this book in the best condition so far (on the second shipment of course, even Barnes & Noble send damaged books). I’ve decided to avoid buying large items off Amazon. Amazon are only good for small CDs, blu-rays in plastic cases, small items, new items in boxes, but that’s it. They’ve also changed the policy on my account because of the transaction where I returned the book 8 times and have limited me to only 2 returns/replacements per purchase. The item I had issues with was a box set that had a cardboard case and that kept getting damaged. Amazon are really terrible with certain items, on other items they’re great. You just gotta pick your battles I guess. I think if book condition is important to you, you might have better luck buying at a brick and mortar store. I think I will be doing that going forward.

  57. For me it’s limited edition games and art books that get the shoddy packaging treatment. I’ve complained and exchanged many times, and they continually assure me that my feedback is important, but nothing ever changes. After reading some of the comments on this article I now understand why. It seems I’m in a minority of customers who actually care about the condition in which their items arrive. I’ve been an Amazon customer since 1995. It’s a shame how badly their packaging quality has declined in two decades, and an even bigger shame that this is actually profitable for them. I still have an unused gift card balance which I’ll use on items I absolutely can’t get anyplace else, but aside from that I’m done with Amazon. Buying from brick and mortar stores supports local businesses and saves me a lot of aggravation.

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