Big Amazon Prime Disapointment

I have been an Amazon Prime customer for years, and have been very satisfied to get the free two-day shipping.    And they have always done a good job with this, and in the past I have had literally hundreds of shipments in a row arrive on time.

However, two of my last three orders have been late, and the last order, which should have been here on Thursday, still, two days later, has not arrived despite the fact the system says it was delivered June 23 at 12:54.

But it is actually fairly easy to figure out why the service has deteriorated.  On both these late orders, Amazon used the USPS to deliver the package.  That explains a lot.  The USPS has awful, unreliable service and has absolutely no package tracking capability.  Not only is it my package missing, but neither Amazon, myself, or the USPS have any way to find out where it is.

This is awful service.  I am not only a pretty high-volume customer, but I have paid an annual fee to get premium shipping -- and I can tell you that there is likely no one on Earth who considers the USPS a premium shipping option.  If they keep sending my 2-day packages snail mail, there will no longer be any point to being a prime member.  Maybe they will offer a super-prime membership sometime in the future that guarantees they will not use USPS (though I suppose I can get this now by clicking the one-day shipping button and paying the $3 or whatever it is extra).


  1. marco73:

    Have to believe that super-prime is actually part of Amazon's upcoming business plan. I'm sure that USPS talked someone at Amazon into using Priority mail for 2 day service. Soon enough, I'll bet Amazon will contact prime customers and offer super-prime for $X so that all super-prime shipments go by some means other than USPS.
    The USPS TV commercials star an affable, friendly actor. Come on, has anyone ever met a real USPS employee who is half as friendly as the actor.

  2. Dan:

    I own a business that ships alot via registered mail and I can attest to the fact that the USPS is going downhill and fast. Some areas of the country are worse than others, but overall, the experience is just awful. It'll only get worse as their budgets become tighter and tighter and revenues become less and less. It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion. You know what's going to happen in the end and there's no way to stop it.

    It's time to completely privatize the postal system in the US and let companies innovate and make a profit at the same time (while giving us much better service to boot!)

  3. Scott MD:

    Hence the Kindle!

  4. Not Sure:

    "The USPS TV commercials star an affable, friendly actor. Come on, has anyone ever met a real USPS employee who is half as friendly as the actor."

    Yeah. At my post office. They're all at least as nice as the actor, if not nicer. The only problem is- they're not the only ones involved with delivering the mail.

  5. Gene Hoffman:

    Make sure that you complain to Amazon about the USPS. They will factor that in and it will help all of us otherwise happy Prime customers as Amazon is well known to cut off bad shippers.


  6. Mike:

    I too am a long time Amazon Prime customer. I've only had two packages that haven't arrived on time and both were shipped USPS. If Amazon makes a habit out of shipping my packages via the USPS then I cease being a Prime member.

  7. chuck martel:

    I'm not going to go through your contact thing, Warren but this is something you might be interested in:

  8. SB7:

    I'm rethinking renewing my Prime membership when it expires next month. If they're shifting towards more USPS shipping then that tips things against re-upping. Post offices and airports are far and away the two worst customer experiences I ever have.

  9. Doug:

    as a sometime ebay seller, i almost always ship FedEx ground. Price, speed and reliability with great tracking at no extra charge.

  10. James H:

    AND FedEx ground delivers on Saturday even on a regular shipment! They aren't always faster than UPS, though. I used to buy a fair amount of stuff from a mail-order business that shipped out of Reno or Ohio to me in the Phoenix area. They opened this Reno center to give the west 2-day deliveries, while the Ohio center takes 3 days. When the Reno center was first opened, they were using FedEx. It was taking 3 days to get to me because they routed everything through Sacramento. UPS only takes 2.

  11. Jay:

    Ironically, USPS actually sends some of their packages via FedEx Smartpost, and in my experience a large portion of those are Amazon. Part of it is an effort to service smaller post offices more efficiently, from what I've heard. USPS hubs sort small packages into sturdy plastic bags, like the modern equivalent of burlap. Those are sealed (sort of, mostly) and get a FedEx Ground label on the outside, shipping as a single package. Those go from USPS hub to FedEx hub to FedEx terminal to local post office to you. It would be theoretically possible for the postal service to track the bag's progress via FedEx, if they knew what bag your package was in, or even that it had gone that way, but as you say, they lack native tracking capacity. I deal with Smartpost bags that open or are incompletely sealed on almost a daily basis. Generally it's because they overfill the bags. If packages get separated completely from the bag, they are returned to USPS to try again, adding to the delivery time. If they get separated and we can tell what bag they go into, we stuff them back in and make sure the whole thing gets there intact. Loose packages create confusion for the unwary, since they have distinctive USPS labels nothing like the FedEx labels. People who've never seen them before tend to get excited when there is no FedEx barcode to scan. More than you ever wanted to know about one aspect of USPS package delivery that most people would never suspect takes place.

  12. Jay:

    On another note, if we could just get Amazon to package their stuff properly before shipping it FedEx, we could cut the amount of tape-ups and repacks by an impressive amount. They are arguably the worst offender for inviting damage in transit.

  13. Evil Red Scandi:

    I haven't seen the USPS shift out here in SoCal yet. Mostly they've been using some oddball local carrier that delivers many of my "two-day" packages overnight.

  14. Doug G.:

    I expect that Amazon tracks carrier performance on a very local level. I haven't seen an increase in USPS shipments here, but lately they have been using Lasership extensively in my area. I was very skeptical at first but they seem to be very reliable now, and Amazon will occasionally offer 1-day shipping to me for free. I'm guessing this is because they haven't filled the capacity they have available at Lasership for that day.

    Anyway, the very local performance tracking should mean that if you complain enough, Amazon will get your USPS office to clean up their act or drop them altogether. Amazon is very good at automating the analysis of metrics like frequency of complaints.

  15. CT_Yankee:

    There is often a comment field for delivery notes where you might specify "Anyone, Anything but USPS". Of coarse, if Amazon misses the note, and the USPS doesn't, you might find that your lost package was used as a wheel chuck for a month.

  16. Dan:

    an extra THREE?? Try like an extra THIRTY THREE...anytime I see overnight shipping it is ABHORRENTLY expensive - whereas you'd pay 5-8 bucks for ground shipping, I usually see $27-$50+ for overnight shipping.

  17. coyote little sis:

    I have noticed an increase in my Amazon packages delivered by USPS. I am more upset by the way my packages are delivered. Big boxes crushed and shoved into my mailbox or left haphazardly in the N.C. afternoon t'storms. My adorable UPS man always sticks my packages under a sheltered area or in a plastic bag to try to prevent damage.

  18. Jeremiah Aroult:

    Hey Coyote little sis,
    Ex Prime member here, I couldn't agree with you more about UPS over USPS. Tried something new call ShopRunneras replacement for Prime, same price, delivery so far has been UPS and have had no issues yet. They give 30 day free trial so i tried it.

  19. jeffmeh:

    I have had the same experience, and just posted this as "package feedback" on Amazon:

    As an Amazon Prime member, I expected 2-day shipping. This shipped via the USPS, and a 6/21 order arrived 6/25. This is not acceptable. I have been an Amazon Prime member for years, and have been very happy with it, but this is the second time in the last few months I have had a late delivery. This is not acceptable, and I will seriously consider dropping Prime if Amazon does not rectify it.

  20. Bram:

    My department ships stuff to other offices. We stopped using USPS for anything time sensitive or valuable enough to need tracking.

  21. Rick C:

    I hope those of you who ARE AP customers and having bad luck with USPS are making a point of complaining to Amazon and/or pointing out that as a factor in your not renewing AP.

  22. mark:

    USPS is bad!
    2 shipments "lost". 1 @ Avon and 1 @ Amazon.

  23. blokeinfrance:

    Same here, different continent.
    Amazon started using La Poste, the state (nearly) monopoly. The Poste have a huge warehouse in Mer, central France, which is a gyre of stuff that goes in and never comes out.
    Try google maps it. The warehouse is bigger than the town. No wonder they don't need to deliver on time, or sometimes at all.

  24. George Edwards:

    Here's an idea for the government-cost-reduction folks: Let's outsource the USPS operations to FedEx or UPS - or a joint venture between them. Bound to improve service

  25. d-day:

    I can't recall Prime ever shipping via USPS before. I did have two incidents with Prime via FedEx, but that was because of the local driver. Once he put a "sorry we missed you note" on the door while we were home, and it took two days for the next delivery attempt. Knowing that, I waited and watched the door when we ordered our flatscreen tv via Prime, only to have to chase the guy down because he never knocked, just stuck the stickie on the door and bolted.

    Have NEVER had a problem with UPS. Probably hundreds of Prime deliveries through UPS have been on-time or earlier than expected.

  26. Jay:

    Wow, that is seriously rogue FedEx driver behavior! You call the local terminal and report that. Unless the whole terminal is a bunch of clowns, the driver will be reprimanded.

  27. David:

    I never did understand why we were willing pay tax dollars to have a taxpayer subsidized business market us to use their service over those of private competitors. I understand the whole rural need and what have you. But the fact that there are billboards, mailers, and commercials touting the benefits of this, at my expense is just ridiculous. They read: 2-day USPS shipping (*arrives in 2-3 days). No kidding. It’s right there in the banner. What a joke.

  28. Bruce:

    My problem with USPS is that I live in a rural area, down a private gravel road. Unlike UPS and FedEx, USPS refuses to deliver to the house, only to the mailboxes at the main road. So unless it is a very small parcel (i.e. padded DVD envelope) that fits in the mailbox, it ends up back at the post office and I have to drive all the way in to town to pick it up - and leave work early to get there before they close at 5 pm. Not acceptable.

  29. Joel:

    FWIW, I've currently got a package in Amazon Prime limbo (the "expected delivery" is 3 days ago) with UPS.

  30. JHouston791:

    if you want to cancel your Amazon prime

  31. Tyler Davis:

    I love the amazon prime service! The free shipping pays for the membership, in my case. Plus, the streaming service, etc. on top of that. I am not that computer savvy, so I had a hard time picking between all the streaming services out there. I found a pretty good video on YouTube explaining the free trial: site I looked at was site tells about all the features and what you can get out of Amazon Prime. Pretty good stuff, hope it helps! Great article!

    Keep up the good work!