Following the revelations in the Sunday Times about the way Amazon UK treats its staff, I'm wondering if I shouldn't diversify - maybe look to Borders for the books and CDs and elsewhere for the electronics. They're getting too dominant in the marketplace anyway.
An investigation by The Sunday Times at Amazon’s enormous warehouse in Bedfordshire has found that workers were:
– Warned that the company refuses to allow sick leave, even if the worker has a legitimate doctor’s note. Taking a day off sick, even with a note, results in a penalty point. A worker with six points faces dismissal.
– Made to work a compulsory 10½ hour overnight shift at the end of a five-day week. The overnight shift, which runs from Saturday evening to 5am on Sunday, means they have to work every day of the week.
– Set quotas for the number of items to be picked or packed in an hour that even a manager described as “ridiculous”. Those packing heavy Xbox games consoles had to pack 140 an hour to reach their target.
– Set against each other with a bonus scheme that penalises staff if any other member of their group fails to hit the quota.
I'm surprised the sicknote stuff is legal. Anyone out there got good ideas for Amazon-replacements ?
There's another thing. My son is waiting for the delivery of his new Acer netbook, sourced from Amazon. While awaiting I did a quick bit of googling for the delivery company Amazon use, Home Delivery Network.
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.
HDN tracking system said they had 2 failed deliveries, and had left cards each time. Funny how I was working in my hall the whole time, and never saw or heard a vehicle, no ring or knock at the door and certainly no cards. Amazon apologised and said they would "follow it up". Its difficult to NOT use HDN with Amazon, as they use it by default on many items, and you have no choice unless you upgrade to much more expensive shipping options. The lack of contact details of ANY KIND on their website just confirms their incompetence, as they obviously have far too many complaints to afford staff to man the phones or email relies. Avoid if you can...
In over 10 years of shopping online I have NEVER had to deal with a shower such as this company! I finally gave up on the call centre and phoned my local depot after the website was updated showing I had missed a delivery for the FOURTH time despite me being in all day.
08/03/2007 00:00:00 Customer Parcel Data Received
08/03/2007 19:30:01 Sort Centre - Shaw, Oldham Sorted
08/03/2007 23:42:00 Leeds Depot Received
09/03/2007 06:36:42 Leeds Depot Loaded onto vehicle
09/03/2007 09:40:02 Leeds Depot Unable to Deliver Carded
09/03/2007 13:48:23 Leeds Depot Received
09/03/2007 13:49:09 Leeds Depot Unable to Deliver Carded
12/03/2007 06:31:17 Leeds Depot Loaded onto vehicle
12/03/2007 14:06:28 Leeds Depot Received
12/03/2007 14:08:43 Leeds Depot Unable to Deliver Carded
I rang them and the guy on the other end was very unhelpful. making out like I had missed them and they would be trying again on Monday. Of course he wouldn't listen no matter how much I insisted no attempt was made to deliver the parcel and the same thing is going to happen on Monday.
I had been in all day and had no cards and heard nothing.
Well, you know what's coming. The beastie was recorded as leaving the depot for delivery at 7 this morn. No further update (and my son stayed in all day) until nine tonight, when finally the Amazon 'tracking' page updated.
Apparently the driver was 'unable to deliver' at 8.20 this morning - when I was still in the house and would have heard any delivery vehicle arriving. No one rang, no-one left a card. I get the impression the drivers have too much stuff to deliver and end up inventing 'failed deliveries' for those households they don't get round to. We stayed in till 7 tonight and left a note for the driver when we went out. We were wasting our time. Why wasn't the site updated in real time ? Don't they carry little digital, mobile-linked tablets to record failed deliveries as they happen ? Or do they wait till the driver's returned to the depot (having had plenty of time to think up plausible non-delivery scenarios) ?
There's a fortune to be made for the person who devises a decent delivery/tracking system, although nothing will avail if the company are screwing their drivers with too much work and the drivers are returning the compliment by lying about 'failed deliveries'.
Most of the delivery companies are incompetent to a greater or lesser degree. I must at this point give due to one of the senior guys at Initial Citylink. When my son's birthday present didn't arrive I phoned head office and actually got through to (I think) the sales director. He put me through to a regional manager - with the result that the manager of the depot where my son's gift was ended up putting it in the boot and delivering it personally on his way home ! He didn't look too chuffed about it either ...
Anyway, what think you ? Where can an ethical(ish) consumer turn to as an Amazon-alternative ?