Amazon is a revolutionary company in terms of sales and streaming content — but it isn’t perfect. Everyone knows the company’s history of disrupting the brick-and-mortar retail industry. We’ve also seen their poor track record of protecting user privacy. Click or tap here to see how Amazon is listening to recordings of users.
But now, we’re seeing a different kind of logistical failure on Amazon’s part: shipping expired goods. Recently, the company has come under fire for delivering perishable items that are well past their expiration dates. These expired items are disgusting and could potentially make vulnerable customers and their families sick.
Here’s why Amazon is delivering expired goods, and what you can do if your package turns up rotten.
Amazon’s deliveries are past their “prime”
According to new reports from CNBC, thousands of Amazon users have reported receiving expired items when ordering food from Amazon’s marketplace. These items not only include ordinary snacks like chips and beef jerky, but also sensitive items like baby formula and over-the-counter medicine.
As of now, food and consumable goods count for 58% of total merchandise sold on Amazon. Out of the top 100 sellers in this category, 40% say they’ve experienced at least 5 or more complaints about expired goods.
Amazon claims the issue is based on a combination of bad actors intentionally scamming customers with old food they bought cheap, as well as a lack of oversight on the sellers’ part. The company claims to rely on AI along with human teams to inspect seller inventories, so as a result, they don’t always catch bad products before they ship.
The company encourages anyone not 100% satisfied with their orders to contact customer care and initiate a return when possible.
Nevertheless, users have reportedly received items that are foul smelling, inedible and, in some cases, rotten. One user who placed an order for mini donuts even received a package with items that had expired more than a year ago.
— •a͜dw ? (@iamadwdotcom) July 30, 2019
In response to the claims, Amazon issued a statement to CNBC, which we have included here:
“We work hard to make sure customers receive high quality products when they order from our store. We require all selling partners to abide by strict product quality guidelines and we use a combination of artificial intelligence and manual processes to monitor for product quality and safety concerns in our store. We have robust processes in place to ensure customers receive products with sufficient shelf life. We also monitor more than 22 million pieces of customer feedback we receive weekly to detect concerns including where a product is expired or has product quality issues even if not expired, and when we find an issue, we work quickly to investigate, take appropriate action and improve our systems. While we may remove a product from sale and take appropriate action against the seller, we preserve all authentic reviews that meet our community guidelines. If customers have concerns about items they’ve purchased, we encourage them to contact our Customer Service directly and work with us so we can investigate and take appropriate action. Our customer service teams are empowered to instantly stop sales of an item if required. With the A-to-z Guarantee, customers are always protected whether they make a purchase from Amazon or a third-party seller.”
I buy food on Amazon. What can I do if I receive an expired item?
As Amazon mentions, contacting customer support is your best bet to make sure you’re taken care of. Thankfully, the company has a robust return policy and rarely gives users a hassle for returning unopened items within a reasonable time frame. This also applies to third-party sellers, who must oblige to the company’s A-to-z Guarantee return policy.
If you receive an order for a food product, check the expiration date every time before opening it. If you find the item is expired, click or tap here visit Amazon’s return center and log in with your account. You’ll be able to specify what’s wrong with your order, choose your return shipping options and collect any refund you may be owed.
Once your order is ready, you’ll have the option to ship it from home or visit a retail outlet that processes Amazon returns. We recommend choosing the UPS store, since the employees will help package and ship your order for you. You won’t even need to purchase any boxes or packing material — UPS handles the whole process.
Going forward, Amazon may to want put as much effort into moderating its platform as it does with shipping and returns. Otherwise, it may see its sizable market share shrink next to competitors like Target and Walmart, both of which have years of experience with groceries and food deliveries. Click or tap to see how these companies are going head-to-head with Amazon.