I shop at Amazon.com frequently. I've spent a LOT of money in the past 20 years with them.....
I purchased a Sony camcorder two weeks ago, and today, the price on Amazon is $80.00 lower than it was when I purchased it initially.
I contacted Amazon's customer service, through online chat, to inquire about a refund for the difference in price, and was flatly refused. This surprised me, as I always thought of Amazon as very consumer-friendly.
They quoted varied reasons for this, including: "Well, when you purchased the unit, the price reflected what we paid through our supplier...now, all this time later, (I remind you, it's only been two weeks) the price we paid is lower, so we offer it at a lower price".....and..."Shopping at Amazon, is like shopping in a PHYSICAL store. The prices will fluctuate."
I took great care to remind them, that MOST "physical" stores will offer a price-protection on their OWN merchandise, in order to retain the goodwill of loyal customers. The customer service representative, whose name was "Nenet", offered the "solution" of sending me a return label, to return the product for a refund.
A subsequent conversation, via telephone, was equally frustrating. The representative indicated her concern, but adhered to the same policy. She offered to give me a "promotion" which involved offering a "store credit" which could be used at my leisure.....When I asked why the "promotion" couldn't simply be applied to my Amazon credit card, effectively solving the problem, her response was that "We just don't DO that, sorry..."
I offered the scenario that returning the unit would not only cost Amazon return postage, handling by employees, but that they would ultimately have to offer the returned unit at a reduced price, because it would now be considered "refurbished", which would ultimately cost them MORE than the $80.00 refund that I sought.
"You make a good point", was the response.
In the bricks-and mortar world, that point would probably have been enough for a supervisor to say, "You're right, let me write up the refund.."
It's just good, common business sense and for the life of me, I can't understand why someone at Amazon couldn't just step up and say, "You're a loyal, long-time customer...Let me take care of the problem for you."
This increasing compartmentalization of retail businesses, is eroding the confidence that people have had toward retailers, both online, and otherwise.
I really enjoy the convenience of shopping online, but it may be time to rethink paying more, in order to have a comfortable and mutually respectful working relationship with the people from whom I shop.
Total inflexibility is maddening, and as a result of it, Amazon may be officially off the table.