Amazon refuses to refund me £700 for iPhone 15 it didn’t deliver • Graham Cluley

On Tuesday, 26 March, Amazon was supposed to have delivered an iPhone 15 and an accompanying Otterbox case to my home.

Amazon said it would require a signature upon delivery. So, I naturally ensured that I was home all day so I could sign for the delivery – which I had spent over £700 on.

But I wasn’t worried if I was distracted by work, after all I’d hear the doorbell (I have an Amazon Ring video doorbell, which records movement outside my door).

Amazon told me a signature would be required for the iPhone to be delivered to me.

At 11:31, I received an email telling me that the iPhone and case were out for delivery.

And then, at 14:34, I received an email telling me that they had been delivered.

That’s odd, I thought. I didn’t hear the doorbell, I haven’t signed for anything, and I definitely haven’t received an iPhone and case from Amazon.

Logging into my Amazon account, I was told that the iPhone and case had been “Handed to resident” at 12:51.

Hmm.. well, I was the only person home at the house at that time – and it definitely hadn’t been handed to me. My partner (who was out at the time) confirmed that she hadn’t magically received it either.

A quick check around the outside of the house revealed no trace of a package, and the neighbours confirmed that they hadn’t received it either.

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It’s all rather a mystery. Amazon claims that the package was “handed to resident” and had also said that it would require a signature upon delivery.

So how could it not be in my possession?

I did what everyone should do in this situation. I contacted Amazon customer services. They told me that I had to wait until the end of Thursday 28 March before requesting a refund, as sometimes mistakes happened… and a delivery could be delayed.

Fair enough, I thought. I’ll wait two days, and then request the refund for the non-delivery.

Two days later, after there was still no sign of the iPhone 15 or case, I requested the refund.

Customer service agent Rizza at “Earth’s most customer-centric company” responded to my request:

It appears that the carrier has recorded your package as delivered on 26 March 2024. Please check with your neighbors or members of your household to find out whether they’ve taken delivery of the package on your behalf.

Please allow 3 days (72 hours) while we investigate this matter. If you haven’t received your refund by 31 March 2024 please let us know.

Oh, so having waited two days, I now have to wait another three days? Hmm… ok. This is beginning to get a bit frustrating, I thought.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait three days to hear back from Amazon. Unfortunately, I didn’t like what Amazon had to say when they announced the end of their investigation on 29 March:

AMZN_UK confirmed the [ITEM] you ordered was in the package at the time it left our fulfillment center and that it was delivered to you intact. As a result, we cannot issue a replacement or a refund for this item.

As you can probably imagine, I wasn’t very happy with this response. And so I emailed back:


The items were NOT delivered.

I was in the house at the time they claimed to be delivered. There was NO ring or knock on my door. My Ring doorbell has recorded NO evidence of any delivery or activity outside my door.

None of my neighbours report any delivery to them.

And yet Amazon claims “handed to resident”

I’ve been a Prime Business customer of yours for years, as well as a personal Prime subscriber.

Are you claiming I’m lying about this? My business paid for an iPhone and case and we just want it delivered or a refund.

What is the process for escalating this complaint?

Furthermore, Amazon said, “Signature required at time of delivery. Please ensure someone will be available to sign for this delivery.”

So, if you are really claiming that the iPhone was delivered can you please provide the signature? As a reminder – I was home the entire day, no one delivered the missing iPhone and case, my neighbours didn’t receive a package addressed to me, and my Ring doorbell did not record any attempted delivery.

So, please provide the signature. Or please issue my refund/replacement

Can you tell I wasn’t very happy? You’re right!

I also dropped a line to Amazon UK’s PR agency, telling them that I was planning to write about my experience and giving them the opportunity to respond with any comment (and rather hoping they might fix things.) At the time of writing, they still haven’t got back to me.

But Amazon customer service did get back to me. And here’s what they said:

We looked into your order and AMZN_UK has confirmed the shipment you reported lost was delivered to you in good condition. As a result, we will not be issuing a replacement or a refund for the contents of that shipment.

We are unable to offer you any further assistance on this matter. We appreciate your business and hope to see you again soon.

So, Amazon continues to claim that it delivered the phone and case to me in good condition. And when I asked for photographic proof of delivery, or a copy of the signature that (presumably) was given when Amazon’s delivery driver “handed to resident” they ignored me.

AMZN_UK confirmed the items you ordered were in the package at the time it left our fulfillment center and that it was delivered to you intact. As a result, we cannot issue a replacement or a refund for this item.

If you do not have any further feedback regarding your Amazon shopping experience, please consider this issue closed, and be assured that you may continue shopping as usual.

We are unable to provide additional information on this matter and we may not respond to additional emails about this issue.

Ouch. It sounds like Amazon is not only keeping my money, but it’s refusing to even respond to questions about the non-delivery any more.

After posting about my experience on Twitter and LinkedIn it seems there are many many others who have had terrible experiences getting refunds from Amazon after it has failed to deliver expensive goods.

And then there was this final kick in the teeth, when I requested that my complaint be escalated:

I understand that you would like to escalate this, however, all Amazon account specialists are trained to find the best possible resolutions for our customers’ issues.

Well Amazon, I can help you find the “best possible resolution” for this customer. Give me my money back or deliver the bloody iPhone and case that you failed to deliver to me.

So, what are my next steps?

Well, I can request a chargeback from my payment card company – a way of getting your money back when you don’t receive the goods or services you have paid for, and a retailer is refusing to refund.

However, I have been told by a number of people that Amazon really really doesn’t like people doing this to them, and consumers can find themselves blocked from using any of Amazon’s services in future. If true, that seems to me to be rather petty revenge – especially when it was Amazon that was at fault in the first place.

I have also reported the theft/fraud of the iPhone to the police. I have done that, although Thames Valley Police have told me that they are not going to investigate. Presumably they, like me, consider this to be Amazon’s problem.

I can also take Amazon to the Small Claims Court, where Amazon would be compelled to provide actual proof that it delivered the iPhone 15 and case to me.

It is, of course, absolutely ridiculous for a customer to go to such lengths to get a refund or replacement from Amazon. But it seems there are no other ways to get around the brick wall that is its customer service department.

Well, I guess I could always make a video and write a blog post complaining about Amazon’s appalling customer service – and ask friendly viewers and readers to share them online.

Is there anybody at Amazon who still cares about looking after their legitimate honest customers?

Update 4 April 2024:

Kicking up a stink about Amazon’s failure to deliver a £700 iPhone to me (and then refusing to refund/replace) has – I’m delighted to say – resulted in the money being returned to me today. 🥳

What I’ve learnt:

  • Exploiting social media and video to complain can get the attention of @AmazonUK’s PR team

What I haven’t learnt:

  • What happened to the iPhone
  • Why Amazon insisted it had been “handed to resident” when it hadn’t
  • If Amazon got a signature upon “delivery” (as they claimed they would) (and, if so, who from?)
  • Why Amazon’s customer service team wasn’t able to properly handle the issue, but preferred to tell me it wouldn’t respond to future emails from me and considered the matter closed.

Thanks to everyone who shared my issue and helped Amazon see sense.

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