I ordered an iPad – so why on earth did Amazon send me cat food and chicken wire?
When Mike Oliver ordered an iPad Pro from Amazon, he was sent a roll of chicken wire. After complaining and returning the wire, he was told a replacement iPad could be picked up from an Amazon vault at his local Co-op store.
When he opened the locker with the code Amazon had given him, he discovered that this time he had been given a box of original cat food from Felix. Mike doesn’t keep chickens at his home in Hampshire, although he does have three cats.
Since late September, Mike, 58, a special needs teacher from Chandler’s Ford, has been battling the US tech giant to get refunds for the two iPads he was billed for but never received. He emailed and called numerous times – and provided all the documentation requested, including photos of the chicken wire and cat food. But, all in vain.
Bizarre: Mike fought with Amazon after it sent cat food and chicken wire… instead of an iPad
“It was incredibly frustrating and I kept apologizing to the person I spoke to at Amazon for getting so angry,” Mike says. “The more I complained, the slippery the reactions I got. In terms of patience, I was brought to the wire.’ (No chicken wire). Fortunately, Mike doesn’t have to worry anymore.
Last week, after intervention by The Mail on Sunday, Amazon finally admitted the mistakes and said it would refund him the cost of the two iPads (more than £2,000).
In an email to Mike, a representative of the company that bills itself as “the most customer-centric company on the planet,” he said, “I’m really sorry to hear that you haven’t received the two most important items in your orders. Rest assured that I will conduct a comprehensive review to identify any areas for improvement. When I’m ready, I’ll forward my findings to the appropriate leadership team to ensure we improve your future experiences.” In addition to the refund, Mike was given a £50 gift card, which he says comes out at £3 for every “painful, soul-devouring hour” he spent sorting out the mess.
His troubles started on September 23 when he ordered an iPad Pro along with a case and screen protector. The total price was £1,069, although he chose to pay through an interest-free repayment schedule promoted on Amazon’s website by bank Barclays.
A regular Amazon customer since 1999, he has been waiting for his iPad. Two days later a driver came to his house with two packages. To Mike’s horror, there was no iPad – just the screen protector and iPad case.
He immediately called Amazon and it said the driver would be returned to him with the missing iPad Pro. The driver reappeared, but when he opened the box, there was only a roll of chicken wire inside. “I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Mike says. When contacting Amazon, he was told that the correct item had been delivered. To prove otherwise, he was told to take a photo of the chicken wire, the shipping label on the box, and any other barcodes. He was also asked to return the wire.
He duly did this with the company agreeing to provide another iPad Pro, but this time in an Amazon vault at his local Co-op store in Chandler’s Ford. When he opened the box, he discovered packets of Felix original cat food – ‘packed with wholesome goodness’. He took a photo and had someone from Co-op check that the contents of the locker were packets of cat food. Despite being a replacement iPad for the first non-delivery, Amazon billed it again.
Over the next few weeks, Mike made a series of phone calls to Amazon — and countless emails. He says, “I was constantly getting a detour. I was sent from one department to another.’ He adds: ‘I was told they would help me, and then the phone would go dead. They would then say they were having technical issues and should end our chat. Sometimes they said that the forms I filled out were not filled in correctly or they sent me the same form again.’
An email he received read: “This is just to confirm that you told me you received cat food in lieu of the 2021 Apple iPad Pro (12.9-inch, Wi-Fi, 256GB) – Space Gray (5th generation). I have noted that the reason for the return is that you have received the wrong item, which is the cat food. I wish you a nice day. Watch your safety. Bye for now.’
Mike says wishing him a great day was infuriated because he hadn’t had one since the whole mess started.
On Friday, Amazon confirmed that the monthly payments Mike made for the two interest-free credit agreements with Barclays would be repaid — and that the payment plans would be canceled. But it did not provide any explanation as to how the two mistakes had been made. For example, whether it was the result of incorrect labeling or driver fraud.
Mike told the MoS, “Thank you for getting Amazon to do something it should have done weeks ago.” He has now successfully purchased an iPad Pro from John Lewis, with no accompanying cat food or chicken wire.
Ironically, he’s going to use the gift card to buy Felix cat food for his feline friends.