How to convince amazon.com - Spending is difficult and confusing to track

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Post Reply
Topic Author
EnjoyTheJourney
Posts: 97
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:36 pm

How to convince amazon.com - Spending is difficult and confusing to track

Post by EnjoyTheJourney » Mon May 18, 2020 8:55 am

Problem:

amazon.com presents order history in a way that makes it confusing and time consuming to categorize and track expenses in a detailed way. You need to click on an "invoice" screen separately for each order completed. Also, they often take payments in multiple steps for a single order, details for which can only be found on the invoice screen. Essentially, matching what you see on an expense tracking screen or credit card statement and on the orders screens for amazon.com is a confusing and time consuming process. Plus, they tend to do refunds to an amazon.com gift card when they can, which adds another layer to the complexity (and time) it takes to understand one's own spending patterns.

At the end of the day, perhaps there's a narrow-minded view at some vendors (amazon.com perhaps included) that if people don't know what they're spending then they'll spend more. But, that view rejects taking the longer view about what happens to spending when families struggle to manage their finances. It ignores or discounts the reputation effects associated with making life more difficult for customers. It also ignores the potential increase in sales from people who appreciate being able to find out in a simple way what their spending patterns are with a particular vendor. Essentially, there is reason to believe that "customer confusion about their spending = more sales" is an untested and probably naive point of view and that there is likely to be a shared interest in making it easy for customers to easily and transparently track their spending.

I'm not entirely certain how to go about raising the profile of this kind of issue with amazon.com. They're certainly not afraid to take bold steps in a new direction and they have the resources and willingness to experiment with a lot of different ideas. At the same time, it's probably hard to be heard given the sheer volume of feedback they routinely get.


A Potential Solution:

It would help many families if there was a way to convert the "orders" screen to a "payment source" screen so it would be easy to distinguish between gift card purchases and between different credit cards, in case more than one card is used. Ideally, this view would have the following information for each item bought:

all payments are organized by payment source (ie: specific credit cards, gift cards, ...)
dates of order, payment processing, and delivery for each payment made
exactly what was bought for each payment processed

Resources aren't anywhere near as much of an issue for amazon.com as for many other retailers; adding in a new UI layer would probably cost a tiny fraction of their sales and it would generate goodwill with customers; it would also be a point of differentiation between amazon.com and other online vendors.


A Question for Bogleheads

Regarding the issue of "How to be heard?", just hitting a feedback button on the website seems likely to be a waste of time, which is a key reason for this post. Perhaps one or more people here have had success at getting the attention of amazon.com higher-ups and/or knows of a more effective way of getting their attention and getting them to consider the idea of making their order screen UI less confusing and time consuming to navigate.

Thank you in advance for feedback and suggestions!

User avatar
leeks
Posts: 858
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:33 pm
Location: new york

Re: How to convince amazon.com - Spending is difficult and confusing to track

Post by leeks » Mon May 18, 2020 9:10 am

I don't think they want to make it easy to track how much you spend on Amazon...

Jags4186
Posts: 4873
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:12 pm

Re: How to convince amazon.com - Spending is difficult and confusing to track

Post by Jags4186 » Mon May 18, 2020 9:11 am

My feedback is to spend your time worrying about something else.

Mako
Posts: 280
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 9:34 am

Re: How to convince amazon.com - Spending is difficult and confusing to track

Post by Mako » Mon May 18, 2020 9:19 am

Would the order history report give you what you want?

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer ... =201983330

User avatar
jimmyq
Posts: 186
Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2013 6:34 pm

Re: How to convince amazon.com - Spending is difficult and confusing to track

Post by jimmyq » Mon May 18, 2020 9:20 am

There's an easier way to get a single detailed report from Amazon for a group of purchases. Got to "Your Account", and select "Download order reports", then you can select the time period for the report. Amazon will generate a nice spreadsheet with multiple columns, including Categories, payment type, price, description, etc. Once you have the report in spreadsheet form, you can sort it however you want within a program such as Excel.

MathWizard
Posts: 4173
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:35 pm

Re: How to convince amazon.com - Spending is difficult and confusing to track

Post by MathWizard » Mon May 18, 2020 9:26 am

I'm not sure why you have this problem, do you have multiple people accessing the same account?

An alternate and quicker solution is to:

Create multiple accounts with different passwords, and only use gift cards on only one of the accounts.


To get a large company's attention, you need a competitor to make that change and steal sales.

User avatar
WoodSpinner
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:15 pm

Re: How to convince amazon.com - Spending is difficult and confusing to track

Post by WoodSpinner » Mon May 18, 2020 9:29 am

jimmyq wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 9:20 am
There's an easier way to get a single detailed report from Amazon for a group of purchases. Got to "Your Account", and select "Download order reports", then you can select the time period for the report. Amazon will generate a nice spreadsheet with multiple columns, including Categories, payment type, price, description, etc. Once you have the report in spreadsheet form, you can sort it however you want within a program such as Excel.
Thanks, I didn’t realize this existed.

I have the same issue as the OP since I track my purchases in Quicken. It can be challenging to relate an order to a credit card billing. Doubly so since Orders for Digital items and Regular items aren’t displayed in the Orders screen together. Quadruply so since I also have to check against my wife’s purchases.

First world problems....

WoodSpinner

FishTaco
Posts: 111
Joined: Sat Jun 08, 2019 7:49 am

Re: How to convince amazon.com - Spending is difficult and confusing to track

Post by FishTaco » Mon May 18, 2020 9:35 am

A little off subject, but it may save someone else a couple of bucks.

The other annoying thing amazon does is that if you are not a prime member, they require you to manually select the free shipping option at checkout. The default is the slowest paid option.

brcarls
Posts: 61
Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2016 9:04 am
Location: VA,NC,SC

Re: How to convince amazon.com - Spending is difficult and confusing to track

Post by brcarls » Mon May 18, 2020 9:39 am

It annoyed me to no end when they stopped sending confirmation emails with any useful information. I used to keep an archive of order confirmations (from all vendors) so that if I need to re-order something I could look up what I bought in the past.

I understand that their marketing weasels want to force you to go to their website for invoices and order information and maybe make an impulse buy while you are there. I resent being manipulated though, so, being a spiteful and stubborn contrarian, from then on, I made it a point to buy from anywhere else if price and availability is even close. :?

mervinj7
Posts: 1462
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:10 pm

Re: How to convince amazon.com - Spending is difficult and confusing to track

Post by mervinj7 » Mon May 18, 2020 10:25 am

Mako wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 9:19 am
Would the order history report give you what you want?

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer ... =201983330
Very cool feature! Didn't realize they had an export to Excel option. The report does have:
  • Customizable Date Option (e.g. last month, YTD)
  • Items categorized
  • Payment Method Listed
  • Seller listed (e.g. Amazon or third-party)
  • Shipping Address
It does NOT:
  • Match CC charges to items. For example, if two items were shipped together, they will have one CC charge but will be two line items in this report.
EnjoyTheJourney wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 8:55 am

Problem:
It would help many families if there was a way to convert the "orders" screen to a "payment source" screen so it would be easy to distinguish between gift card purchases and between different credit cards, in case more than one card is used. Ideally, this view would have the following information for each item bought:

all payments are organized by payment source (ie: specific credit cards, gift cards, ...)
dates of order, payment processing, and delivery for each payment made
exactly what was bought for each payment processed
OP, does this report help? Maybe we should be sending feedback to other vendors to offer the same data dump option.

Note, I have the Amazon Prime Card. When purchases on Amazon.com show up on the CC statement, you can see every line item listed for each charge, so for me that satisfies most of your concerns.

MarkerFM
Posts: 314
Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2018 4:18 pm

Re: How to convince amazon.com - Spending is difficult and confusing to track

Post by MarkerFM » Thu May 21, 2020 4:12 pm

Looking at my Amazon account, I place about 250 orders per year from them. I also track every charge in Quicken and I've never had an issue with this. I don't tend to order many items in one order since we have Prime and there is no advantage to ordering more than one item in an order.

CatchingDaggers
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon May 11, 2020 3:57 pm

Re: How to convince amazon.com - Spending is difficult and confusing to track

Post by CatchingDaggers » Thu May 21, 2020 4:16 pm

Email jeff@amazon.com

Yes, seriously

junior
Posts: 1051
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2008 6:14 pm
Contact:

Re: How to convince amazon.com - Spending is difficult and confusing to track

Post by junior » Thu May 21, 2020 5:07 pm

This is a company that intermingles their own "shipped and sold by amazon" stock with third party often counterfeit merchandise and you think they care about reputation?

You should probably not buy anything at Amazon that goes in your body, it might be counterfeit and unsafe.

Topic Author
EnjoyTheJourney
Posts: 97
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:36 pm

Re: How to convince amazon.com - Spending is difficult and confusing to track

Post by EnjoyTheJourney » Mon May 25, 2020 11:04 am

Mako wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 9:19 am
Would the order history report give you what you want?

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer ... =201983330
Thank you very much!

I didn't know this existed. In fact, I couldn't find it on screen after logging in no matter where I looked. So, I bookmarked that webpage and it will hopefully work in the future.

Topic Author
EnjoyTheJourney
Posts: 97
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:36 pm

Re: How to convince amazon.com - Spending is difficult and confusing to track

Post by EnjoyTheJourney » Mon May 25, 2020 11:08 am

MarkerFM wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 4:12 pm
Looking at my Amazon account, I place about 250 orders per year from them. I also track every charge in Quicken and I've never had an issue with this. I don't tend to order many items in one order since we have Prime and there is no advantage to ordering more than one item in an order.
The order history spreadsheet that can be downloaded is fairly thorough, but also challenging to navigate. Putting together fewer items per order may be the simplest and best solution.

Thank you for your feedback.

Topic Author
EnjoyTheJourney
Posts: 97
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:36 pm

Re: How to convince amazon.com - Spending is difficult and confusing to track

Post by EnjoyTheJourney » Mon May 25, 2020 11:32 am

CatchingDaggers wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 4:16 pm
Email jeff@amazon.com

Yes, seriously
Done.

TYVM!

HEDGEFUNDIE
Posts: 4801
Joined: Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:06 pm

Re: How to convince amazon.com - Spending is difficult and confusing to track

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Mon May 25, 2020 11:36 am

EnjoyTheJourney wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 11:08 am
MarkerFM wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 4:12 pm
Looking at my Amazon account, I place about 250 orders per year from them. I also track every charge in Quicken and I've never had an issue with this. I don't tend to order many items in one order since we have Prime and there is no advantage to ordering more than one item in an order.
The order history spreadsheet that can be downloaded is fairly thorough, but also challenging to navigate. Putting together fewer items per order may be the simplest and best solution.

Thank you for your feedback.
Use a pivot table to group the purchases by order.

KyleAAA
Posts: 8333
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2009 5:35 pm
Contact:

Re: How to convince amazon.com - Spending is difficult and confusing to track

Post by KyleAAA » Tue May 26, 2020 12:43 am

Jeff Bezos is known to actually read customer emails. There are tons of free tools you could use to accomplish this though.

Post Reply