Amazon package that can't be traced

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Lynette
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by Lynette » Fri May 11, 2018 11:55 am

VictoriaF wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 4:53 pm
I have received an Amazon package that I had not ordered. It contains two items, one of which is a rather personal clothing item that is several sizes different from my size, and the other one is nice but I don't have use for. There is no invoice in the package. The package does not show in my Amazon Order history.

I have contacted Amazon and had a chat session with their customer service representative. The CSR asked me for the package identification, and I typed for him the UPS tracking number and all other mixed text strings I found on the package. The CSR told me that none of these strings represents the package ID, and that it was a gift. He said that gifts are sent without an invoice.

I am puzzled because anyone who knows me would have chosen a different size, not necessarily a perfect fit but at least an educated guess. And anyone who does not know me could have sent me a size-independent gift that I could read. While there is no invoice, the items have price labels with the total cost of $125.

I received a transcript of the chat session and don't have to worry about being charged. But I am curious if it's really a gift or some type of a fraud.

Victoria
Would it help if they had a photo? Maybe you could take one of your two smartphones out of the boxes in your close, open one, connect it to your wifi, take photos or all of the markings, send them to the Amazon Rep and put the smartphone back in the box!

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Pajamas
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by Pajamas » Fri May 11, 2018 11:56 am

TravelGeek wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 11:42 am
Without having information about the purchaser or the purchase, how can Amazon accept a "verified purchase" review for the product?
Supposedly a "Verified Purchase" review means that the product was bought from Amazon and wasn't deeply discounted, so it's actually a bit hit-or-miss. Even if you buy something sold by Amazon itself that is on sale at a significant discount from full price, a review might not have the "Verified Purchase" tag. Amazon has even been known to remove those reviews because their algorithms identified them as fraudulent.

Amazon would not mark a review for an item not purchased on Amazon as "Verified Purchase" but they would still accept the review. Amazon does not require that items be purchased on Amazon for a customer to leave a review.

TravelGeek
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by TravelGeek » Fri May 11, 2018 11:59 am

Pajamas wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 11:56 am
TravelGeek wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 11:42 am
Without having information about the purchaser or the purchase, how can Amazon accept a "verified purchase" review for the product?
Supposedly a "Verified Purchase" review means that the product was bought from Amazon and wasn't deeply discounted, so it's actually a bit hit-or-miss. Even if you buy something sold by Amazon itself that is on sale at a significant discount from full price, a review might not have the "Verified Purchase" tag. Amazon has even been known to remove those reviews because their algorithms identified them as fraudulent.

Amazon would not mark a review for an item not purchased on Amazon as "Verified Purchase" but they would still accept the review. Amazon does not require that items be purchased on Amazon for a customer to leave a review.
Sure, but my understanding of the scam is to create these orders in Amazon's system solely for the purpose of being able to submit highly rated (and high value) verified purchase reviews. Otherwise, what's the point of actually shipping a product to a random person; they might as well create a dozen fake Amazon accounts and submit reviews for their product with "I bought this somewhere else, but it is an awesome product that I think you should buy". No order in Amazon's system, tied to a particular user account, no way of creating a verified purchase review.

inbox788
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by inbox788 » Fri May 11, 2018 12:05 pm

TravelGeek wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 11:42 am
inbox788 wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 11:29 am
Amazon does have lots of information and data, but yes, it's doable, though I wouldn't call it "fairly trivial" to search through their entire databases to find an address.
That's what databases are for -- storing and retrieving stuff :)

It's fairly trivial for Google to find anything and everything when I enter a search criteria. And Amazon has invested in search technology as well: https://www.a9.com/

Again... if they wanted to. Much easier to say "Sorry, we don't know" and move on. Higher ratings sell more stuff, I suppose.
Pajamas wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 11:36 am
Some sellers use Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment services so Amazon might have information only about the vendor who supplied the merchandise to Amazon and asked to have it shipped to a particular address but have no information about the purchaser or purchase itself.

Without having information about the purchaser or the purchase, how can Amazon accept a "verified purchase" review for the product?
Google (and Amazon) have made search seem trivial, but it's not. Just look at the trouble Microsoft has encountered with indexing and searching a single computer ( https://lifehacker.com/5887848/make-win ... ple-tweaks ). Finding all files with name "tax" on them is fairly trivial, and probably nearly instant if you've indexed it. But what if I wanted to locate a file with "Vanguard" and "tax" somewhere on my hard drive? Or is that "Tax" or "taxes" I was looking for? And is it on an external drive or flash drive? Someday, Alexa will find it for me, even if my request is fuzzy. FWIW, I can't even order peanut butter correctly with Alexa today.

And even if they got the answer, it opens up a can of worms about disclosure. They'd have to establish policy and training as to what to do. Line employees are not equipped to handle this, and we can't reach senior enough staff who can do the search and have the judgement/leeway to do something about it. What privacy is there to anonymous gifting, if any? Given what I've heard so far, it's a small problem (in scale and scope), and isn't likely to be prioritized. The solution may be similar to the caller ID problem with sender verification that seems to have helped the email spam situation a bit, but I'm not sure how that would be implemented in physical delivery, and it would apply to the buyer (since Amazon is the sender of physical goods).

https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/sp ... -caller-id
https://o365info.com/using-sender-verif ... rt-8-of-9/

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Pajamas
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by Pajamas » Fri May 11, 2018 12:23 pm

TravelGeek wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 11:59 am
Sure, but my understanding of the scam is to create these orders in Amazon's system solely for the purpose of being able to submit highly rated (and high value) verified purchase reviews. Otherwise, what's the point of actually shipping a product to a random person; they might as well create a dozen fake Amazon accounts and submit reviews for their product with "I bought this somewhere else, but it is an awesome product that I think you should buy". No order in Amazon's system, tied to a particular user account, no way of creating a verified purchase review.
There are so many marketing scams on Amazon and other sites and variations of the various scams.

Verified Purchase reviews have a greater weight in Amazon's algorithms and calculations, but other reviews count. Could be the reason an item with two reviews has a 2.9 star rating, for instance, as someone pointed out above.

This article says that Amazon doesn't think the reviews are even the point of the mysterious shipments, but I don't accept that as a fact.

http://www.businessinsider.com/people-r ... der-2018-2

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Sat May 12, 2018 10:58 am

Alexa9 wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 11:50 am
If it's a gift you can return it for an Amazon credit FYI. There may also be a phone number on the receipt. If there's no gift message and no one contacts you, I would just return it.
Why would you go through the hassle of returning it?

I've seem some stories about the situation on the lo-cal news. Some people getting locked in with the senders and get lots of packages. Some just start their own ebay business. After all, they can undercut on price as their wholesale cost is 0.
This week's fortune cookie: "Your financial life will be secure and beneficial." So I got that going for me, which is nice.

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Alexa9
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by Alexa9 » Sat May 12, 2018 12:28 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 10:58 am
Why would you go through the hassle of returning it?

I've seem some stories about the situation on the lo-cal news. Some people getting locked in with the senders and get lots of packages. Some just start their own ebay business. After all, they can undercut on price as their wholesale cost is 0.
Returning things on Amazon is not a hassle. UPS will pick it up and it's free and you'll get the full value as a gift card credit.

TravelGeek
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by TravelGeek » Sat May 12, 2018 2:38 pm

Alexa9 wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 12:28 pm
Returning things on Amazon is not a hassle. UPS will pick it up and it's free and you'll get the full value as a gift card credit.
Have you done that without knowing the order number? How would they (Amazon) know the full value if they claim they can’t determine the order from the tracking number or recipient information?

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by jalbert » Sat May 12, 2018 2:48 pm

While it doesn’t seem to apply to the present situation, always check your credit cards for compromise if you receive purchased merchandise you did not order. Some vendors always ship to the billing address of a credit card as a fraud deterrent even if a different shipping address is used.
Risk is not a guarantor of return.

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VictoriaF
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by VictoriaF » Mon May 14, 2018 1:23 pm

TravelGeek wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 7:02 pm
VictoriaF wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:30 pm

But you see, with paperclips I would not have been thinking "I wish they fitted me!"

Victoria
Could you ask Amazon to exchange it for an item in your size? ;)

It's disturbing that Amazon doesn't seem to be interested in tracking down these packages, linking them to orders and then disallowing a review on that order (or even better, penalizing the buyer/seller). But I guess positive reviews sell more stuff. :confused
I was away for the weekend and re-gifted the items to family members. I told them the story of the package and assured them that there would be no hard feelings if they threw the stuff away.

As of now, there are no new reviews of either item.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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VictoriaF
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by VictoriaF » Mon May 14, 2018 1:26 pm

TravelGeek wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 7:20 pm
VictoriaF wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:49 pm
I have found both items. One is made in China, the other one in the USA. The companies are very different. Both items are sold via Amazon rather than 3rd party sellers. The prices showing on Amazon are identical to those on the price tags, for the total of $124.99. One item has the average Amazon rating of 3.1 of 5, based on 3 reviews. The other item has the rating of 2.9 of 5, based on 2 reviews.
I'd probably leave a 2 star review for each item:

pros: didn't cost me anything
cons: I didn't order it in the first place and what I got didn't fit me. Scam alert.
My review would not be credible, because these items do not show as "Verified Purchase." More importantly, my Amazon ID is intentionally ambiguous, a pun that implies a male user. I never review items that would expose me as a woman.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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VictoriaF
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by VictoriaF » Mon May 14, 2018 1:28 pm

Boston Barry wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 3:33 am
VictoriaF wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:49 pm
Pajamas wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:35 pm
Check to see if the items are sold by the same vendor as an item you have purchased in the past. That might not be the case as many vendors have multiple accounts even though they are not supposed to have but one and they also use third parties to help with "marketing" issues such as this, partially because of language barriers. The third parties maintain databases of customer demographics.
Great idea, Thanks!

I have found both items. One is made in China, the other one in the USA. The companies are very different. Both items are sold via Amazon rather than 3rd party sellers. The prices showing on Amazon are identical to those on the price tags, for the total of $124.99. One item has the average Amazon rating of 3.1 of 5, based on 3 reviews. The other item has the rating of 2.9 of 5, based on 2 reviews.

Victoria
How do you have a rating of 2.9 from only 2 reviews?
I get it by hoovering the mouse over the stars. How Amazon got it is a better question. (For the record, I know that (1 + 5)/2 = 3).

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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VictoriaF
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by VictoriaF » Mon May 14, 2018 1:33 pm

Good Listener wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 7:39 pm
I think Victoria has a secret admirer who simply has no concept of women's clothes sizes. Maybe roses will follow.
A secret admirer without a concept of women's shapes and sizes probably does not have a concept of roses either. I am bracing myself for receiving a spectacular Victoria Secret package that is tantalizingly unsuitable.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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VictoriaF
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by VictoriaF » Mon May 14, 2018 1:39 pm

triceratop wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 8:37 pm
Good Listener wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 7:39 pm
I think Victoria has a secret admirer who simply has no concept of women's clothes sizes. Maybe roses will follow.
Or it is a secret admirer who very much has a concept of women's clothes sizes and with an intent to flatter chose a different size in the appropriate direction of error to be flattering.
In his attempt to flatter me, the secret admirer has envisioned me significantly flatter, which did not flatter me.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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VictoriaF
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by VictoriaF » Mon May 14, 2018 1:42 pm

HueyLD wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 9:40 pm
Well, I am still waiting for my mysterious package to arrive. Hopefully I will get the stuff I like and of the right size. :)
Your secret admirer is taking time to select the stuff you like and of the right size. He is more thoughtful than mine.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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VictoriaF
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by VictoriaF » Mon May 14, 2018 1:45 pm

gotester2000 wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 12:34 am
Curious to know:-

1. Why cant Amazon trace the package if it is routed to a physical address? Can somebody order/ship items without Amazon knowing it through Amazon - that is unbelievable?
Beats me!
gotester2000 wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 12:34 am
2. How can Amazon force the receiver to pay for the shipment if they do not have the order reference in the system?
I am not forced to pay anything. The order is not in my history. My account has not been charged. I have a transcript of a chat session with an Amazon CSR who has assured me that I am free to do with it whatever I want.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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VictoriaF
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by VictoriaF » Mon May 14, 2018 1:51 pm

Alexa9 wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 11:50 am
If it's a gift you can return it for an Amazon credit FYI. There may also be a phone number on the receipt. If there's no gift message and no one contacts you, I would just return it.
There was no phone number on the receipt. I re-gifted the items to people who may be able to use them or pass to someone else. The most exciting outcome would be if the items had traveled among 150 million American women and got back to me.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by VictoriaF » Mon May 14, 2018 1:56 pm

Lynette wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 11:55 am
Would it help if they had a photo? Maybe you could take one of your two smartphones out of the boxes in your close, open one, connect it to your wifi, take photos or all of the markings, send them to the Amazon Rep and put the smartphone back in the box!
Hi Lynnette,

You have put your finger on my core issue! The Amazon CSR has, in fact, asked me to make a picture of the package and send it to them. I told him that I did not have a camera and proceeded re-typing all the numbers I have found on the package. Later in the chat, he again asked me for a photo, and once again, I told him that I was camera-challenged.

For the record, I now have two smartphones in two separate boxes, one dated 2013 and the other 2017. I'll probably buy another phone in 2021.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by VictoriaF » Mon May 14, 2018 1:59 pm

jalbert wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 2:48 pm
While it doesn’t seem to apply to the present situation, always check your credit cards for compromise if you receive purchased merchandise you did not order. Some vendors always ship to the billing address of a credit card as a fraud deterrent even if a different shipping address is used.
Yes, of course. I did check my credit cards and so far did not find anything to the tune of $124.99.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by cherijoh » Mon May 14, 2018 2:14 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 4:53 pm
I have contacted Amazon and had a chat session with their customer service representative. The CSR asked me for the package identification, and I typed for him the UPS tracking number and all other mixed text strings I found on the package. The CSR told me that none of these strings represents the package ID, and that it was a gift. He said that gifts are sent without an invoice.

Victoria
Hi Victoria,

Coincidentally I just got a package from Amazon this afternoon (which I had ordered). It didn't have an invoice either.

My order number showed up nowhere on the package, but when I checked the tracking number in my Amazon history it matched the second barcode on the rectangular label with the shipping address. It started with TBA and then a string of 12 numbers.

I also had a third barcode that showed up as a separate rectangular label. (The label size was 3"x2"). It was just a bar code with a mixture of small and capitalized letters mixed in with numbers on a line below the barcode itself. I wonder it that was the package ID?

What is really weird is that along with tracking info they included a photo of the package sitting on my front porch. I guess that is to combat claims that it was never delivered.

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VictoriaF
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by VictoriaF » Mon May 14, 2018 2:52 pm

cherijoh wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 2:14 pm
VictoriaF wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 4:53 pm
I have contacted Amazon and had a chat session with their customer service representative. The CSR asked me for the package identification, and I typed for him the UPS tracking number and all other mixed text strings I found on the package. The CSR told me that none of these strings represents the package ID, and that it was a gift. He said that gifts are sent without an invoice.

Victoria
Hi Victoria,

Coincidentally I just got a package from Amazon this afternoon (which I had ordered). It didn't have an invoice either.

My order number showed up nowhere on the package, but when I checked the tracking number in my Amazon history it matched the second barcode on the rectangular label with the shipping address. It started with TBA and then a string of 12 numbers.

I also had a third barcode that showed up as a separate rectangular label. (The label size was 3"x2"). It was just a bar code with a mixture of small and capitalized letters mixed in with numbers on a line below the barcode itself. I wonder it that was the package ID?

What is really weird is that along with tracking info they included a photo of the package sitting on my front porch. I guess that is to combat claims that it was never delivered.
Hi cherijoh,

Thank you for a data point. Next time I receive a package I have actually ordered, I'll check the numbers.

I don't have the envelope any more and the items are re-gifted to pre-teen family members. But if I have any credibility with you, please believe me that I have thoroughly checked the entire envelope (it was an envelope, not a cardboard box), and carefully retyped all the numbers I have found. Some numbers were large and easily visible, such as the UPS shipment number. Others were very small on a tiny label, and I used a magnifying glass to see them. I seldom make mistakes, because I always double check my typing. However, even if I had made a mistake, the CSR would have told me that the format of some number was correct but the value did not match.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

TravelGeek
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by TravelGeek » Wed May 16, 2018 8:10 pm

cherijoh wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 2:14 pm
Coincidentally I just got a package from Amazon this afternoon (which I had ordered). It didn't have an invoice either.
I don't think I have received an Amazon package with order slip in years. Cost savings, I assume.

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by TravelGeek » Wed May 16, 2018 8:55 pm

So it looks like someone thought I don't have enough stuff yet, and decided to include me in this little game. Today I got three Amazon shipments. One that I had actually ordered, and two "surprises". No inappropriate / ill-fitting clothing, but rather a $45 item and a $20 item (perhaps to be disclosed later) that none of my friends or family would likely send to me as a gift. I don't know that I would spend time trying to sell these items on EBay or Craigslist, and they are not really donation-ware for Goodwill.

Both shipments came via UPS. One required a signature. The likely sellers on Amazon are different companies, but the items are related (one is an accessory for the other one). Packaging labels on both shipments show a "Gift Inside" notation in the upper left-hand corner.

I found this page on Amazon that explains how to return gift items:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer ... =202025990

I have submitted a request to refund one of the items to a gift card (to be given to me, I hope). I provided the name and link to the item and the tracking number.

Stay tuned :)

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