In retrospect, I'm wondering if giving the initial rep who chatted with me a quick summary of the root cause of the problem was the best choice...
So many common customer care problems in a nutshell: assuming you understand the problem, assuming the customer doesn't, not bothering to pay enough attention, trying to dump the customer without actually making a real effort to resolve the problem, patronizing the customer...if "Anurag C" had directly insulted me and then disconnected, he would have succeeded in actually doing pretty much everything wrong. As it is, Amazon is set to lose quite a bit of money needlessly if they don't pay attention to customers like me. I'm fairly sure Amazon set up a system default to not allow anything that includes the word "computer" in the description to ship to APO/FPO addresses. Hey, it's their money to lose, right?
You are now connected to Anurag C from Amazon.com.
Me:Your website is automatically blocking my purchase of Pelican Products 1055CC HardBack Case with Computer Liner (1055-003-110) because it has the word "computer" in it.
Even though I am attempting to purchase a _case_ which is in no way a restricted item.
Anurag C:Hello, my name is Anurag. I'll be happy to help you today.
Anurag C:Could you please let me know the error message being displayed?
Me:The error is that I cannot send this *case* to an APO/FPO because it has the word "computer" in the description, and Amazon has not specifically set limitations on the appropriate items.
Anurag C:Most items can be shipped to APO, FPO, and DPO addresses, with a few exceptions. The restrictions for these addresses are listed in our Help pages:
Me:In other words, Amazon has automatically set an product description that includes the word "computer" to automatically not allow shipping to military addresses.
Anurag C:If we're unable to ship an item to the address selected, you'll see a message about that while placing the order.
Me:I **know** what the exceptions are.
Again, I know this.
You *are* able to ship. Amazon has incorrectly configured their website.
There are no restrictions on cases, which is what the product I am attempting to purchase is.
Anurag C:John, shipping of an item to a particular destination depends on Warranty and legal restrictions.
Me:Mr. C, I know this.
Don't waste my time.
I told you what the problem is.
You don't understand my description of the problem, so now you're babbling.
Anurag C:I apologize for the inconvenience you have experienced as a result of our policy that restricts the shipment of certain items to APO/FPO addresses.
Me:That is not why I have experienced a problem.
Anurag C:We hold all U.S. military personnel in high regard. Many Amazon.com employees are former military or dependents ourselves, and we personally know how difficult it can be to be stationed away from home.
Me:I have experienced a problem as a result of incorrect coding on the website.
The problem is your website.
Anurag C:Unfortunately, we are not able to ship all products offered at Amazon.com to APO/FPO addresses.
Me:You're repeating yourself, and not listening.
The reason Amazon.com is not letting me ship to my FPO, is that it is reading what I am attempting to purchase as a computer part.
I am NOT purchasing a computer part.
Anurag C:No, John. That isn't the case.
Me:Stop calling me by my first name. I don't know you. You're not family, and you're definitely not my friend.
I, in fact, am trying to purchase a case.
The site thinks I am trying to purchase a computer part, which *would* be a restricted item.
(as would lithium batteries, etc, etc)
Anurag C:I'm so sorry, but we can't offer any additional insight or action on this matter.
Is there anything else I can help you with?
Me:Yes. You can advise Amazon that the hard case I am attempting to purchase is coded as a computer part, which it is not.
Further, you can have your supervisor contact me soonest.
Anurag C:Please allow me a minute while I transfer this chat to my supervisor.
A Customer Service Associate will be with you in a moment.
You are now connected to Akhil from Amazon.com.
Akhil:Hello I'm Akhil, the floor supervisor.
Me:Good evening, sir.
Akhil:Good evening, sir.
Could you please be on hold for a minute or two while I look into your previous conversation with us.
Me:Sure, or I could quickly bring you up to speed.
I am attempting to purchase a hard case.
Me:It seems the Amazon.com website is configured so anything with the word "computer" in the description is automatically not allowed to ship to APO/FPO addresses.
What I am attempting to purchase is a hard case to HOLD a computer, but being no part of a computer, and not electronic in any way, it is not a controlled item.
This is an error on the website programmer's part.
Akhil:Please allow me minute or two while I look into this.
Me:Sure, thank you.
Akhil:Thank you for being on hold. I understand that you were trying place an order for the Pelican Hardback Case. I see that you are trying to ship it to an FPO address. I'm really sorry that the our system isn't allowing you to place this order to the FPO address.
Me:Can you help?
Akhil:Currently, the only thing that I can do is to report this to our specialist team and see if this item can be shipped to FPO addresses.
Me:Okay, that would be a start.
It could be a mistake on just how this item is coded, but I'm afraid it's a system-wide error on Amazon's site.
Akhil:If that is the case, I'm sure we will be definitely make the necessary changes if a glitch is found. But for that it takes some time for the specialist team to look into this. So, I will definitely report this to our team and follow up. I will send you a mail once they get back to me.
Me:I appreciate it. Thanks for listening better than "Mr. C" and have a pleasant evening.
Akhil:You're welcome. Thank you for contacting Amazon. We look forward to see you again soon.