Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Sing it with me - 

On the fifth day of Christmas, Amazon France gave to me,
Beaucoup de soucis.

Two orders placed with two different Amazons (France & US), two problems encountered, two very different customer service experiences...

Amazon US customer service exchange:
La Mom : Hi, I’m calling from France because I just realized I sent a package to an incorrect address in Florida. It’s order #123456789.

Amazon US : No problem ! I can help you with that ! Yep, I see here the order came back full circle and is at our warehouse. I can send out a new one today, if you have the new address.

La Mom : Great. The address is blah blah blah blah.

Amazon US : Can I help you with anything else ?

La Mom : No, thank you so much.

Amazon France customer service exchange:
La Mom : Bonjour, a package I ordered has not shown up at it's delivery address. It was sent to my in-law’s home in Aix-en-Provence. Order numéro 123456789.

Amazon France : Are you sure you gave us the right address ? It’s 211 Rue Le Bon ?

La Mom : Oui.  

Amazon FR : You’re sure that’s the right address ?

La Mom : Yes. Your site says the package was delivered December 3rd, today is the 10th, and there’s still no package at my in-law’s house.

Amazon FR : Baaa, baaa, have your in-laws checked with the neighbors to see if the package was delivered to them by accident ?

La Mom : No.

Amazon FR : They need to check with their neighbors.

La Mom : Pardonnez-moi? Amazon can’t locate a package full of Christmas presents for my kids, so it’s up to my in-laws to go ask their neighbors if they’ve received it ?

Amazon FR : Oui.

(La Mom visualizes the scene)

La Mom :  Are you kidding ? My in-laws are old and one walks with a cane. There’s no way I’m going to tell two 80 year olds they have to check with their neighbors for a box full of presents. They don’t even know all of their neighbors. Franchement. 

Amazon FR : The package was delivered. It’s up to them to find it.

La Mom : Do you have someone’s signature indicating the package was received ? Because if you don’t, then it wasn’t. It’s your job to find it.

Amazon FR : Non, pas de signature, but the shipping records indicate the package was delivered.

La Mom : It wasn’t, so you need to ship a new one asap. Please.

Amazon FR : Désolée, c’est impossible.

(Sidebar : Whoa, wait. Wasn’t it France's great emperor Napoléan who coined the proverb, 
« Impossible n’est pas français » ? Yeah, right.)

La Mom : I’m a premium customer, doesn’t that count for anything ? Laissez-moi parler avec votre manager, s'il vous plaît.

Amazon FR : Un moment.


And the line was disconnected.

As one of my favorite ex-pat bloggers, David Lebovitz says, WTF.

WTF = Welcome To France


Maria O. Russell said...

La Mom, I agree 100% with you in your predicament. I´m so sorry!

How many times in the past I´ve told myself: That beautiful country where the customer is never right!

Maria O. Russell said...

"WTF" indeed!!!

Sara Louise said...

Yep, that sounds about right. I miss customer service.
WTF indeed!

Mlle Norvegienne said...

I am sorry to laugh, because this is not funny. It's really frustrating. But I am so familiar with these kinds of situations in France that you have no idea. You either have to laugh or to cry. Very often in this country I find. Although I love it for so many other reasons.

mlle norvegienne

Marianne said...

Sounds like Australia !(from another expat American missing USA-style customer service).

vicki archer said...

I can relate to this!! My packages get left everywhere but chez moi... How about this... The other day they were left on the back of the tractor... yes the tractor... which was parked in the olive groves... I give up with the delivery service in France... it's so frustrating it's unbelievable....

I hope you get your parcels asap.... xv

Kat said...

As une française expat in Canada I laughed so hard my coffee almost squirted our of places it has no business being. Very true. Very funny.

Theresa said...

Having lived two years in Paris, this is all too real. On a par with dealing with a broken refrigerator and getting the first repairman's appointment three days later. But how I miss living there anyway!

Theresa said...

Reminds me of trying to get a repairman for a dead refrigerator. Happy to help--three days later. Seriously? Customer service does not translate, I guess. But I would move back to Paris tomorrow if I could!

La Mom-an American Mom in Paris said...

@Maria @Sara @Marianne @Theresa - Merci beaucoup for your sympathy and support! It's a tough job living in France as an ex-pat, but somebody's gotta do it, right?

@Mlle Norvegienne - It's ok to laugh? I'd laugh, too, if it wasn't happening to me.

@vicki archer - The tractor, really? My goodness, can French delivery can any worse than that? WTF?

@Kat - Glad this made you laugh, hope the coffee didn't burn your nostrils :-)

MademoisElla Coquine said...

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I can't. This was an amazing post! I can't believe this happened....

"Go to the neighbors" ?!?!?!?!?!

So good, La Mom! I hope you get the package... : /

Happy Holidays!

SE said...

I love the side by side comparisons- and god knows, as messed up as the US is right now, it's nice to know there are still some things we can do right.

Oh, and I will never use Fr Amazon after reading this exchange!

Charlene said...

I just found your blog and I LOVE it! (You are living my fantasy life BTW - for years I've wanted to move my family abroad and write a blog -or you know, a Redbook column- about it.) You are living the dream sistah! And this Amazon story just cracked me up! WTF indeed!

La Mom-an American Mom in Paris said...

@EllaCoquine - Still waiting!

@SE - Customer service is never messed up in the US!

@CHarlene - Thank you for stopping by! Hope you achieve your dream one day. Living here is fab!

Susan said...

I am not sure how it works in France, but when USPS says a package has been delivered they have to enter the address. My packages sometimes have a "delivered" status, but then when I check the address, they were dropped off at the wrong location. (I check it by calling the phone number given and entering my tracking number). I then call whatever company I've ordered from and let them know (this happened surprisingly often, I think my postman likes to drink). I hope everything gets ironed out and your kids get their presents!

La Mom-an American Mom in Paris said...

@Susan - Thanks for your advice. No address is indicate, just the city. Everything finally worked out, by the way. Père Noel will visit the French Fries after all!

KB said...

Quel bonheur quotidien. And somehow they make it sound like it is your fault. I always feel the need to ask. "What is the actual service you provide?"


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