UPDATE: Wednesday, March 5th @ 10:41am. SEE BOTTOM OF POST TO READ UPDATES.
I've been a member of Amazon Prime for several years now. I enjoy the shit out of Amazon Prime. I buy a ton of things from the site whether it's music, movies, video games, household appliances, and whatever else I might see and decide I must have. I don't want to think of how much I have spent over the years on MP3's alone.
The reason I have Amazon Prime is the shipping perks. I don't necessarily care about the Instant Streaming perks, although that's nice. And I have an iPad, so the Kindle Lending thing doesn't apply to me, since I have to do that via an actual Amazon Kindle or Kindle Fire. So it's the free 2 day shipping, or one day $3.99 shipping that is what attracted me to Amazon's Prime service ($79 a month...for now), and is what has kept me there all these years.
However there is an aspect that it making me rethink whether or not it's worth the time, hassle and various problems that come with it, ESPECIALLY if they decide to up their rates anywhere from $20 to $40 a year.
And that is the fact that one of the shipping services that they use, along with Fed Ex, UPS and USPS is a regional service called "ONTRAC". ONTRAC is mainly located in the western parts of the United States, and they flat out suck. There's really no other way to put it. In the entire time that I've been with Amazon Prime I've had packages delivered by pretty much every delivery service. By far and away, the worst is without a doubt, ONTRAC.
MORE AFTER THE BREAK
The internet is full of angry people who have been screwed over by ONTRAC's "on time" delivery service, so you can click here to read some of those, or maybe here..or maybe here. Oh yeah...and here. Oh you can also check the Consumerist's archive of ONTRAC related posts. And of course this guy who runs an "OffTrac" Twitter account highlighting all the people who are upset at their shitty service.
My most recent experience with ONTRAC is ongoing at the moment. On Friday February the 28th, I placed an order on Amazon for a new PS4 controller, a 1TB Hard Drive to upgrade my PS4, a book for a friend, and a DVD for another friend. With Free 2 Day Shipping via Prime, it was slated to arrive here on Monday, March 3rd.
As soon as I got the "Your item has shipped" notice, and saw it was being sent via ONTRAC I knew there was going to be trouble. I've rarely had an ONTRAC shipped package get here with no trouble. First of all, they don't really have a set time that they get here. It's anytime before 8pm. I've had it get here once or twice around 10am, although the vast majority of times it gets here sometime around 5pm or so, give or take.
Secondly, they don't have an official vehicle that I've ever seen. It's some random dude in a minivan or a Ford Focus or whatever. There's nothing identifying him as working for ONTRAC. No vehicle with the name emblazoned on the side, no uniform, nothing. Classy outfit, this ONTRAC.
I live in a secure building that is located above a church. The Church is open Tuesdays through Friday from 10am - 3pm, so if I get packages on Monday, I will put a sign on the door saying "hey, call this number to deliver packages, please."
Once or twice they didn't even call, they just left a sticker on the door saying "hey, we tried to deliver, but thems the breaks kid" At least that's how I read it in my frustrated rage at the time.
So Monday came and went, no package delivered. Tuesday (Yesterday) came and went, no package delivered. This despite the fact that the package is registered, via the Amazon Tracking, as having left Sumner Washington on February 28th at 5:45pm enroute to Spokane Washington (where I live) which happens to be 4 and a half hours away.
Now here it is March 5th a full five days since it was shipped out of a location that would take you about the length of time it would require to watch the Godfather Parts 1 & 2 back to back.
And here's where it gets a bit weird. The tracking info on Amazon's order page, and the tracking info on ONTRAC's website is a bit different.
NOTE: These were taken a few minutes before midnight on Tuesday Night/Wednesday Morning.
I can't figure out how it can be sent from Sumner Washington (per Amazon) on Feb. 28th, yet according to ONTRAC they have yet to receive it from Seattle.
At this point it's a frustrating thing because complaining to Amazon clearly does nothing. Their forums are full of thousands of posts complaining about this specific company, all saying the same thing, that they are missing packages, falsified delivery notices saying they delivered the packages when they didn't, and all other sorts of ridiculousness. So clearly Amazon has no fucks to give when it comes to their customers being incredibly irritated, annoyed and angry at their packages, many which are time sensitive, being left to a company that clearly does not care about customer service.
I contacted them a few years back asking if there was some way we could choose to have our items shipped by a specific service, or if there was a specific time of the day where it would be more or less likely get a specific service. I don't know how they do this, whether specific warehouses use different shippers or what. I know some people have had horror stories about UPS, but I honestly have never had a problem since I moved to Spokane. Our driver is excellent, and always is on time, always is careful with the packages, is friendly, and just a really cool guy. I have no idea who the ONTRAC guy is because as soon as I open the door he just thrusts the package in my face and leaves once my hands connect with it.
So the only thing left is for me to decide not to renew my Amazon Prime when it is up this year in September. Amazon was kind enough to give me a free month of Amazon when I contacted them on Tuesday, and I've had nothing but positive things to say about Amazon's customer service. They are amazing when it comes to that.
ONTRAC on the other hand...nothing but fuckery abounds with that company.
Hopefully my package will get here today (Wednesday) the 5th day since it was shipped out, a mere 4 hours away. I will update this post if and when I hear back from ONTRAC who claim to be looking into this.
UPDATE. So I woke up this morning, and decided to see if my ONTRAC package had inched every closer to its destination. Man, I don't even know anymore.
So, if you're keeping score at home, folks, this is where we are at.
On February 28th (Friday around 2am or so) I placed the orders. Later that day it shipped out, and said that it would be here Monday. It shipped out of Sumner Washington, which is four hours away from Spokane, and five days later it finally showed up in Seattle Washington.
How far away is Sumner Washington from Seattle Washington, you're asking? Well, funny story.
So ONTRAC, this shipping company that Amazon has inexplicably put its faith in getting packages to their customers in a timely fashion, a company that has as it's slogan, "On time delivery for less", spent 5 fucking days to travel 33 miles.
At this rate, I will not get my package until next month at the earliest.