Has Amazon.com ever done this to you?
In the last couple of months, we’ve purchased a number of things from Amazon. As we usually do, once we complete our transaction, we print a copy of the invoice for our records and write the amount in our register. But out of the last half-dozen purchases, half were modified before being charged!
Three transactions had the “estimated tax” adjusted. One increased by $0.55, one was up $0.12, and one had actually gone down $0.31. When we first noticed it, it was driving us nuts, and we had to confirm each time that we had actually written it down correctly — it agreed with our printed invoice — but the amount NOW showing on our Amazon account was the new dollar amount, the one they actually charged us for.
We called Amazon and asked about this and was basically told that this is normal, that depending on what the actual delivery address was, the actual tax might have to be adjusted to match the local rates and that it was also possible for tax rates to change from the time an item was ordered to the time it was shipped and charged to us.
I find these answers very difficult to accept. The first one is just plain ridiculous, as our orders were shipped to the same address specified when we ordered them. So there was no change of delivery address and no need to “recalculate” the amount of tax on the item.
The second explanation is equally laughable, since we are talking about three orders placed weeks apart from one another, I find it very hard to swallow that State or municipal tax rates would change multiple times during that period!
There is no valid explanation for these invoice modifications. In all cases sales tax is based on a TAX TABLE for the DELIVERY ADDRESS and NEITHER ONE CHANGED between the time we ordered our items and the time they were shipped.
Further, once a transaction is complete, a method of payment offered and a receipt issued (by way of their confirmation email), we have a binding sales contract. You can’t simply change the terms of a contract without prior notification and approval.
No matter how I look at this, Amazon stole from us. Not only is it theft, but it was done in such a way, under the guise of “taxes,” that I’m quite sure the state AG would be interested in.
Admittedly, I’m only talking about less than a dollar, all told. But we’re only one family. How many sales transactions did Amazon take, fulfill, and bill during this last holiday season? If this sort of “error” happened even for a small percentage of those, they still walked away with a big fat chuck of change at their customer’s expense.
We were on the fence before, but we may actually be done with using Amazon, now.