February 6, 2016

No Longer a Subscriber

I still like Amazon, but I am no longer a Subscribe and Saver.

On the 2nd (Tuesday) I was looking at my past orders dealing with another issue when I chanced upon a $20 place holder charge on my account for Lil Crunchies. (What is it with those?). The crunchies were supposed to come in my February shipment, and not due until the middle of the month. I immediately went to the “Your Subscribe & Save Items” view to manage my subscriptions and cancel those darn crunchies. Low and Behold under my February shipment Lil Chrunchies was listed for just $9, a much more reasonable price. I still had until the 7th (tomorrow) to cancel the order so I decided to see what would happen. When the price I was being charged still hadn’t change as of yesterday, I emailed customer support to ask what was going on. Basically, once the order shows up on your account, that’s the price you’ll pay, regardless of any price fluctuations or what the “Your Subscribe & Save Items” view says.

I admit I’m not a huge fan of Dynamic pricing. I do my best to use it to my advantage with price watching and have it work in my favor so it’s just a mild dislike. I take a significant issue with bait-and-switch. For the past couple of years that I’ve been using Subscribe and Save I always assumed the price listed on the current month’s shipment, the page that’s billed for “managing subscriptions”, is the price I was paying. What indication is there that this isn’t the case? I’d log in the day before or the day of to make sure the price hadn’t changed. It never occurred to be to double check my order history as well.

I hope I’ve never drastically over paid. I’m afraid to look, to be honest. I will be so frustrated to learn that I have.

This discovery also creates a considerable hurtle for my new app idea. The place holder orders are not guaranteed to be done on any one day. The Lil crunches order was placed at the start of the week. The paper towels order only showed up yesterday. In order to get an accurate idea of how much one would be charged, I’d need to know which day he or she was going to be charged for each individual item. That either means access to their order history, or putting a considerable burden on them to supply the information.

I’m not giving up on the app idea, but it definitely needs more time to germinate. In the mean time, I’m canceling all my Amazon subscriptions. Amazon’s prices are usually good, but not always. I find the few extra dollars I save per month is not worth the risk of drastically over paying. Not when I have other options like Target and Costco that are just as convenient.

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