Shannon Ratliff, but not Shannon Ratliff's door.

Amazon Delivery Photos Still Aren't Foolproof Confirmations

At the beginning of the year, I noticed something unusual happening with my Amazon deliveries. With the delivery notification on the app, I could also see a photo of the package at the front door, proof from the mail service that it was delivered. The only problem? Those photos, featured above, don't show my front door.

Amazon Logistics Photo On Delivery is, according to Amazon spokesperson Kristen Kish, "one of the many delivery innovations we're working on to improve convenience for customers." This move follows Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods Market and comes shortly after workers at the United States Postal Service spoke anonymously about the pressure Amazon was placing on the service to deliver all packages within the guaranteed delivery date. As Amazon Prime, Prime Now, and Prime Same-Day become even hotter tickets in the Amazon shopping queue, the company is still fighting the delivery challenge with delivery photos.

Over the past few months, Amazon has expanded this photo service to select cities and states so shoppers know where to look for their packages. With package theft occurring more frequently in populated areas, this service is meant to assure customers that the package was delivered, while also taking the heat off Amazon for missing items. This also forces delivery drivers to prove that they indeed dropped off the package in a safe place, be it behind a flower pot or near the door mat. The delivery person takes a photo, attaching it to the appropriate order, and that photo is a proof of delivery for the Amazon customer and Amazon customer service.

If you shop online frequently, this service might make you feel safer until, as is my case, it doesn't. Remember those photos of my packages not at my front door? After missing about three deliveries that were marked delivered, I scoured my apartment complex for the same door and door mat to no avail. Finally forced to contact Amazon, I spoke to a Customer Service agent who happily refunded my deliveries after confirming that it indeed was not my front door.

This anecdote is to say that while Amazon is making strides to uphold its home delivery promise to Prime members, it still is not foolproof. I only received photo evidence that my Amazon packages were not going to my door, but that photo did make it easy to prove that I had not received my items. When it comes to package delivery, there are still caveats with each system, whether it's Amazon's Prime membership, Sam's Club free shipping initiative, and Costco's own delivery service.

However, it does seem as though Amazon is listening to its customers. Any program to prevent customer confusion and ease worry reflects the high standards of the Amazon delivery practice, even if there are still kinks along the way. For now, I hope that whoever received my packages is enjoying a new face wash, guitar strings, and an ice cream scoop. May they bring you as much joy as they've brought me after the delivery person finally dropped off the second order at the right apartment.

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