Monday, June 1, 2020 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Unhelpful Amazon Order Confirmation E-mails

Paul Rosania:

Amazon order confirmations and shipment notifications no longer include any item details. I could not for the life of me figure out why they would do this. They’re not scored on MAUs, they don’t need me to click through. Then I realized: is it so Google can’t see my order data?

I’ve been wondering about this for a while. It’s really annoying not to be able to search one’s own order history. I end up printing each order confirmation Web page to PDF.

Andrew Chen:

my guess- it’s not for google, but bc there’s email analytics cos that estimate sales of individual products based on parsing emails

At Uber, we used parsed competitor receipt data to estimate for instance, airport mkt share %, short trips mkt share etc

Previously:

Update (2020-06-02): John Gruber:

One reason this change was merely a low-grade annoyance for me, personally, is that I allow the Amazon iPhone app to send me notifications, and these notifications include shipping updates and delivery confirmation. […] And Amazon’s website and app continue to have a nicely searchable archive of your entire order history — mine goes back to the Clinton administration, which feels like another epoch. But it was nice having your own searchable archive of purchased items right in your email.

Stephen Swift:

You can also export your Amazon order history as CSV.

Update (2020-06-09): Matt Henderson:

This is annoying for me, because I always create an OmniFocus “Waiting for…” task attached to the Amazon confirmation emails. Now that the emails don’t include the order details, I can’t do that any longer. So annoying.

61 Comments

I also don't like not seeing the items in my confirmation mail, but I routinely print the invoice pages from everything I order. I do it in order to have a paper receipt that I can later compare to my credit card statements, in order to ensure that every charge is legitimate. As a bonus side-effect, it also means I have a piece of paper with every order number, in order to match up those e-mails with the orders.

Oh I thought I was the only one that was driving crazy by this!!

Its entirely annoying and I hate it.

I noticed the same, and have seen the same explanation.

It helps that searching my past orders on Amazon.com works pretty well, though it can still be annoying when I'm not sure it was Amazon I ordered from in the first place. It used to bother me that I don't receive a proper receipt, but now I don't mind so much; I do get a paper receipt along with delivery, and I usually just throw it away anyway.

Related:

- https://twitter.com/ambimorph/status/1080215510967414784
- https://twitter.com/avidrissman/status/1080126259265523719

[…] (Michael Tsai) Unhelpful Amazon Order Confirmation E-mails […]

Is it possible they're only doing this for gmail accounts? I have a non-gmail account and I still get full order info in my order and shipping confirmation e-mails. Odd.

UPDATE: I also order through a Business Prime account, however. Perhaps that's the distinction - they're no longer including the info for personal accounts but they still do for Business?

[…] Amazon Order Emails No Longer Include Item Details […]

"Is it possible they're only doing this for gmail accounts?"

Negative. I no longer see them either, and I do not have anything Google in my life.

Taylor Wescoatt

Anyone notice they still mention what you bought at the bottom in the “Recommended for you based on X that you bought”?

[…] Michael Tsai – Blog – Unhelpful Amazon Order Confirmation E-mails […]

Yes, I noticed this too and find it inconvenient. I'll receive an email saying my order is shipped but I have no idea what it is. If they send the order details as an image (instead of text) in the email then it will be much harder for Gmail to scrape and understand the image contents.

In case anybody is keeping score, I endorse the complaints above, and I note this was done without warning or explanation. Thanks to Michael for surfacing this. Amazon's mysterious and capricious behavior reinforces the idea that I want a copy of my own data. I download my order history annually, but it's not the same.

I've noticed this as well. But each order e-mail I get does have a link to the order on Amazon, so the order info is just one click away. Still not as convenient as it used to be, but not completely inaccessible either.

@A. Hajra: Not inaccessible, but it is *unsearchable* in your Mail client.

How about a boycott until they make it convenient again to shop on Amazon!? This is a global issue, I'm from France.

I just talked to a CSR and she confirmed that this is 100% intentional and there was no department she could tranfer me to that would help me. Probably the only e-commerce site that does not tell you what you ordered, what's been shipped, or what's been delivered, via email.

Ditto all of the comments above. What’s particularly irritating is that they didn’t even have the courtesy to tell their hundreds of millions of customers about the change in advance and give a justification for doing it. It wastes everybody’s time in investigating the problem to see if it’s just them it’s affecting only to discover it’s due to a global change, impacting all customers.

Thank god y found this thread, this problem was driving me nuts. For me that almost exclusively use a cell phone (iPhone) in conjunction with Amazon shopping app the problem is compounded.

You see, there is a (convoluted) way to print an invoice for the products bought in Amazon.com’ s website, AND In the shopping app this option is disabled, so the only way to do this, is to print the invoice is from a computer.

Also did I mentioned that if you want to save the printout of your invoice on a folder somewhere, then your computer system better have an option to “print to pdf” otherwise you will be saving an illegible copy of the raw printer output.

Later on I learned how to print to pdf the invoice and email it from the iPhone when needed for warranty or protection plans purposes.

Hope this helps

I boycott amazon for a week now and will continue my boycott, until they give me the really necessary information about my orders back by email

This is so frustrating. When I buy something online I keep the acknowledgement email in a pending folder until the item arrives, so it is easy to see what items I am waiting for. But with Amazon it is now too time-consuming checking what the order is for. When an item arrives, I now have to search through several pending orders to see which one it is, instead of just looking through the emails. Not customer friendly at all.

I've had this change to my account for the past two years, it still annoys me.

Same here, so annoying. Trailing back through the emails for orders, now i dont know what orders i'm looking at.

You can see the details of your order by clicking on the 'Order Details' link in the email. But this is a new security risk as it encourages customers to click on links in emails, one of the major ways of initiating a phishing or malware attack. By doing this, Amazon is setting its customers up as a target for malware attacks.

This has been annoying me for a while. However, strangely my wife has a Gmail account and her emails include the item names, while my Yahoo account does not. Our accounts are linked though Amazon family, but mine is the one linked to our Amazon echo devices. I wonder if that has something to do with it... I know that over Christmas our shipping notifications on the echo devices wouldn't include item details as "it is during a holiday period" and I assumed it was related to that with some account setting. Digging though the account, order and notification settings on the website I couldn't find anything however.

Ah, I'm glad i found this thread too.

I didn't know it was due to scraping.

I actually thought it was a marketing ploy to get you back to their website to buy more stuff. Just as someone would want you to visit their store again, Amazon has found the perfect way to make you come back

Paul D Mallett

Hi all, The lack of any description of the good purchased is a real pain when I may have six or more orders in progress. I have registered my complaint with Amazon Customer Service which took ages and four different personnel. I also track purchases against credit card and accounts package and this lack of information slows the whole process down.
I was wondering if we could all lobby the third party suppliers but Amazon seems immune to any kind of criticism.

Dr. Daniel L Kester

Nice to know that I'm not the only person annoyed by these emails. Why for pete's sake do these emails not include details of my order?
#1 Email "Your order is on it's way!" NOT include exactly WHAT item I ordered.
#2 Email, Even more aggravating, "Your Item has been delivered". AGAIN, only a picture of my package (NOT helpful) and the Order Number (again NOT helpful).
After clicking a few links, I get the item description and a picture.
WHY THE HELL CAN'T THEY INCLUDE THAT INFORMATION IN THE ORIGINAL EMAIL???
There has to be a reason.

I get so annoyed every time I open an Amazon email and it doesn't provide the item information I need. I think they did this because they don't want people to keep track of their purchases so easily. Amazon wants customers to buy it and then forget it. They also want to prevent third party apps to track price drops and alert the customers of the price change.

So glad I found this thread - thought I had done something to my settings! So annoying. I used to find it really helpful.

[…] it could be an effort to prevent services such as Edison Mail and Cleanfox from “scraping” user inboxes and gleaning key insights from […]

[…]  Amazon stopped including item details in order confirmation and shipping notification emails a few months ago. They just show the price and order date now. For all its faults, Amazon has pretty good customer service, which makes this user-hostile change baffling to understand. Sure, you can still see your orders on Amazon’s website and download a CSV, but it’s far more cumbersome than searching your email; … […]

This change to the emails has made me very frustrated, because I use those to track what I received and what I didn't. It's pain to login to my Amazon account and look through my orders. I just got off a customer support chat with Amazon and he changed my preference to include item details. He said this setting is not available for me to change. I placed another order to see what the email looks like, and the only change is it's in HTML format instead of text format. Still no item details. I'm angry.

So frustrating - how to alert them to this irritation? For months my gmail sends a shipping confirmation email but doesn’t mention what it’s shipping. Only “if you bought this you’ll like this algorithm”. So I need to log in to see what is shipping. Why ? Must surely be a mistake. V annoying.

This is total BS. I'm guessing they have what they consider a good reason...because WTF - most sites do this from the moment they go live. Give me the freakin name of what I ordered in my email!!!

I had several Amazon support chats to try and resolve this, and the last one promised it would be forwarded to the 'special department' and resolved within 3-5 days...now 11 days an counting.

I think if many people do the same, it could help get this functionality back. There ought to be legislation to make it mandatory to receive an itemized invoice from any company if requested (Amazon, bank statements, etc.). It is inexcusable in this era to not have control of our own records and not rely on the company you are doing business with to still be around years from now if you want to search for a previous transaction.

Just my 2 cents.

To build on the September 3rd comment, it may also have something to do with Shopify's Shop app, which reads your emails and organizes all of your tracking info from just about any website, and which many have said is trying to be an Amazon competitor.

I can't believe this is intentional! (Actually I do believe it, really I am just indignant about it.)

It feels like the 1990s when e-commerce just came about and companies did not know what (or how, even) to send their customer emails about their orders.

Amazon's new policy means their emails are pretty much useless. And because their CS makes it impossible to talk with someone of any power or authority, it probably won't change. :-(

I think it is pretty obvious why Amazon had done this: they try to make you spend more money in their store.

You don't get the information you are looking for in the e-mails, so you have to visit their website. Once you are there, they can show you ads, sponsored products, and there is a great chance you will be pulled into buying something.

One could even consider this shameful tactic as a dark pattern: https://darkpatterns.org

Shame on you Amazon.

So now Google assistant can’t show you details of upcoming Amazon orders. The emails are useless now.

Agreed. So annoyed with Amazon about this. Secondly, who HATES the complex emails and credit card charges that are from an order broken into more than one shipment?? I spend hours trying to figure out WHICH items are being charged for. I know the "Printable Invoice" has this info at the bottom, but it still does not tell you which items are included in the credit card charge. OMG, the multi-billion dollar company cannot figure out simple ergonomics and customer politeness.

Another thought...

Perhaps I'm too cynical, but if the only place you can check up on your orders is on the Amazon website, you're spending more time on their site and seeing adverts, etc., which they can charge for...

Worse though, if they cancel an order that you've already paid for, it disappears from your order history! How do we know if they returned all of the charges they took from your credit card, for x y and z 3 months ago?!?

Not impressed by this move - it's one of those idiotic autocratic decisions taken somewhere at a high level, probably with some underhanded, profit driven motivations...

Annoys me too.

Apparently it’s to stop the details being scraped.

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/amazon-order-email-confirmation-shipping-details-a9543966.html

Still annoying as 🤬

I am yet another annoyed customer having this issue. I've contacted CS twice now and both times have been told it'll be elevated to the appropriate dept and they'll be in touch. Nothing further the first time and I'm not holding my breath this time either.
I use my e-mails as a way to track what I'm waiting for and what I've received, I keep all my purchase e-mails and they go in a pending folder until I have the items. It's so time consuming to have to click on track order every time to find out what it actually is.
I figured a quick Google may enlighten me and it really has. This is a ridiculous practice and to have no reasoning behind it is just making it worse.

I've spent a frustrating half hour on the CS chat trying to explain why this is frustrating (yes I know I can view my orders from the app or website, but I use my emails as my system to manage any online orders). No other retailer that I know of doesn't include the item name in the order confirmation email.

I am just hoping that the more of us who complain the more likely there will be an option to have the emails include the item description.

There is a link in the email that will take you straight to the invoice of the order.

At the very bottom of the email, in the fine grey text says "Your invoice can be accessed here", click on the word "here". It should pull up the invoice which has the items listed in text only. No pictures.

I've complained about this before:

https://twitter.com/dhimmel/status/1018948319119400961
https://twitter.com/dhimmel/status/1075843805583163394

I expect to be able to search my email to retrieve receipts from old purchases. Due to this issue, I now shop at alternative retailers like REI that respect the customer and send useful emails.

Is anyone else as outraged as I am at being used as pawns in a modern feudal corporate warfare?

Amazon claims to be #1 in customer satisfaction but this is purely a claim of ownership on our spending habits to which we all probably blindly signed off to when we clicked on Accept on the legal mumbojumbo decades ago.

This is not a customer friendly move on their part. The customers are being priced and hoarded like cattle.

It's not our fault that the Internet and Email were never designed for secure commerce in the first place.

Why should we be the ones to suffer because of their greed?

I know this is probably an unpopular opinion, but you can stop buying things from Amazon? I stopped something like 12 years ago (I had a bad customer experience, so I decided that they didn't want me as their customer), so it is possible...

Although Amazon's shipping is the key to their success, their regard for customer feedback seems terrible.

The lack of any meaningful description or listing of what has been ordered makes their "confirmation" emails utterly useless.

I find this to be a middle finger given to their customers.

Just had an idea. How many people on here have an Amazon Echo or dot?

What is the point of an email telling me that one of the 3 items on my order has been shipped without telling me what that item is? Amazon - Make this an option PLEASE!!!!!

I spoke with an Amazon agent today via the online chat. They said,

"We receive inquiry on this issue frequently from our valuable customers.
Nothing to worry, our team is working on this to reinstate that option.
It will be adopted and will be available back to a sooner date as possible
We do value your feedback and will fix it as soon as possible."

And "Our team has not yet updated a time frame about it yet.
However, I do expect that it will be reinstated within a 1-2 weeks maximum"

Surely just give every customer the option - keep off by default but those ok with scraping can reinstate. It’s all about enabling security but keeping choice nowadays, we are grown ups.

I've been frustrated by this for too long now and have been periodically reporting my frustration to Amazon Support. IT IS NOT GOOD. Order receipts should contain our order contents. !!!!!

This is so awful. I order some items for my freelance business use, and I used to just be able to move those Amazon receipts immediately into a folder that I can use for tracking business expenses and tax purposes. No--I don't want another, separate business account--I don't do THAT much business. But now it's impossible to keep track of anything in a simple way.

I might just move to their competitors just to get a decent receipt history. This makes me sick. So tired of being treated as a pawn.

Amazon wants you to visit the site. When you get an order confirmation e-mail and you get suckered into clicking it, that's another opportunity for them to sell you something. You might just look at your order details and leave. Or you might scroll down and see other items for sale. And that leads to another sale. The alternative is to include the details you need in the e-mail. That doesn't lead to another potential sale so why include the information you need?

Upvote

+1 for a frustrated Amazon customer.

with multiple purchases on the go it is so much more difficult to track overcharges, refunds and non-deliveries.

They can say all they want that this is about email scraping, but we all know it's not. As a few have said already, this is to get you back in the app or website. They're publicly using the email scraping as a scapegoat. This is the same reason that some online stores use a tracking frontend on their website instead of just forwarding you to FedEx or UPS.

+1
I've been annoyed about this for months, but my order a couple of days ago infuriated me. I'd ordered 5 items at the same time, to be delivered on the same day. They were split across 4 deliveries; 2 items via Amazon delivery; 1 by normal Royal Mail, 2 by Royal Mail 24hr. The Amazon courier left the first 2 at my door in the morning (love you, Mr Amazon Courier!); and the other 3 were delivered in 2 packages to the development mail room (not in my building). My normal mail gets delivered to my building's mail room.

Of course, it's no big deal for me to check different delivery places within the development, but I had no idea what had been delivered or to which location, from my emails. Please, Amazon, include the package contents in emails!

Janet Goodwin

I've found a small solution to enable searching email history for items bought, which will include Amazon items bought. It's a bit clunky. When I receive order confirmation I identify what the item is, by unfortunately going into Amazon order. I then forward the order confirmation to myself and include the item description. So in the future I can use the item description in an email search.

I do something similar to Janet. When I've ordered something and the email has arrived, I edit it (Outlook lets you do that) and paste the pic and details from the website order view in at the top. Then you can see at a glance what's in that order, even if it gets split into several orders on the same email.

Clunky, yes. Irritating, yes. But at least it works.

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