Amazon refuses to refund me £700 for iPhone 15 it didn’t deliver

“Parcel was handed to resident”? I think not.

Amazon refuses to refund £700 iPhone 15 it didn't deliver | Graham Cluley

On Tuesday, 26 March, Amazon was supposed to have delivered an iPhone 15 and an accompanying Otterbox case to my home.

Amazon said it would require a signature upon delivery. So, I naturally ensured that I was home all day so I could sign for the delivery – which I had spent over £700 on.

But I wasn’t worried if I was distracted by work, after all I’d hear the doorbell (I have an Amazon Ring video doorbell, which records movement outside my door).

Amazon signature required
Amazon told me a signature would be required for the iPhone to be delivered to me.

At 11:31, I received an email telling me that the iPhone and case were out for delivery.

And then, at 14:34, I received an email telling me that they had been delivered.

That’s odd, I thought. I didn’t hear the doorbell, I haven’t signed for anything, and I definitely haven’t received an iPhone and case from Amazon.

Logging into my Amazon account, I was told that the iPhone and case had been “Handed to resident” at 12:51.


"Parcel was handed to resident"

Hmm.. well, I was the only person home at the house at that time – and it definitely hadn’t been handed to me. My partner (who was out at the time) confirmed that she hadn’t magically received it either.

A quick check around the outside of the house revealed no trace of a package, and the neighbours confirmed that they hadn’t received it either.

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It’s all rather a mystery. Amazon claims that the package was “handed to resident” and had also said that it would require a signature upon delivery.

So how could it not be in my possession?

I did what everyone should do in this situation. I contacted Amazon customer services. They told me that I had to wait until the end of Thursday 28 March before requesting a refund, as sometimes mistakes happened… and a delivery could be delayed.

Fair enough, I thought. I’ll wait two days, and then request the refund for the non-delivery.

Two days later, after there was still no sign of the iPhone 15 or case, I requested the refund.

Customer service agent Rizza at “Earth’s most customer-centric company” responded to my request:

It appears that the carrier has recorded your package as delivered on 26 March 2024. Please check with your neighbors or members of your household to find out whether they’ve taken delivery of the package on your behalf.

Please allow 3 days (72 hours) while we investigate this matter. If you haven’t received your refund by 31 March 2024 please let us know.

Oh, so having waited two days, I now have to wait another three days? Hmm… ok. This is beginning to get a bit frustrating, I thought.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait three days to hear back from Amazon. Unfortunately, I didn’t like what Amazon had to say when they announced the end of their investigation on 29 March:

AMZN_UK confirmed the [ITEM] you ordered was in the package at the time it left our fulfillment center and that it was delivered to you intact. As a result, we cannot issue a replacement or a refund for this item.

As you can probably imagine, I wasn’t very happy with this response. And so I emailed back:


The items were NOT delivered.

I was in the house at the time they claimed to be delivered. There was NO ring or knock on my door. My Ring doorbell has recorded NO evidence of any delivery or activity outside my door.

None of my neighbours report any delivery to them.

And yet Amazon claims “handed to resident”

I’ve been a Prime Business customer of yours for years, as well as a personal Prime subscriber.

Are you claiming I’m lying about this? My business paid for an iPhone and case and we just want it delivered or a refund.

What is the process for escalating this complaint?

Furthermore, Amazon said, “Signature required at time of delivery. Please ensure someone will be available to sign for this delivery.”

So, if you are really claiming that the iPhone was delivered can you please provide the signature? As a reminder – I was home the entire day, no one delivered the missing iPhone and case, my neighbours didn’t receive a package addressed to me, and my Ring doorbell did not record any attempted delivery.

So, please provide the signature. Or please issue my refund/replacement

Can you tell I wasn’t very happy? You’re right!

I also dropped a line to Amazon UK’s PR agency, telling them that I was planning to write about my experience and giving them the opportunity to respond with any comment (and rather hoping they might fix things.) At the time of writing, they still haven’t got back to me.

But Amazon customer service did get back to me. And here’s what they said:

We looked into your order and AMZN_UK has confirmed the shipment you reported lost was delivered to you in good condition. As a result, we will not be issuing a replacement or a refund for the contents of that shipment.

We are unable to offer you any further assistance on this matter. We appreciate your business and hope to see you again soon.

So, Amazon continues to claim that it delivered the phone and case to me in good condition. And when I asked for photographic proof of delivery, or a copy of the signature that (presumably) was given when Amazon’s delivery driver “handed to resident” they ignored me.

AMZN_UK confirmed the items you ordered were in the package at the time it left our fulfillment center and that it was delivered to you intact. As a result, we cannot issue a replacement or a refund for this item.

If you do not have any further feedback regarding your Amazon shopping experience, please consider this issue closed, and be assured that you may continue shopping as usual.

We are unable to provide additional information on this matter and we may not respond to additional emails about this issue.

Ouch. It sounds like Amazon is not only keeping my money, but it’s refusing to even respond to questions about the non-delivery any more.

After posting about my experience on Twitter and LinkedIn it seems there are many many others who have had terrible experiences getting refunds from Amazon after it has failed to deliver expensive goods.

And then there was this final kick in the teeth, when I requested that my complaint be escalated:

I understand that you would like to escalate this, however, all Amazon account specialists are trained to find the best possible resolutions for our customers’ issues.

Well Amazon, I can help you find the “best possible resolution” for this customer. Give me my money back or deliver the bloody iPhone and case that you failed to deliver to me.

So, what are my next steps?

Well, I can request a chargeback from my payment card company – a way of getting your money back when you don’t receive the goods or services you have paid for, and a retailer is refusing to refund.

However, I have been told by a number of people that Amazon really really doesn’t like people doing this to them, and consumers can find themselves blocked from using any of Amazon’s services in future. If true, that seems to me to be rather petty revenge – especially when it was Amazon that was at fault in the first place.

I have also reported the theft/fraud of the iPhone to the police. I have done that, although Thames Valley Police have told me that they are not going to investigate. Presumably they, like me, consider this to be Amazon’s problem.

I can also take Amazon to the Small Claims Court, where Amazon would be compelled to provide actual proof that it delivered the iPhone 15 and case to me.

It is, of course, absolutely ridiculous for a customer to go to such lengths to get a refund or replacement from Amazon. But it seems there are no other ways to get around the brick wall that is its customer service department.

Well, I guess I could always make a video and write a blog post complaining about Amazon’s appalling customer service – and ask friendly viewers and readers to share them online.

Is there anybody at Amazon who still cares about looking after their legitimate honest customers?

Update 4 April 2024:

Kicking up a stink about Amazon’s failure to deliver a £700 iPhone to me (and then refusing to refund/replace) has – I’m delighted to say – resulted in the money being returned to me today. 🥳

What I’ve learnt:

  • Exploiting social media and video to complain can get the attention of @AmazonUK’s PR team

What I haven’t learnt:

  • What happened to the iPhone
  • Why Amazon insisted it had been “handed to resident” when it hadn’t
  • If Amazon got a signature upon “delivery” (as they claimed they would) (and, if so, who from?)
  • Why Amazon’s customer service team wasn’t able to properly handle the issue, but preferred to tell me it wouldn’t respond to future emails from me and considered the matter closed.

Thanks to everyone who shared my issue and helped Amazon see sense.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

14 comments on “Amazon refuses to refund me £700 for iPhone 15 it didn’t deliver”

  1. Archie marsh

    Go the small claims court. They probably wouldn’t respond and you’d get judgement by default, then get the bailiffs in. I did that with a large firm who found someone able to pay the bailiff when he turned up at their head office…

  2. Chidi

    Hello Graham,
    I'm sorry you have to go through all this mess. If going to the small claim court will get you justice, please do not hesitate. I believe there are other online stores you can trust with your money to deliver your goods to you without any record of mismanagement of customers' orders.
    I look forward to seeing your victory on this matter.

  3. Andre west

    Charge it back. That's what credit cards are for. If Amazon does t like it tough luck, why would you do business with a company who defrauded you? Plus they probably won't block your "partner" if you really need something.

  4. Key D.

    This happened to me recently while ordering the OnePlus Open from Amazon.
    The status kept saying it was delayed by over three weeks when it was supposed to be delivered in three days. I kept calling and writing for two months until someone guaranteed that it would be delivered in one day however it was two. I also have a ring camera. After being delayed two months I open the box in front of the camera and the Amazon box is sealed closed however the box the phone sits in is empty. I chased down the amazon truck all on video. Amazon told me to get a police report. I got it and they would reply it isn’t correct after many times revising it, they would not tell me what is incorrect about the report, and that they would also need to do a three way call with the police department to verify. They “claimed” they called the police department and got no answer. (Like the police doesn’t answer calls in the afternoon.)After many times I was able to get the Police Departments’ department that does reports to give me their direct number for Amazon to speak with the police on why Amazon keeps saying the police are not doing their reports correctly. After informing Amazon they still refused until one time I called and said I’m ready to call the police on three way myself and he is waiting on my call as we speak. Then the guy I was speaking to refunded my two thousand dollars I spent on that phone. All that talk about the police report is incorrect and they need to do a three way call with the police completely went out the window. I will never buy anything that nice or as nice as a iPhone through Amazon. The delivery people make 13 hr. Delivering items that cost more than they make a month. Some employees not all work there just to steal. I’m an over the road truck driver. I have gone to many Amazon warehouse to do deliveries and several times have seen employees getting sat down in a room and talked to before getting fired for stealing.

  5. E. Staples

    This happened to me, not with an electronics item, but a pair of Air Jordan sneakers I ordered directly from Nike. They never came though status said delivered, but Nike customer service was excellent and didn't hesitate to refund my money. From the associate I spoke to, I got the sense that this was a common occurence (packages mysteriously disappearing in transit).

  6. David Esp

    Back in the 1970s I took a summer job at the head office of a major UK vending machine drinks supplies company. Our spreadsheets were literally sheets of paper. As a novice, I asked what "Branch Mgr. Adj." was. It turned out to be "Branch Manager's Adjustment". What? Why?. Taken aside, it was explained to me: "Imagine you are a stressed-out delivery driver, you're not paid much and when you get home your wife will have a go at you for not bringing in enough money. To appease her (slightly), each Friday, you bring her some "free perks" from the job. Branch managers understand this situation, and provided it doesn't get out of hand, they sign it off."

    Another possibility (this time one I simply imagine) is that honest drivers, under pressure to deliver against unempathic or even impractical productivity rates, find it quicker not to lock their vans for every delivery race in the rain up and down driveways or god knows what, maybe even leaving its door open sometimes. Or simply being occasionally coerced/robbed under threat (and having no choice but to let it go).

    Something needs adjusting.

  7. Stephen Arthur

    Happened to my son with Amazon. Expensive camera body, and exact same non-delivery run around. Moral is not to buy anything expensive from Amazon.

  8. George

    We just had a similar experience in Ireland. A package was supposedly delivered, but the Amazon delivery person left it outside of the outer door of the apartment complex and cannot be found. Amazon customer support will not talk to us since the item was “delivered”.

    1. George · in reply to George

      Update from Ireland: Yesterday, our missing Amazon package mysteriously appeared in our mailbox at the apartment complex. Our guess is that an honest neighbor found it somewhere and just placed it in our mailbox.

      Amazon still screwed up the delivery since we were not called at the outer door, like in past Amazon/UPS/An Post/etc deliveries.

  9. Lynne M

    I’ve been a customer of Amazon for many years but have never ordered anything very expensive from them. I used to pay for Prime but decided it wasn’t worth the money for me and cancelled it. However, I was looking through my Barclaycard account the other day (which I rarely use and don’t owe anything) when I noticed payments of £8.99 going back to August 2023 for Amazon Prime!! I was furious as I’d never authorised these payments nor have I had the use of Prime on my account – I’ve had to pay for deliveries! Trying to contact Amazon customer service really isn’t easy especially for me as I’m deaf. So I went on to their online chat. I explained what’s been going on and that I wasn’t impressed at all and would like a full refund of my money that they’ve taken from me. The advisor asked me to send him my Barclaycard details so they could investigate it from his end. No way was I falling for that – how do I know who I’m really dealing with here? This screamed scam to me immediately as he said without it I wouldn’t get a refund! I accused them of being scammers/fraudsters and said I would take this further. He also said that nothing was showing up on my account which I’d already told him I’ve not had Prime in years. But his constant insistence of providing him with my card/bank details really angered me. So I told him what I thought of their appalling behaviour & that they should be ashamed of themselves. I now have to go through Barclaycard to report each Amazon payment of £8.99 as not authorised/fraud and hope I get my money back. I shan’t ever use Amazon ever again – they are a disgrace!

  10. artie_fufkin

    I am relieved for you that you got your money back, Graham.

    And all your 'what I haven't learned' points are all strong, of course, but most alarming for me is the third one.

    Pulling down the shutters on discussing the problem, especially over such a large sum of money, is really worrying. If Customer Service are afflicted with 'computer says no' mentality / scripting over something as serious as this, it really makes me think twice about spending this kind of money there. I can't afford to be treated like that, end of, if something that is *not* my fault goes wrong.

  11. Ben

    I read all, but, even in India, Amazon courier request the buyer provide an OTP at the moment of delivery; sound weird they don't in the UK…

  12. Nick Taylor

    This is what Amazon claim in their mission statement:
    "We aim to be Earth’s most customer centric company"

  13. Earl Dunbar

    That is truly awful. I have not had any really bad experience with Amazon (US, CA, FR) except for crappy products which I was able to return.

    I DID recently receive an iPhone 15 Pro, on time, intact … directly from Apple. The day after I ordered it.

    I really do hope you are made whole. I would keep after Amazon but also escalate it to Apple directly. I once had an issue with incorrect information I received from an Apple phone sales rep. I escalated it to Tim Cook directly and my problem was solved.

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