Some Amazon customers are frustrated that their packages are arriving late — and it reveals a giant misconception people have about Prime

Some Amazon customers are confused by the wording of Prime's two-day-shipping guarantee.

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Some Amazon customers are confused by the wording of Prime’s two-day-shipping guarantee.
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Getty/Sean Gallup

  • Amazon Prime members are complaining that their shipments are arriving later than they used to.
  • Many say their packages are no longer arriving in two days from the day they ordered them.
  • Amazon Prime’s two-day-shipping policy guarantees that customers will get their packages two days from when Amazon ships it, not from the time of order.
  • The customers’ stories show how much confusion there is about Amazon’s shipping policies.

Prime is Amazon’s crown jewel. But some customers are saying the company has been failing in its promise of providing free two-day delivery for members.

Customers who spoke with Business Insider said they noticed in recent months that their Amazon shipments were coming later and later. They said that guaranteed delivery times were being missed, that orders were being delayed with little explanation, and that packages were taking longer to get packed and passed off to carriers.

While it seems unlikely that that’s true across the board, the perception that Amazon is slowing even for Prime members could be a concern, especially considering the company just raised the price of an annual membership, to $119 from $99, and of the monthly membership, to $12.99 from $10.99. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recently disclosed that more than 100 million people around the world pay for Prime.

The complaints reveal Prime’s limitations and how different the two-day-shipping guarantee is from what some customers perceive it to be.

A common response from Amazon’s customer-service Twitter account to customer complaints reiterates Prime’s guarantee: Two-day shipping ensures only that customers will get it within two days from the time it’s handed over to the carrier, not within two days from the time of ordering, which is often incorrectly assumed.

“Prime Two-Day Shipping refers to the amount of time it takes for your item to arrive once it’s been processed and shipped,” the guarantee says. “Some items have longer processing times than others.”

Some customers say that they used to get their packages reliably in two days and that now it’s taking longer.

“What they’ve done is set an expectation for Prime … that people would get the items they ordered very quickly, and certainly within two days typically of order,” Brandon Muramatsu, a frequent Amazon customer, told Business Insider. “They’re now underdelivering on their promise, whereas they may have been overdelivering before.”

Data of Amazon’s shipping times also notably shows that the company, in aggregate, is actually getting faster.

Either way, the customer confusion is not great news for Amazon, which is trying to attract even more people to Prime.