Frustration with’s Add-On Program

I am an Amazon Prime customer and have been for several years. I am accustomed to getting the best customer service experience that Amazon can offer. Unfortunately that has become a far worse experience in the past few months as a result of Amazon’s “new” Add-On Program.

First thing to note about “Add-On”: the basis for the program is a lie. New items are not suddenly available because of the program. Most of the items that are in the category of “add-on” used to be available as standard Prime items. It is possible that Amazon now has to make the items “add-on” to be able to continue cost-effectively offering them for sale them for sale, but they were previously available as Prime items. It should also be noted that in my experience (through Chris), add-on items will sometimes be shipped by themselves or with other add-on items inside of the same order. There is no cost-cutting in this approach, only an encouragement to buy more in the same order. One thing that Amazon should realize about Prime customers at this point is that we are not just looking for the great deal on shipping, we are fond of Amazon’s inventory, speed of processing orders and accuracy of processing orders. Amazon’s customer service in general cannot beaten. Therefore Prime customers are loyal and likely individually spend enough to cover our usage of shipping for smaller items without having to penalize us.

The really irritating part of “Add-on” is that there is no way to buy an item that is in the program without ordering $25 of merchandise. I’m not sure how other Prime members feel, but I personally would be willing to pay Amazon the $0.95 or $1.50 that most add-on items would require for being shipped through conventional methods when I do not meet the $25 requirement. I also feel that it should be reasonable to allow customers to order any other Prime eligible item at the same time as the add-on and get free shipping on both items, it just makes logistical sense.

My most recent frustration with the add-on program came when attempting to check on film that I am interested in purchasing. I wanted the Ilford Delta Pro 400 film in 36 exposures, but also noticed the 24 exposure variety and became aware of the difference in shipping options for each one. I wanted the 36, but decided to see how restrictive the add-on program is for this type of item. I added the 24 exposure to my cart and adjusted the quantity to be 7 rolls, which would take me just over the $25 mark. To my surprise Amazon informed me that I was not allowed to buy that quantity of the item. This really frustrates me, as I have never run into a situation where I have been told that I can’t buy the quantity of an item that I want from Amazon (as long as quantity is in stock).

Between the add-on program, recent changes in the return and exchanges procedures and a variety of other “quirks” about the customer service process I am becoming more hostile toward Amazon and am beginning to question the value of remaining a Prime member.

Example of an arbitrary assignment of an item to “Prime” or “Add-on” programs":