How to Contact Customer Support by Telephone

It’s easier than you think.

One of the annoyances of dealing with online companies is getting customer support by phone. Yes, there’s all kinds of information available on their Web site. But there are a lot of instances where the information that’s available online for your account simply doesn’t answer the question you have.

Like me, today, with On December 26, I ordered a Caphalon One saucepan to complement the set my sister, brother, and sister-in-law so generously bought us for our Christmas/belated wedding gift. The pan cost a small fortune, so it qualified for free “super saver” shipping. My past experience with this free shipping is that if the item is in stock, it usually arrives 5 to 10 days after I place the order. I was in no real hurry, so that was fine.

But by today, nearly 3 weeks later, I still didn’t have the saucepan. I followed up on’s Web site and learned that the item had not yet shipped and was not scheduled to be shipped until January month-end — a full month after I placed the order. That was simply not tolerable. It was time to talk to

Poking around the Help pages will eventually get you to a clickable button that you can use to contact by phone. Here’s the generic link:

imageHere’s how it works. You click the button (or above link) to get to a Contact Us by Phone page. You then click the Call Me button. A window like the one here pops up. Enter the phone number for the phone you’re nearest to and make sure Right Now is selected. Click Submit. Your phone rings immediately. Answer the phone. You’ll then be on hold for a short while until someone (most likely in India) picks up and begins reading to you off a script. If you’re lucky, that person will understand enough English to answer your question. If you’re really lucky, that person will be in West Virginia, like the person I got the first time I did this.

I went through this exercise today for my saucepan problem. The Indian woman on the other end of the line “upgraded” my shipping to standard at no charge. I’ll have the saucepan in 5 to 10 days. While this doesn’t answer the question of why shipping was delayed in the first place — that question was beyond her capabilities to answer — it does prevent any further delays.

Update: Want to comment or e-mail me with an customer service or technical support question? Read this first.

20 thoughts on “How to Contact Customer Support by Telephone

  1. Your story mirrors my own order delays. I placed an order on 5/25 for a graduation gift. On 5/26, an email informed me that my items had shipped. Today is 6/21 and I am empty handed! I did try your contact method and it works perfectly (except I was connected to India with what sounded like a party going on in the background – no wonder they keep their access so secret….can’t break up that party!) Anyhow, I was told my shipment would arrive in 3 to 5 days. Now let me cross ALL my fingers xxxxxxxxxx

  2. I was interested in ordering puppets and went to do check out and was interested in getting the $30.00 off if I subscribe to a Amazonvisa card – it has the site posted and it states to “just click the button” but I’ve tried everything so that I could fill out the form to see if I would be approved for this card to get the $30.00 off my order but I have been unable to find the site (or button) to continue checkout and to continue applying for the card. Please help.

  3. Did you know there is no way you can contact amazon via email if you havan’t purchased anything? I wanted more information before I bought a DVD and could not send a simple email requesting this info. Whithout a Order # the email system won’t let you send you questions. You can call but you can’t email? What’s the mentality behind that?

  4. I used the Amazon “CallbacK” number. The only problem

    was I was calling on a complicated matter of a charge of over

    $1,000 on my account that I never made. I got a vcall back

    from a lady whom I am sure was a very intelligent person.

    however, I could not understand half of what she said because english was foreign to her. It was very frustrating. I tried to get her to give me another person or phone number, to no avail. Eventually I got an Email that a computer I did not order was cancelled but never an explanation of how it happened. I habe been an Amazon customer for a long time but this experience scares me.

  5. Does anyone know how to go about contacting to complain about the customer service people responding to these questions. They just push buttons to send canned responses whether they have anything to do with your problem or not. How do I go about getting a real answer to my problem?

  6. Yes, it was necessary.

    I have a problem with U.S. companies sending support jobs overseas. My mentioning that the support person was Indian, I include Amazon as one of these companies.

    Should I write without descriptive adjectives? That’s what “Indian” is in this particular piece.

  7. Tried your method-nobody called me! I ordered a boof from which I paid for but never received. Their automated system says it was received but it wasn’t. No way to talk to a live person. Found out it actually was ordered thru bookfercheap (?) and tried to contact them. No go!

  8. “In stock” item ordered July 21. Based on past experience with “free shipping” usually received in week or less. Confirmation advised shipping estimate of July 28. Only after I used your info to contact them by phone was I made aware of estimated delivery date of Aug 4. Needed it earlier for birthday gift. Here’s where it got interesting and may be of help to others… She (nice Indian women) told me they were receiving it from supplier today. I told her I would have gotten it somewhere else had I known “in stock” item meant one week to them and another week to me. First offer was to split “2 day shipping”. Not good enough. Next offer was they’d pick up 75%. Asked them how I cancel order. Final “one time only” offer was to waive all shipping charges. Deal! FYI- First time I saw tax on Amazon order. Was told new law went into effect June 4 requiring them to charge tax on items sent to NY State. Have to look into that.

  9. I almost never buy anything online that I can buy in a shop. This is because 1) I want to talk to a person and feel the goods I’m buying 2) I don’t like talking to people cooped up in a call-centre on the other side of the world who I can’t expect to have much interest in my purchase and 3) the less I buy from a shop the more shops go bust and the more Starmucks open on my local highstreet.

    I did make an exception though when I needed winter boots for a trip to Berlin. Winter boots are surprisingly rare in the UK unless they’re for mountaineering. So I bought online from . The staff are absolutely great. I messed up the order and called them. There were no phone menus, a real person answered who was really helpful, who spoke to her colleagues, who explained their ordering system and what this meant in relationship to my boots. They were so nice and reassuringly human (in an old fashioned American way), I ordered a load of other stuff as even with UK import tax the prices are still good.

    If Amazon and other online retailers (particularly ISPs) offered half the level of customer service that Cabelas provided, I’d be much more tempted. So I think the issue is not just about outsourcing ‘help’ lines abroad but about connecting ‘customer service’ directly with the goods or services being sold. If that were done and supposing I wanted to buy something from India, I’d hardly object when an Indian answered the phone.

  10. In My Humble Opinion,Amazon should be renamed “Shamazon” because thats what it is!!

    I’ve ordered a few things over the years…….fine!!

    But 2 days ago i paced a 10$ order and shipping for 8?? No way Hose’

    but it took me 5 seconds to place the order and Ive tried for 3 days now to contact them to cancel and this is where it got me,I am fed up!!!!!!!!!!

  11. I saw the complaint about the “indian description” above….but I don’t know how that is hurtful because I would have said “crazy lady”….whats the difference??

  12. I have waited for an order for two months from Pendulum Books, and filed numerous complaining emails without any response. I found your link on the web tonight, used it, and will be getting a refund. Thank you so much for such valuable information. I knew there had to be a way to contact Amazon by phone.

  13. I moved last year. At the time of the move, I was a member of Amazon Prime. Most things I ordered were delivered in two days, no shipping. Amazon could not get their info straight on the change of address. Even though I changed the address on my credit card and attempted to change it on Amazon, Amazon did not change it. Addresses did not match and orders were turned down. I could not order anything from Amazon. Numerous phone calls, using the “Call me Back” method did not work. They finally suggested establishing another account which I did not want to do. It was finally resolved, everything but Amazon Prime. When I tried to use it, the address problem was there. Amazon had the change but somehow Amazon “Prime” did not.

    I order quite a bit on Amazon as I order TV Series and other things as I live in a small town. I decided two weeks ago to rejoin Amazon Prime. I get an error message. I contact them using the “Call me Back” method and they refer it to a specialist that promptly emails me that my Amazon Prime account has been cancelled per my request. This is happening over and over. For some reason, they cannot get their information together. I kept calling just to see if they could resolve it. Fourteen days later, they have not. There has to be a way to contact someone with some authority on Amazon but I have not found it. It would be nice but it appears there is no way to resolve problems on this site.

  14. Hey guys, your problems are all America centric. Try ordering from Australia!!! Amazon seems to think that Australia is still full of convicts as they flatly refuse to send certain items to Australian addresses. So much for “Global Policies” yet they seem to recognise the Indian sub-continent as a very trustworthy area in which to place their call centres – even if the level of English is limited and heavily accented. I’m fortunate inasmuch that I have taken lessons from Peter Sellers whose Indian dialect was immaculate. I’ll wait for the comments from those who think I’m being unfair – I’m talking “Quality” i.e. fit for purpose.

  15. I became so fed up with Amazon’s comically pathetic customer service that I some years ago started a twitter account solely to inform as many millions of people that I could about this preposterous company’s pathetic customer communication responses. This all began when I was literally signed up for and billed for the company’s one-click purchasing system without my knowledge and consent. It was impossible to get anyone on the telephone and complaints by email were responded to with “canned responses” that provided non-answers to questions that I had not asked. When I used emphatic and angry language in replying to the fourth canned response I finally got someone on the telephone that literally had no ability to do anything other than type in keywords I spoke into his computer and rotely recite what his computer told him to say — similar non-answers, it was like talking to a malfunctioning robot. The operator’s incompetence — or more accurately Amazon’s systemic decision to put de minimis resources into customer service — was so unbelievable I didn’t know whether to curse, cry, or laugh. I was able to resist my strong temptation not to do the former, since I try to keep in mind that the person on the end of the phone is as much a victim of Jeff Bezos’s corporate cruelty and indifference as are the customers of this pathetic company. I am happy to say that so far I have received over 100 responses from persons with similar experiences, most of whom have agreed to boycott the company and more importantly to spread the word and exponentially increase the population of those who have committed themselves to using every interpersonal interation and internet forum and opportunity to encourage that everyone with earshot and e-shot not only boycott Amazon but return any already purchased items they can return within the compnay’s return policy parameters. It is our stated goal to continue indefinitely with our so far amazingly successful efforts, all conducted within the bounds of civil law regarding interference with business relationships, to decrease the revenue of this company from customers within the Seattle area and beyond and hopefully have a dramatic negative effect on the compnay’s profits. With the ease of twitter and other electronic communications, and — ironically – the use of one-key-touch twitters, instant messages, and the like, to maintain this effort for decades until Amazon dies a whimpering death on the ash heap of history.

  16. I just followed the link for call back, and was instantly called. I was terrified after reading of all the problems people had in the past, but was pleasantly surprised by a very American voice, who resolved my problem (lost book in the mail), sent by priority mail a new book to arrive tomorrow. Maybe all the complaints have helped improve their system?

    • Lana: My most recent experience — about a month ago — was similarly pleasant. Very helpful phone person even managed to handle a return for an item that was marked non-returnable.

What do you think?