Amazon Fights Class Action Over Delivery Guarantee

One potential benefit of shopping at Amazon is the delivery guarantee that the online marketplace provides for certain purchases. However, a recent lawsuit  has raised the question of what that guarantee means. Tonny Storey, a resident of Indiana, brought this lawsuit after Amazon delivered an item overnight but not within the four-hour window that Storey selected. He did not get a refund of the $2.99 that he paid for overnight shipping.

Storey filed a proposed class action to seek damages on behalf of millions of Amazon customers who had experienced the same issue. (A class action is a type of lawsuit in which a specific plaintiff litigates claims on behalf of many other people who have suffered the same type of harm or loss.) The case started in a state court but was eventually removed to federal court. Storey brought both breach of contract claims and statutory claims under the Washington Consumer Protection Act.

In response, Amazon filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. It asserts that the delivery guarantee did not apply to Storey’s transaction, since it covers only orders for which an express offer of a guaranteed delivery date is displayed at checkout. More broadly, Amazon states that the delivery guarantee applies only to the date, rather than the time window. Since Storey received his order overnight, this allegedly would have complied with the guarantee (if it applied) even though it arrived a few hours later than he would have preferred. Amazon acknowledges that its checkout process allows customers to choose a time window in which they would prefer to get their orders. However, it maintains that this does not amount to a “guarantee” under the terms of the offer of a guaranteed delivery.

This is not the only consumer rights litigation that Amazon is currently facing. A separate group of customers sued the company this fall for allegedly charging them for purchases that they had returned within the required window.

Photo Credit: Frederic Legrand – COMEO /