I am a hardcore Amazon fan! I have been using prime religiously for everything in my household from clothes, video, and now pantry all on my Amazon cc of course! It just seemed like the right choice to go with Amazon for a wedding registry especially with the universal location (and the price-checking toolbar plug-in). However, that seems to be where the good news stops. I was very disappointed by the whole process now that it’s over and probably wouldn’t recommend… I’ll break down pros and cons so you can make an informed decision:
-can add any item from any online retailer
-can cross check pricing with toolbar plug-in
-can easily share the link
-thank you card option
-easy notification of purchases and shipments
-apparently it was difficult to locate the registry to some guests without going to the link within the wedding website. There’s nowhere on the Amazon home page to search a registry.
-I had A LOT more issues with older, less tech-saavy guests than anticipated. I wrongly assumed that nearly anyone knows how to buy online by now. Here’s the disclaimer: you’ll be getting calls from every random relative to walk them through getting to the registry (or even your wedding website!) Because of this, you will get a lot of gifts NOT on the registry, registry gifts but purchased from somewhere else, and duplicate gifts because of guests buying elsewhere. (There is a way that an item on the registry can be marked as purchased elsewhere so you don’t get duplicates, but that’s expecting a lot from someone who didn’t understand how to purchase from the registry) Note: if someone buys something from somewhere else, you now need to find out that retailer’s return policy, a lot will only give in-store credit and must be returned in person. (I got married in mid-November and when I came back from my honeymoon, it was holiday madness, but I only had 30 days to return some items purchased from brick and mortar retailers–mega inconvenience, also only get current HOLIDAY SALES PRICE if you don’t have a gift receipt–which nearly none of the gifts contained).
-It was a little difficult for me to access the registry as well and I’m very familiar with Amazon. The only way to find it is through your Wish Lists>Wedding Registry or to search on Google, or to have the link
-Some items may become “unavailable” from the 3rd party seller between you adding it to your registry and when the guests are looking to buy. So you have to keep up with consistently updating the registry so that all items are available. I double checked it about 1 month before and didn’t have time to do it again and when I checked afterward, about 25% of the registry was unavailable.
-If you find something from another online retailer and add to the registry–this doesn’t’ seamlessly transfer over. It is a link to the item, however, if there are multiple options: (color options, size options, quantity options etc) none of that will translate over. I added in bedding, but the size didn’t come over and several guests said they wanted to purchase it but didn’t know what size so we didn’t get bedding. I also added dinnerware from another retailer and it came in different colors, but my saved option didn’t translate over so we didn’t get that either. Same goes for the Kitchenaid mixer, keurig, etc. So, yes, you can add items from other retailers, but not accurately, and I wouldn’t count on getting those items because guests want to be sure they’re getting you something you want so they’ll choose something else.
-Now comes the really bad part—the return process. Because I received so many duplicates due to the above issues, there were ALOT of gifts to return (nearly 40). This may not seem super crazy, but it took about an entire day to organize an Excel doc with all the items to be returned, box them, and call customer service and contact each 3rd party retailer. I attempted to return online with the very easy return system. However, there was a glitch in the system that said I was past my 180 return policy (which starts from day of receipt of the item, just FYI because we got several gifts 1+ month before the wedding) just 3 weeks after the wedding so I had to call into Customer Service to return. I spoke to a very helpful representative, but this phone call was nearly 4 HOURS LONG. In the end, I received all of the return labels that amazon could generate. However, there were errors on the shipping labels. It used the name and address of someone I had sent a gift almost 2 years ago to because their information was in my shipping address profile. I had to call again and nearly 1 hour later, I finally had corrected return labels. I wish it didn’t, but it gets worse…. You have to package each item individually (unless it was several items purchased from the same gifter and not from a 3rd party) so it was A LOT to keep up with and organize to avoid mistakes. Not to mention, KEEP YOUR SHIPPING BOXES!!! You will be happy you did when you see how much you have to return! We ended up not having enough boxes and had to purchase some. Note: UPS will only pick up 15 boxes at a time from a requested pickup. So we had to do 4 requested pickups…Next–you must ASK AND INSIST to not pay return shipping when you speak to the customer service rep. If you try to return online, it will immediately prompt you to pay for the shipping label. Some shipping costs are more than the item is worth! When I called on the phone and insisted with the rep that a hefty portion of the value I would be getting back would now be going towards sending it back–basically forfeiting my wedding gifts–I was then offered pre-paid shipping labels. Also, you are only refunded the value that the item is TODAY. So, good old Amazon is always having sales! Getting married near the holidays? Get ready to watch your gift values TANK. I probably got back about 60% of the value of what my guests actually paid. However, the only way to get back the full value (in Amazon credit, mind you) is to ask the purchaser to return the gift for you. Then there’s that awkward conversation (after the initial awkward conversation of asking someone to spend time helping you return their thoughtful gift) of how to approach the refund back to you. This seemed too agonizing for me to imagine asking my guests to give me the cash value of the gift they purchased merely because someone else purchased a duplicate. So I took the 60% value….Lastly, and certainly not least, is the process of returning to the 3rd party sellers. This is a nightmare and a part-time job to keep up with consistent records to get this returned. I still have 2 items that I’ve never heard back from the seller and this is nearly 3 months since initial attempt to return out of the 6 months I get for a return policy. Amazon is unable to help you and advises that you contact the purchaser and have them request a refund (followed by the same step above, awkward convo, inconvenience and offense to your guest, then what happens to the refund once the purchaser has it back? You ask for it?) If you’re going to go this route, it’s almost best to just ask for Amazon gift cards.
In conclusion, I think that Amazon has AMAZING resources to make this registry process FABULOUS. They’re simply just there yet.
Registries should be easy to find when you go to Amazon.com, you should be able to search easily like other retailers who rely heavily on the registry market (BBB, Macys etc) who make it very user friendly. Unfortunately, there will never be a brick and mortar to return items, so they should make the return process easy. A purchaser should never have to be contacted, that’s the point of purchasing through the registry. They should give the full purchased value of the items. It’s not fair to the gifter either. They meant to give you a $100 gift, but because of something as simple as getting a duplicate, you only get $60 back. They need to educate customer service on the in’s and out’s of the return process because 5+ hours to get things done correctly is insane. Most people wouldn’t take that time.
I just spoke to a friend who got married about this and she went to BBB and her experience was so much nicer. She had very little issues and had to return very little. When she did return, it was 1 trip to her local store and it was all done. She also gets 20% off every purchase for 1 year after her wedding date.
I’m an Amazon addict, but this is the one department I don’t think is ready for recommendation.