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Alamosa Amazon customer: 'An empty box for $7,000'

Alamosa farmer initially denied refund
alamosa empty amazon box.jpg
Posted at 5:30 PM, May 25, 2021

ALAMOSA, Colo. — To a farming family outside Alamosa, their side gig photography business is a lifeline, and so are their Amazon deliveries.

"We've bought several cameras from Amazon, and we've never had a problem," Bill Chiles said. "Here in southern Colorado, we take anything we can get for photography: weddings, senior pictures, graduations."

In March, Bill Chiles and his wife, Kelly, ordered a high-end Sony camera off of Amazon, shelling out more than $7,000 to invest in their business.

"We love that extra frame rate. It's a 50 megapixel camera," Bill Chiles. "We like to stay cutting edge."

Because of a microchip shortage, it took Amazon almost two months to ship the camera. When the package arrived, Bill Chiles said he opened the box to find two camera boxes inside. Both of them, he said, were empty.

"Shocked," he said. "I had heard of this with third party deliveries, but not Amazon."

But Bill Chiles said the real shock came when Amazon insisted the camera had been verified and refused to issue a refund.

"She literally told me, 'Since there's nothing more I can do for you. I'm going to disconnect you now,'" Bill Chiles said.

Kelly Chiles could not believe the response.

"You're angry. You're sick to your stomach. You want to give up. You want to fight. You just don't know what to do, and they won't even listen to you," Kelly Chiles said. "And you send the proof to them. I mean, it should be irrefutable proof that they won't even look at it."

Their proof is a UPS tracking label listing a weight of two pounds. On other camera sites, the same Sony camera package is listed as weighing more than three pounds.

"Somebody stole it somewhere," he said. "Actually, they stole two cameras because they were two empty boxes with close serial numbers."

The Chiles also think it's suspicious that the same in-demand camera model is listed for thousands less on second hand sites in the city their camera was supposed to be shipped from.

"I think they got ripped off. Somebody in Amazon blew it, in my opinion, and they're just trying to cover their position," said Bill Chiles.

The couple filed a police report with local law enforcement, disputed the credit card charge and reached out to Contact Denver7.

"Seven grand is a lot of money. I don't care who you are," Bill Chiles said.

After Contact Denver7 started making calls, Amazon started investigating. Meanwhile, Bill Chiles sent an email to Jeff Bezos and received an email back stating that once the credit card dispute is resolved, Amazon will process the refund.

"Is there any integrity in that company anymore?" Bill Chiles said.

He's relieved about the promised refund, but he wants to warn consumers about limited protections if an empty box arrives at their door.

"We really had to save for this camera," Kelly Chiles said. "And it's just shattering, really. You can't make that back."

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