Amazon falls short of commitment to 5-day delivery in Yellowknife and Whitehorse

·5 min read
Amazon promised back in December that it would ship packages to Whitehorse and Yellowknife in an average of five days. By June of this year, the company was not meeting that commitment.  (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Amazon promised back in December that it would ship packages to Whitehorse and Yellowknife in an average of five days. By June of this year, the company was not meeting that commitment. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press - image credit)

Seven months after announcing that logistical changes would cut delivery times down in Yellowknife and Whitehorse, the company admits that it has still not met that goal. Some Yellowknifers believe part of the problem has to do with delays at Intelcom, one of several Amazon delivery providers in the city.

In December, Amazon announced that logistical changes would cut its delivery times nearly in half — to an average of five days — in both Yellowknife and Whitehorse.

But recent information from Amazon confirms that the company has not quite been able to meet its five-day goal.

In an email to CBC News, Amazon Canada representative Dave Bauer wrote that in June 2022, average delivery speeds were seven to eight days in Yellowknife and eight to nine days in Whitehorse.

He said those shipping times were considerably better than the average of 12 days in 2021.

"Amazon has a history of investing in improving the delivery speeds to remote regions of Canada through expansion of our fulfilment and delivery networks," wrote Bauer.

"We're always striving to make our deliveries even faster."

Packages sit in Yellowknife for days, said Yellowknife resident 

Problems with Amazon's delivery speeds and orders are not uncommon topics of discussion in Yellowknife's Rants & Raves Facebook page. Last week, CBC News spoke with multiple people who had made posts in the group in recent months, including some who pinned the blame on Intelcom.

Yellowknife resident Mary Tapsell said she orders from Amazon a couple of times a month.

Submitted by Mary Tapsell
Submitted by Mary Tapsell

She said her orders usually don't take much longer than a week to arrive. But once they're in Yellowknife, they still take several days to be delivered to her home.

"Things just zoom across Canada and the states," Tapsell said of her Amazon packages, which she monitors through Amazon's online tracking system.

"Then it'll come to Yellowknife and it just sits there," she said. "And it's just like a black hole."

Tapsell became an Amazon Prime member a few months ago for the extra benefits, primarily the anticipated quicker delivery services.

"I know you can never get same day delivery 'cause we live in the North. But you're supposed to get priority or better delivery," said Tapsell of her Prime experience. "And it makes no difference whatsoever."

Submitted by Mary Tapsell
Submitted by Mary Tapsell

Tapsell believes that the shipping delays in Yellowknife are due to a staffing shortage with Intelcom, but said she's been unable to speak with Intelcom directly to figure out the problem.

"If you phone Intelcom, you get some call centre somewhere," she said. "You can't phone an office here."

The Intelcom Media Team responded to questions about the incident through email but declined to answer questions about a staffing shortage or delivery delays.

"We typically don't comment on the nature of the agreements we have in place with our clients," wrote the media team representative.

The representative added that Intelcom was confident in the quality of their services and delivery times, and that internal performance indicators show that they are meeting delivery requirements in Yellowknife.

"Our on-site station allows us to be agile and deliver packages quickly, with the support of the independent delivery contractors in the regions," the team wrote.

Amazon representative Bauer wrote that Amazon uses multiple partners to serve customers in the North, including Intelcom, Canada Post, and Purolator.

He didn't specify whether or not Intelcom was used more frequently than the others.

Theft, wrong packages and delays

Yellowknife resident Trevor Thompson said that receiving Amazon packages has gotten "a little more difficult" in recent months.

Thompson's main concern is his package being lost or stolen, as it's an issue he's had to deal with a couple of times. According to him: "The problem is with Intelcom."

"[Intelcom] set the package on the floor, took a picture of it, sent me an email with the package sitting there," he said of one of his orders from months ago. "When I got to my door, the package was missing."

Emma Grunwald/CBC
Emma Grunwald/CBC

Thompson said that Amazon gave him a refund for the lost items, but that there have also been multiple times where he's received the wrong package.

Regarding shipping times, Thompson said that his last package took about eight days to arrive at his door. Like Tapsell, Thompson said that once an order is in Yellowknife, it usually takes an additional three to four days to be delivered.

"The longest I've seen it take was eight days from the time they said it was delivered to Yellowknife, to the time it ended up at my door," he said. "That was earlier this year."

'Be reasonable,' says customer

Sukham Dhindsa, another Yellowknife resident and Amazon shopper, said she hasn't noticed any change in shipping times.

"It's still like a couple of weeks depending on the item," she told CBC News.

Submitted by Sukham Dhindsa
Submitted by Sukham Dhindsa

Dhindsa, who orders from Amazon about once a month, said she last placed an Amazon order on May 21. The package arrived 12 days later, on June 1.

But Dhindsa noted that she has no issues with Amazon's current shipping times and hasn't experienced any other issues.

"I think a lot of people are dissatisfied, but that personally hasn't been my experience," she said.

"People kind of have to be reasonable about their expectations about ordering in the North," she added. "Given how long and far away we are."

Dhindsa also brought up Intelcom, and mentioned that she often hears complaints from people about the delivery provider.

But in her experience, Intelcom has gone "above and beyond" in delivering items, she said. She also assumed that any issues are probably due to staffing shortages, "like everywhere else in the territory."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting