An Amazon customer received an unexpected but very unwelcome bonus when opening the chair she bought from the online retailer: a blood vial filled with red liquid.
In a tweet on Thursday, Jen Begakis said: “If I told you the leather chair I ordered from Amazon was packaged with a blood collection tube that is … full, would you believe me? because I’m lost for — words.”
Begakis added: “I’m as terrified as I am confused.”
In a later tweet, Begakis shared an email she received from Amazon, apologizing for the delivery and offering a $156.59 refund for the chair and a $100 gift card.
In the email, Amazon said: “First and foremost, I’m truly sorry for your experience! I can certainly understand the concern of receiving bodily fluids in your package. I’ve made sure the seller has been reported, and all appropriate actions have been taken to prevent this from happening again in the future.”
However, in a statement sent to Insider on Tuesday, an Amazon spokesperson said: “We received confirmation that the seller has been sending a complementary tube of color dye so that customers can replace chipped paint that comes off their chair. It’s not blood.”
The spokesperson continued: “The seller has informed Amazon that they will change the product packaging of the tube carrying the dye and add a description to make it easier for buyers to identify it in the future. For orders that have already been shipped, they will proactively reach out to buyers and inform them about the [vial] of dye to avoid future mix-ups.”
The label on the vial in Begakis’ video is marked “Neecor,” which is a brand name of a company that sells blood collection vials and other lab consumables.
Begakis, a doctoral student at Cornell University, told Insider that the tone of Amazon’s initial response was “almost laughable in its attempt at normalcy.”
She remained unsure about how to dispose of the vial: “Tossing it in the trash seems about as wrong headed as hanging onto it.”
Begakis added: “A $100 gift card is pretty paltry an apology if you ask me. Say with inflation, that’s $75 ‘I’m sorry we shipped you a biohazard’.”
Amazon operates with a range of third-party clients that sell through its website. The email Begakis received from Amazon appeared to confirm it was supplied by one of these vendors.
On Sunday, an Amazon spokesperson told Insider: “We deeply regret this unacceptable customer experience. We’re investigating how this could have happened and have been in touch with the customer directly to apologize and make it right.”