Renewed fears of the coronavirus are having an impact on shipping products ordered through Amazon, Walmart, and other retailers.

Amazon this week posted a note on its website for some customers that deliveries could take longer than the two days Prime members have come to expect. I think we all can understand that delays happen, but if you're paying $120 a year for a Prime membership, primarily for the free two-day shipping, you may think Amazon could compensate you for orders that take much longer.

You might be surprised to learn that Amazon often gives Prime members credit for late deliveries. As a Prime member, I have three orders currently in process. I placed one order on January 29 with a third-party seller who handles their own shipping. The other two orders were placed on March 2 and were to be delivered Wednesday, March 4 by 9 p.m. When they didn't arrive, I received an email from Amazon stating that there are delays and that I could expect the packages on March 5 or 6.

I went to my Amazon account to find out more but could not locate a link for help. I searched online instead for "Amazon Delayed Delivery" and was taken to a page where I could contact the help desk. It was actually a bot that confirmed the order I was asking about and connected me with an Amazon associate. They did not explain why the deliveries were delayed but were kind enough to locate the items and confirm they would get out for delivery later that day.

I was careful not to sound rude, but when they asked if it was okay, I explained that the delay affected my schedule and the completion of a project. They apologized and offered to credit my account $5, explaining that it would be available to use the next time I purchased something sold and shipped by Amazon.

From what I've learned from other Amazon shoppers, this is not uncommon, and most tell me they've received a $5 credit for orders that were not delivered on time. I've also heard stories of Prime members getting their Prime subscription extended by a month.

Amazon is not obligated to compensate a customer for late deliveries but I've found if you contact them, show that you're understanding and speak to them nicely, you'll likely get $5 for your trouble.

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