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How Amazon Prime Works in Puerto Rico

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Amazon Prime

Image logo from Amazon.com

This post is to inform you of those differences and give you details of how Amazon Prime works in Puerto Rico. In short, Amazon Prime in Puerto Rico is not bad, but not as good as the U.S.

So it is the peak shopping time for the holidays, you may or may not have shopped online and you are either glad you did or wish you had bought your gifts online after spending a  half hour trying to get parking spot at the Plaza Las Americas mall. If you don’t want to pay so much for shipping you realize that Amazon Prime is an option for you. Amazon Prime does work in Puerto Rico, you get the Amazon streaming videos and music as well as the free shipping. However there are a few differences between the shipping options Amazon Prime has for Puerto Rico when compared to the U.S. Some of what I will describe may be subjective and may be specific to my case, although I doubt it, however most of it will be factual with links to the official source.

So, Amazon Prime, other than the $99 price tag there’s really not too much to dislike about it. Free 2-day shipping? Online streaming of movies, shows and music? I say YES! If you are like me, you order your fair share of via Amazon, in order to save some money on items that would otherwise cost too much.

So, you sign up for Amazon Prime, most of the items do ship to Puerto Rico and you still get the free shipping, however, it isn’t the free 2-day shipping they advertise in the U.S. How Amazon Prime works in Puerto Rico is that you get free 3-7 day shipping via what they call “Parcel Pool” which is via USPS (you can get expedited shipping for an extra shipping fee). This however is not always the case, on occasion you will get your shipment via UPS 2-day day shipping! However there’s a caveat. In most cases, and I’m talking in almost ALL cases, the reason why you will get free UPS 2-day shipping is because Amazon took so long to fulfill your order that shipping the items via “Parcel Pool” would take longer than their estimated delivery time. This is something I HATE about Amazon Prime, they take FOREVER to fulfill an order and ship it to Puerto Rico! Sometimes it takes 2 weeks for them to ship! When it is a rather time sensitive item I have called them in the past to ask them why they are taking so long, miraculously they make it happen and they force shipment within a day of my calls. So I actually get most of my orders via UPS 2-day air but that’s not to say I get it quickly after placing the order, I actually receive my order in 10-14 days after placing the order.

This never happens when I buy and ship items to my friends and family in the U.S. In fact, just a few weeks ago, I ordered some items to be shipped to Puerto Rico, then a week later I ordered a few things to be shipped to different states in the U.S. Guess what, the orders shipped and were delivered BEFORE my orders were even shipped to Puerto Rico! And this happens time and time again. For some reason, when I order from Amazon Prime, the orders take AT LEAST a week to be shipped. I have better luck NOT ordering from Amazon Prime because it ships faster. However there are very few occasions (and I mean very few) when things do ship at a reasonable time. And in case you were wondering, yes, I do choose the option of “ship items as fast as possible even if it is on separate deliveries” option. It actually feels like that option gets ignored because only once I’ve received my order in separate shipments and that was because I called and inquired about why my order hadn’t shipped 2 weeks after I placed it.

So, in conclusion, if you are wondering how Amazon Prime works in Puerto Rico, the video and music streaming works well and just like you would expect, the shipping is not as good. In fact it’s actually rather annoying. Having said that, I would much rather shop on Amazon and save several dollars on the items and on shipping for most occasions, if I need something immediately I may just spend the extra money and buy it locally.

Click here for Amazon’s policy and limitations on shipping to Puerto Rico.

Click here for Amazon Prime’s free shipping policy to Puerto Rico.

Now that you know how Amazon Prime works in Puerto Rico you may be able to better make decisions on what to buy online via Amazon Prime and what to buy locally, maybe allow more time for time sensitive items.

Hope this was helpful!

Jay-Webmaster

Author: Jay-Webmaster

Jay is an Atmospheric Physicist and Massage Therapist who was born and raised in Puerto Rico but went to college in the US before moving back to Puerto Rico. Creator of NewToPuertoRico.com and the new forum NewToPuertoRico.com/forum

27 Comments

  1. Amazon customer since 2012, PRIME member since 2017. San Juan, PR.

    NO order placed as a PRIME member has ever arrived on time. Always 1 to 2 weeks for leaving the warehouse ONLY; however, before PRIME, everything was on time.

    And, I buy a lot. Thousand$$$ a year.

  2. Yes! Its gotten so bad that I just buy things on eBay now. I ordered a light this week to try it out again after not using amazon for a few months and its been “preparing for shipment” for a week now. On the other hand I ordered some stuff for my parents in PA 3 days after I ordered the lights and they got it two days later. Its infuriating.

    • Jay-Webmaster

      David, I have been ordering more on Ebay lately myself. The last few items I’ve ordered I have gotten them in 2-3 days via USPS priority mail. Meanwhile I am still waiting for an amazon order I literally placed last year on December 30th. On top of that, the items I got on Ebay were cheaper there than on Amazon.

  3. Amazon Prime won’t ship the Echo Dot or Fire Tv to Puerto Rico. It wont give me the option to ship with a different method.

    Why? Amazon is the one who fulfills this order and not some 3rd party vendor.

    I had to buy the Fire Tv from EBAY at a higher price because Amazon would not fulfill the order.

    I am trying to buy the Amazon Echo dot without success. Amazon simply wont fullfill the order and wont provide alternate shipping method.

    • That’s totally weird, unless it has to do with the onboard lithium battery. For what its worth, I have read that Best Buy sells the Echo Dot in its stores on the island.

    • Oops….just realized my error. The Echo Dot does not have a lithium battery. Its the Echo Tap that does. My bad…

  4. Hello. I am happy to see I am not the only one feeling frustrated by how Prime works sending packages to Puerto Rico. I order a lot of stuff on a monthly basis and I understand their policy about the 3-7 working days bracket shipping to Puerto Rico. What really upsets me, is that when I place an order I get a ridiculous estimate. Sometimes it is 16 days after I place my order. Most of the time I have to chat with them to make my Prime shipment work. When you do that, most of the time (as you will see in my example following this #@!$% rant!) they upgrade my shipment for next day, while sometimes you get a jerk that can happily assist you in canceling your membership because it doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to.

    EXAMPLE OF POSITIVE OUTCOME

    Hello,
    Here’s a copy of the chat transcript you requested:

    Initial Question: I placed an order today with my Prime subscription, but I see a delivery estimate of 16 days instead of the 3 days promised by Prime on things that are in stock.

    06:56 AM PST Mizael: Hi.
    06:57 AM PST Mizael: Hello?
    06:58 AM PST Gaurav Kumar(Amazon): Hello, my name is Gaurav Kumar. I’m here to help you today. “Thank you for being a Prime member.”
    Please do not worry, l am here to help and will do my best to resolve this.
    May I have the order # please?
    06:58 AM PST Mizael: Thank you

    ORDER #
    ****************
    07:00 AM PST Gaurav Kumar: Thank you.
    May I place you on hold for 2 minutes while I check this for you?
    07:00 AM PST Mizael: No problem
    07:06 AM PST Gaurav Kumar: As I checked this, you have selected the standard shipping , that’s why the delay.
    07:07 AM PST Mizael: I chose 3-7 business days Free Standard Shipping
    The estimated delivery added 16 days to my purchase
    07:08 AM PST Gaurav Kumar: Please do not worry I’ve expedited the shipping from my end with no additional cost. Guaranteed delivery by: Friday, November 18, 2016
    I hope this helps.
    07:08 AM PST Mizael: Thanks a lot.
    07:08 AM PST Gaurav Kumar: You are welcome.
    Is there anything else I can assist you today?
    07:09 AM PST Mizael: No, that will be all. I just wish that the Prime service always worked like this. At least for things that are in stock
    07:09 AM PST Gaurav Kumar:
    Thanks for contacting Amazon, have a great rest of your day.

    Please click “End Chat” at the top right corner of your chat window to close this chat.
    07:09 AM PST Mizael: OK
    Thank you.
    07:09 AM PST Gaurav Kumar: You are welcome.
    Please click “End Chat” at the top right corner of your chat window to close this chat.

    EXAMPLE OF NEGATIVE OUTCOME

    Hello,
    Here’s a copy of the chat transcript you requested:

    Initial Question: Why my orders hasn’t shipped?

    06:33 AM PDT Adil(Amazon): Hello,
    Good Morning Mizael my name is Adil. I will be happy to help you today.

    06:33 AM PDT Mizael: Good morning
    06:34 AM PDT Adil: Thank you for being a Prime member.

    I’m sorry for the inconvenience caused, may I know your order number please?

    06:34 AM PDT Mizael:
    ORDER #
    104-0608680-4974615
    06:34 AM PDT Adil: Thank you for the order number, please allow me a minute, while I check this for you.
    06:35 AM PDT Mizael: and ORDER #
    108-2302910-8852255
    06:37 AM PDT Adil: As I can see for the order no.108-2302910-8852255. the delivery date isThursday, August 4, 2016
    So you have to wait till Thursday, August 4, 2016 for the same order.
    06:37 AM PDT Mizael: yes, but why is it taking long for it to ship?
    06:38 AM PDT Adil: And Mizael for the order no.108-2302910-8852255. give me a minute or two so that I can check it for you
    06:39 AM PDT Mizael: you already checked for that one
    this is the other order
    ORDER #
    104-0608680-4974615

    06:42 AM PDT Mizael: Im still here
    06:43 AM PDT Adil: Mizael you have placed the order by standard shipping.
    and by the norms it takes 3-5 business days to deliver.
    06:43 AM PDT Mizael: I’ve placed my order via amazon prime
    The service that Im paying
    and its not working correctly
    06:44 AM PDT Mizael: if you can check my chat history with customer service
    06:45 AM PDT Adil: Yes you are AMAZON prime member and you a valuable customer.
    06:45 AM PDT Mizael: you will see at least 5 or 6 times I have to contact you guys regardingf my orders
    06:46 AM PDT Mizael: last time the customer service rep told me this: Please be assured that this will not repeat with your future orders. As per experience, issues like this are fixed shortly after they’ve been reported.
    I order things and 6 or 7 days passes and you guys still haven’t shipped my stuff
    one of my orders was placed on July 26!
    06:47 AM PDT Mizael: And it was in stock
    Why is that still preparing for shipment
    06:47 AM PDT Adil: Mizael , I can understand you are our valuable prime customer
    06:47 AM PDT Mizael: everything is taking almost 2 weeks to arrive.
    06:48 AM PDT Mizael: Where is the value in that?
    06:48 AM PDT Adil: You should get a proper service from us
    06:48 AM PDT Mizael: Please I invite you to check my chat history
    It will make me look as a difficult customer
    06:49 AM PDT Mizael: It’s always about late deliveries
    I always get the same answer about this not happening again
    06:50 AM PDT Mizael: I shouldn’t have to come to customer service and vent in order for my prime membership to work correctly
    please do something about it
    I’m really tired about this
    I will let you write now
    06:51 AM PDT Mizael: as you can see I order a lot of stuff
    06:52 AM PDT Adil: Mizael , I checked your chat history
    06:53 AM PDT Adil: I can see you are facing lot of issues which should not be there for you .
    I can see your standard shipping order is getting delayed again and again .
    06:54 AM PDT Adil: and we make promise not to repeat this again in future .
    but unfortunately we´re unable to fulfil it
    06:55 AM PDT Adil: I apologize for all the hassle you faced you yet
    In this matter Please let me know why you didn´t order the item with Two-day shipping ,
    06:56 AM PDT Mizael: It doesn’t show as one of the options
    06:56 AM PDT Adil: Yes, itś because you address is accept the orders with standard shipping only
    06:57 AM PDT Mizael: I pay for amazon prime and everything I order somehow is delayed
    06:57 AM PDT Adil: our shipping is not only depends on us but also our service partner the carriers who are suppose to deliver the item to the customer on time
    06:58 AM PDT Adil: The standard time is 5-6 business days which is for Prime customer
    we offer on Amazon
    06:58 AM PDT Mizael: I know but if the stuff doesn’t leave your facility on time then it won’t get here on time
    06:59 AM PDT Adil: Yes , you´re right We used to give customer estimated time which gives two dates the date from to the date till . Like we gave to you Estimated Delivery Date: Thursday, August 4, 2016 – Wednesday, August 10, 2016

    It means the item will deliver to you between this date
    07:00 AM PDT Adil: or by Wednesday, August 10, 2016 .
    07:01 AM PDT Mizael: OK but it looks like my stuff gets hold on preparing for shipment for no reason whatsoever everytime I order something
    where is the value for being a prime customer on that
    07:02 AM PDT Mizael: Its frustrating
    07:02 AM PDT Adil: Mizael , If that´s the concern I will surely make this thing in front of my superiors.
    07:02 AM PDT Mizael: and Im really tired of it
    07:03 AM PDT Mizael: I will be canceling my prime membership
    I will look elsewhere to order my stuff
    07:03 AM PDT Adil: Mizael , In that case If you wish I can help you to cancel the prime for you
    07:04 AM PDT Mizael H. Morales Galindo: You don’t have to do it
    I’ll do it when the period ends
    07:05 AM PDT Adil: Is there anything else I can help you with ?
    07:06 AM PDT Mizael: You guys talk about talking to superiors about my issues
    but I don’t see anything being done
    07:06 AM PDT Adil: Yes, I will forward it to them .
    07:08 AM PDT Adil: we make every customer issues in under consideration that we won´t fail to give any type of service on time .
    07:10 AM PDT Adil: Are we connected ?
    07:11 AM PDT Mizael: yes we are
    07:12 AM PDT Adil: So Please let me know what else I can do for you /
    ?*
    07:12 AM PDT Mizael: no that will be all
    07:13 AM PDT Adil: Thank you for contacting Amazon. Please click on the “End Chat” to close this window.

  5. For the people how does not know, preparing shipping means that there are moving your packages to another fulfillment center closer to you, specially is there are 2 or more items.

    It might take another 1-2 days to get shipped to you, I recomend paying the $6.99 for expedided, is guaranteed to ship UPS 2 DAY AIR (After the internal shipping) !!

  6. What gets me is that they say Prime Shipping in 3-7 days – which is fine – but then estimate delivery 19 days from now.

    It does seem that some of that is to pool shipments, which I can understand, but come on, 19 days to get electronic parts that just go into a padded envelope anyway?

    • Jay-Webmaster

      Yeah, it happens all the time, I ordered something on Sept 8th and the delivery date is estimated at Sept 26th, this is common unfortunately.

  7. My experience is a little different, I’m in Guaynabo (almost at Bayamon)… WHEN they ship UPS it almost always ships out immediately, like the day after placing the order usually… BUT they only ship UPS if it’s a very large or expensive item (or the rare occasion that they box a big order altogether). So maybe 1/3rd of my orders.

    IF I pay for expedited shipping (ranges from as little as $6 to as much as $15 depending on the item, this is per item) they tend to meet that 1 or 2 day delivery 95% of the time. Holidays or bad weather seem to be the only things that prevent that. So if you’re really in a hurry it’s worth it.

    I’d say maybe 2/3rds to 3/4ths of my orders don’t ship via UPS tho, and yeah, they seem to stay around longer and longer in the “preparing for shipment stage” these days. Maybe half of those orders ship straight USPS, which is fine (usually just a handful of days for delivery), but the other half ship Parcelpool which is just the worst.

    I almost don’t mind Amazon sort of queuing up orders for me, though sometimes it’s just whacky as they’ll still split orders three ways or ship something I ordered later before several other items ordered earlier… I’m alright with it tho if it makes sense for them. Parcelpool really bugs me tho…

    I doubt it’s much cheaper than regular USPS, but the PP/USPS handoff always seems to take forever, those orders tend to be more annoying to track, and they always take over a week to be delivered on top of the week they might’ve sat in queue while “preparing for shipment”.

  8. Hola Jay. Glad to see that the thread we satrted 6 months ago is still getting traction. Thanks to all who have commented! Its very interesting and comforting to know what happens to our Amazon Prime orders on your beautiful island home.

  9. Jay,
    This site is fantastic and provides much needed information for those from the mainland who are moving to P.R. Thank you!

  10. I am just happy they ship here at all, they save me a ton of money.

  11. Thanks Jay. This is a very helpful web site. I will be happy to share my experiences to help others on your web site.

  12. Thanks Jay. This is a very helpful web site.

  13. I couldn’t agree more. I live in Ponce (major city in PR) and about 4 months ago, I could order something on a Monday, and receive it by thursday/friday (AMZN PRM).

    However, AMZN has changed something right after Christmas, because now, like the original poster, my orders “sit” in the “preparing order” stage for over a week, and then take an additional week to ship. Here is a chat transcript of me inquiring about it when it happened to my 6th order…

    Here’s a copy of the chat transcript you requested:

    Initial Question: Hello. I contacted AMZN on two days about an order that has been “in shipping status” for almost a week and was told it would ship “in 3-4 hours”when I contacted an Amazon Rep….that was two days ago…

    08:47 AM PST Valerie(Amazon): Hello, my name is Valerie. I’m here to help you today.

    08:47 AM PST Daniel : ORDER # **********************

    08:47 AM PST Valerie: I am sorry for the inconvenience caused to you. Let me help you on that. Just a moment please.

    08:50 AM PST Valerie: Daniel, I can see that this order was placed with Standard Shipping to be delivered between 02/05 and 02/11. That is the reason is still showing as shipping soon

    08:51 AM PST Valerie: All the items are located in 1 fulfillment center and will be sent all together. In this case. I will say they will be shipping either late today, or by early morning tomorrow

    08:51 AM PST Daniel: But that’s shipping speed. It’s been sitting in the warehouse for four days.

    08:52 AM PST Daniel: this has been happening a lot to my orders lately. They’ve been sitting for a week before shipping. Is there a way to fix that somehow? I have AMZN prime.

    08:54 AM PST Valerie: I can see that you have a Prime Membership, this one offers you 2 day shipping. However, the 2 day shipping applies only in the USA. I can see that you have Standard on this order because its going to Puerto Rico

    08:55 AM PST Daniel: So every order I place from over here is going to sit around the warehouse for a week before even being shipped?

    08:56 AM PST Daniel: I can understand the shipping speed…but not the inactivity to getting it to the shipper…

    08:57 AM PST Valerie: Daniel, the order will be on the warehouse depending on the delivery dates. If you for example would have choose no rush for this order, to be delivered around the 20-25 Feb, the order will only say pending fulfillment

    There you have it. They only have to deliver your item by the LAST day of their estimate. So it if says
    Item will arive between July 4th, and July 14th”…expect your package by the END…not the beginning unfortunately.

    • Jay-Webmaster

      Yep, this pretty much sums up what I experience. Which then takes about 2 weeks from when the order was placed. Also, even though I click “ship every item separately as it becomes available”, I STILL get all of the items in one shipping.

      Sometimes you’re actually better off ordering outside of Prime if it says “free shipping” because normally those orders (at least to me) ship quicker than the “Prime” orders.

  14. Idk, if I chose next day delivery I always get it the next day. Free shipping I get it in 2-4 days. Maybe the items you order were not in stock, or a busy holiday?

    • Jay-Webmaster

      I’ve heard of cases like that in places near their facilities but never to Puerto Rico. It takes a long time for me regardless of time of the year, in fact I once ordered next day service on an Amazon order in the states on Christmas Eve and I got it to deliver next day! Here in Puerto Rico? Nope, not once. I actually just placed an order on January 7th, everything in stock and asked to be shipped as soon as possible even if it came in separate deliveries, guess what, the delivery estimate is from January 15th to the 19th. Which is normally what happens, I’d say on average about 10 days from when I place the orders.

      • Strange, I’m from Bayamon and even orders during xmas come the next day. What part of the island are you from?

        Maybe your prime membership expired? hahah

        • Jay-Webmaster

          I also live in the Metro. No the membership is not expired. You would be the very first person that I’ve ever heard that gets next day service in PR included in the Prime membership (as in without having to pay an extra $7 for 2 day or $13 for next day per item), and I do know many many people with Amazon Prime. Consider yourself lucky.

          • Might just be the items you’re ordering. When I go to checkout I always see a guaranteed day for the paid shipping options. One or twice I’ve gotten packages past the estimate but Amazon just gives me $20 worth of credit.

            There have been a few items that the guaranteed days are not within the expected range and Amazon tells me they were out of stock (even if it said in stock when I order). Usually they give a $20 credit or give me free next day shipping if I had selected the free option.

            I urge you to contact Amazon if you’re paying for next day delivery and getting it past the due date. They’ll be more than glad to assist you. Do keep in my that delivery estimates only include business days.

          • Jay-Webmaster

            Hello Harold,

            In the article I was talking about what’s already included in the Prime program, not the paid extras. If I were to pay extra for shipping on top of the Prime membership then I’ll probably get faster shipping. I personally cannot afford to pay the extra fees for faster shipping so I just deal with the wait times since it is really not that big of a deal in most cases. My issue is that those who come from the US and are used to the default quick shipping from Amazon Prime may be surprised to see how much slower it is to ship here. In fact my last order took 2 weeks to ship (and yes I did the ship as soon as available thing).

            But yes, I would think that if you paid for the extra shipping fees you would get faster shipping.

  15. Hi Jay,

    Thanks for all your interesting information and personal insights. I have a desire to live on Puerto Rico for maybe 6 months a year as a snowbird/retiree when that time comes in a few years. I am heading back to PR this winter to see the southern and western portion of the island along with Culebra and Vieques. I went to the north last winter around San Juan and Condado before heading over to Isabela, pretty much following “Traveling Richard’s” odyssey on YouTube, which I highly recommend viewing before ever going to Puerto Rico.

    I’ve been wondering about Amazon Prime in PR for a bit now. Can you shed some light on how delivery is actually made? Are things actually delivered to your residence, or do you have to go pick up at the Post Office. Have you had issues with things not being delivered, or would you say its a safe bet that you’ll get what you order provided it falls within the shipping policy and limitations you’ve linked to in your post?

    Cheers!

    • Jay-Webmaster

      Hello Stan!

      Delivery is done the same way as it is in the US. It either gets delivered via UPS or USPS to the address you specified. There are SOME items that do not sip to PR and you will know before placing the order, because it won’t let you order it.

      It is safe to deliver here, I’ve only had 2 things not being delivered here, they were both recent. One was with the boat that sank “El Faro”, I did have items there for me which of course were lost at sea, the second time it was a Christmas gift I ordered from the UK and for some reason it was lost during shipment. Otherwise I have not had any trouble getting my items delivered. My items get delivered to my house without any major issues.

      Happy new year!!!

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