Military families were surprised Wednesday when Amazon refused delivery for certain items, including diapers, electronics and clothes, to their international APO, FPO and DPO addresses.
"This item requires special handling and cannot be shipped to your selected location," appeared in red on Amazon's order page for items such as children's games, shampoo and dog food when the military installation shipping address was to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Italy; or Bahrain.
The sudden inability to order from Amazon comes as commissaries and exchanges respond to the novel coronavirus by reducing hours and limiting sales of necessary goods, such as toilet paper, water and antiseptic sprays or wipes. This can be especially problematic for military families stationed abroad, who then have to rely on local stores that don't have the inventory or access to American goods.
"We're hearing that some families are having problems, but we've seen no official statement," said Jennifer Davis, National Military Family Association government relations deputy director. "In uncertain times like these, military families overseas need to know what supply chains they can count on so they can make the right choices for their families."
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Amazon had already warned that certain items will take longer to ship, but it has yet to publicly announce it's restricting deliveries to certain APO, FPO and DPO addresses.
An Amazon spokeswoman said via email that Amazon is still shipping to those addresses, but it's "temporarily prioritizing the delivery of some items in order to serve our customers in need and ensure the safety of our associates. As a result, some delivery times are longer than usual."
"I can't get a single thing on Amazon to ship to my overseas address right now," one military spouse living in Japan told her friends in a public Facebook post on Monday. She added she had no problem the night before, but now "nothing is working."
Several of her friends speculated that Amazon has limited its deliveries to medical essentials, but the military spouse said it does not matter which products she's looking at.
"I looked at my subscriptions," one friend replied, "and it looked like those haven't been affected. But that could be because they have been slated to deliver already. … That makes me anxious about the diapers I have that auto order next week. Ugh."
-- Dorothy Mills-Gregg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @DMillsGregg.